- Highs state officials stress that the government’s representatives should not take part in the events commemorating Latvian legionnaires on 16 March in the centre of Riga
- Daugavpils’ academics: Daugavpils’ residents would never support the reunification with Russia
- Latvijas Avize prints an interview with the Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs
- Vesti Segodnya: Ombudsman Juris Jansons provided the President misleading information
According to the President of Latvia Andris Berzins, all the state officials including ministers have no place at the events commemorating Latvian legionnaires on 16 March (unofficial commemoration day of Waffen SS legionnaires) in the centre of Riga. The Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma also said that she does not want to hear any reproaches by the allies regarding the participation of the Latvian ministers in the procession of legionnaires. “I don’t want to make excuses for issues we have never supported. It is clear, we do not support any totalitarian regime – neither fascism nor Nazism” – said Straujuma. As reported, the only minister who announced that he will take part in the procession is Einars Cilinskis. And yesterday, in the live interview with Latvian Radio, Mr Cilinskis approved that he will take part in the procession, thus breaking the decision of the government prohibiting it. Vesti Segodnya
Latvijas Avize prints an article about Daugavpils (city in the Eastern part of Latvia) with one of the biggest proportion of ethnic non-Latvian population and whether it is possible that someday its residents would express their will that the region reunites with Russia. Academics from Daugavpils interviewed by the newspaper are confident that the majority of Daugavpils’ residents would never support the reunification with Russia and that the majority of its residents are well educated and loyal towards Latvian state. The academics also note that there are a lot of stereotypes about Daugavpils among other Latvian residents who do not understand the real situation. Also the Mayor of Daugavpils Janis Lacplesis categorically refuse that situation in Ukrainian Crimea may be replicated in Daugavpils.
Latvijas Avize prints an interview with the Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs. According to Mr Usakovs, in order to promote consolidation of the society it is important to grant greater support to the Latvian regions. As the situation in Latgale region (Eastern part of Latvia) much differs from Riga and other regions, it would be important to ensure Latgale residents with free of charge Latvian language courses. The other action would be to grant support for producing more of analytical and news programs on public radio and TV channels in Russian language. Mr Usakovs also believes that there were always some radically minded persons in the society and there will always be such persons, but it is important that the majority of the society would not follow such ideas.
Vesti Segodnya reports that the Ombudsman Juris Jansons provided the President Andris Berzins misleading information writing about the proposal to transfer education in ethnic minority schools into Latvian language. In the letter to the President, the Ombudsman claimed that the Article 13 of the Hague Recommendations Regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities says that the number of school subjects taught in state language should be significantly increased in secondary schools and the research findings suggest that the more significant the increase, the better for the child. However, the newspaper draws the attention, that instead of the word “significantly” and “significant” the Recommendations use word “gradually” and “gradual” and it changes all the meaning.
- Public opinion survey: 58% of Latvian residents are against Russia’s military intervention to Ukraine, 34% - see basis for such actions
- Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs: it is important to prevent that situation similar to Ukrainian could ever be replicated in Latvia
- Government forbade the Ministers to take part in the procession commemorating Latvian legionnaires on 16 March
- Latvijas Avize reports about the UNO Human Rights Committee’s session hold in Geneva
- Vesti Segodnya interviews the MEP from Latvia Tatjana Zdanok
- Proposal stipulating the right not to know Russian language published on the portal of public initiatives
According to a public opinion survey conducted by a company “GfK”, 34% of respondents said that they see basis for Russia’s military intervention to Ukraine. 58% of respondents said that they are against such Russia’s actions. Among ethnic Latvian respondents, 6% fully supported military intervention, 11% supported partly, 77% had negative attitude towards it. Among ethnic non-Latvian respondents, 34% fully supported Russia’s intervention, 32% partly supported, 24% did not see any basis for it. In total, 1,051 respondents took part in the survey in the age of 18 to 65. Diena, Latvijas Avize, Vesti Segodnya
Neatkariga prints an interview with the Mayor of Riga, leader of the Concord Centre Nils Usakovs. Mr Usakovs says that it is understandable why the majority of ethnic Latvians are concerned regarding the current events in Ukraine as Latvia in the past also experienced foreign military interventions. Mr Usakovs believes that ethnic Russian residents of Latvia should calm ethnic Latvian friends, neighbours, colleagues and to say them that despite we might have different opinion about various issues, but we have one country – Latvia – and nobody wants Ukrainian events to be replicated here. Mr Usakovs also believes that today, the common sense about Latvian state is much more important than everyday itches and it is important to prevent that similar situation could ever be replicated in Latvia.
The government forbade the Ministers to take part in the procession commemorating Latvian legionnaires on 16 March (unofficial commemoration day of Latvian Waffen SS legionnaires) in the centre of Riga. The Minister of Interior Rihards Kozlovskis said that non-participation in the 16 March procession is a consequent government’s position for the past 18 years. According to the Minister, this year, foreign policy situation is especially sensitive and the risk of confrontations is much higher. Such government’s decision concerns only the procession in the centre of Riga and government’s representatives can take part in the commemorative events in Lestene common graves (the place of burial of Latvian legionnaires.) Earlier, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Einars Cilinskis representing nationalists’ union stated that he will take part in the procession as he has done it in all previous years. After yesterday’s government’s session Mr Cilinskis refused to provide any comments and promised to conduct a press conference on Friday, 14 March. Latvijas Avize, Vesti Segodnya, Neatkariga, Diena
Latvijas Avize reports about the UNO Human Rights Committee’s session hold in Geneva. The newspaper criticizes the fact that from the part of Latvian NGOs, Latvia was represented by the Latvian Human Rights Committee and the Congress of Non-citizens who, according to the newspaper, provide misleading information about Latvia and rights ethnic minorities have in Latvia. According to the Latvian Ambassador to the UNO Raimonds Jansons, these organisations are very active at the international level and well informed about the opportunities to express their opinion, while, other Latvian organisations are not quite observant about such opportunities. The Latvian official delegation participating in the UNO session represented by 14 officials, including the Ombudsman Juris Janons who provided his opinion about human rights situation in Latvia.
Vesti Segodnya interviews the MEP from Latvia Tatjana Zdanoka. According to Mrs Zdanoka her party For Human Rights in United Latvia decided to change its name to “Russian Union in Latvia” thus clearly showing that it protects interests of Latvian Russian speaking residents. The main task of the Union now is to protect Russian language education in Latvia.
Vesti Segodnya reports about collection of signatures on the portal of public initiatives manabals.lv under a proposal stipulating the right not to know the Russian language. The authors of the initiative want to forbid the employers to require foreign language and in particular Russian language proficiency from employees arguing that thus young people very often are being discriminated.
- Saeima’s Legal Committee approved the Introduction to the Constitution of Latvia
- Russian Union of Latvia held a picket in support of Crimea
- Statement claming to be a joke in support of reuniting Latvia with Russia put on facebook
- Prime Minister called the Ministers not to take part in the procession commemorating Latvian Waffen SS legionnaires on 16 March
Yesterday, the Saeima’s Legal Committee approved the Introduction (in previous versions called “Preamble”) to the Constitution of Latvia. According to the author of the Introduction Igils Levits, fathers of the Latvian Constitution could not imagine what changes will happen in Latvia. Mr Levits said that if those times there were no necessity to put emphasis on the meaning and the essence of the existence of a Latvian state, today there is such necessity. The Introduction to the Constitution says “Latvia was established uniting ethnic Latvians in historical land, based on a firm state will of ethnic Latvian nation and its irrevocable rights for self-determination in order to guarantee existence and development of ethnic Latvian nation, its language and culture through centuries, insure freedom of every person and all nations and promote welfare.” Vesti Segodnya, Diena
Yesterday the Russian Union of Latvia (former political party For Human Righs in United Latvia (FHRUL)) held a picket in support of Crimea. According to representatives of the picket’s organisers, after takeover by Western Ukrainian extremists in Kiev, the people of Crimea took initiative into their hands in order to survive, preserve their dignity and protect their interests. About 150 persons took part in the picket. Vesti Segodnya, Neatkariga
Vesti Segodnya reports that a facebook group “Russians in Latvia” published a statement about collection of signatures in support of reuniting Latvia with Russia stressing benefits Latvia would gain from it. As the post scriptum of the statement it is said that it is just a joke.
The Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma called the Ministers not to take part in the procession commemorating Latvian Waffen SS legionnaires on 16 March in Riga. Earlier, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Einars Cilinskis representing nationalists’ union stated that he will take part in the procession as he has done it in all previous years. According to Diena, if the Minister decides to take part in the procession he might be dismissed from the post.
- Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs: there will be no Russian tanks in Latvia
- Ambassador to Latvia Aleksandr Veshnyakov: Russia is ready to save Latvian non-citizens from poverty
- Minister of Education Ina Druviete has met with the activists for protection of Russian schools Vladimirs Buzajevs and Aleksandrs Gilmans
The Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs in an interview with radio Baltcom stated that it is important to understand that part of ethnic Latvians are really frightened by the current events in Ukraine as also in the history of Latvia there were times of foreign military intervention, including Soviet forces. Mr Usakovs called Russian speaking residents of Latvia to help to minimize such fears by saying to ethnic Latvians that there will be no Russian tanks in Latvia.
According to the Russia’s Ambassador to Latvia Aleksandr Veshnyakov, Russia is ready to save Latvian non-citizens from poverty by granting them citizenship and pension without a requirement to reside in Russia. Presently, the Russian government discusses a draft law on granting Russia’s citizenship to foreigners who are native Russian language speakers. The Ambassador Veshnyakov said that, thus, Russia want to provide social protection to compatriots living abroad and promote voluntary resettlement to Russia. Vesti Segodnya
Latvijas Avize reports that during the protest action against transition of ethnic minority schools into Latvian language, the Minister of Education Ina Druviete has met with the activists for protection of Russian schools Vladimirs Buzajevs and Aleksandrs Gilmans. The newspaper notes that A.Gilmans is known for his anti-Latvian statements. According to the Minister, both persons did not represent any organisation and the dialogue was civilised. The Minister stressed that she uses every opportunity to explain government’s position. One of the leaders of the nationalists’ union, MP Raivis Dzintars did not condemn the Minister for such meeting considering that it shows that the Minister has strong personal confidence. At the same time, Mr Dzintars expressed his worries about further steps for implementation of the language reform in schools as the government does not work on elaboration of the corresponding draft amendments to the Education Law.
- Protest action against transition of national minority schools into Latvian language held yesterday
Newspapers report about a protest action against transition of national minority schools into Latvian language held near the Ministry of Education in Riga yesterday. The protestors demanded for long-term guarantees for national minority schools which would be a pre-condition to abstain from further protest actions. The Minister of Education Ina Druviete speaking to the protesters asserted that the planned reform will not prevent the teaching of the native language. The Minister also said that she is ready to meet with representatives of the protestors discussing the planned reform. Vesti Segodnya, Latvijas Avize