- Vesti Segodnya interviews the head of the integration department of the Ministry of Culture Solvita Vevere on support to ethnic- cultural NGOs
- Security Police will draw its attention to all Latvian residents taking part on both sides of the military conflict in Ukraine
- Latvian National Bolshevik Ajo Benes joined the army of Lugansk People’s Republic
Vesti Segodnya interviews the head of the integration department of the Ministry of Culture Solvita Vevere on support to ethnic- cultural NGOs. According to Mrs Vevere, state allocates funding for support of different NGOs’ projects every year, but it does not grant funding for functioning of NGOs. In 2014 more funding was foreseen purposefully also for regional NGOs. In total, there are 240 ethnic-cultural NGOs in Latvia and 70 of those closely cooperate with the Ministry. Mrs Vevere says that due to the lack of funding and the lack of elaborate mechanism of support to ethnic organisations all NGOs complain about the lack of support.
The Security Police (SP) stated that it will draw its attention not only to Latvia’s residents taking part in the military action in Ukraine on the side of Eastern Ukrainian separatists but also on those Latvians who fight on the side of Ukraine. According to the SP, going to regions of military actions regardless of the nature of armed conflict and involvement in it endangers not only Latvia’s national security, but also European security interests. Vesti Segodnya
Vesti Segodnya reports that Latvian National Bolshevik Ajo Benes recently joined the army of so-called “Lugansk People’s Republic.” As reported, Ajo Benes took active part in the actions supporting reunion of Crimea and other Ukrainian regions with Russia in spring 2014 and positioned himself as a member of the Crimean “self defence” forces. However, after his deportation to Latvia from Ukrainian territory he was detained by Latvian police and the Security Police initiated criminal proceeding against him for calls to violent overthrow of Latvia’s state power and liquidation of Latvia’s state independence. Ajo Benes was released from the detention under restraining order not to leave Latvia. Despite that he left Latvia and travelled to Lugansk in December 2014. In an interview to the newspaper, Ajo Benes says that he was granted citizenship of the so-called Doneck People’s Republic. His escape from Latvia A.Benes calls „break away” from fascist captivity and believes that present government of Ukraine is also headed by fascists. Commenting the criminal proceeding in Latvia, A. Benes does not deny that he called for restoration of the USSR, but believes that he will win the proceeding. Vesti Segodnya
- Riga Stradins University conducted a study on the level of aggression or hatred in the Latvian Internet
Vesti Segodnya and Latvijas Avize reports about a study on the level of aggression or hatred in the Latvian Internet conducted by researchers of the Riga Stradins University. The researchers explored aggressive comments on the local news portals. According to the results of the study, about 10-20% comments are aggressive and those are published every day. The number of aggressive comments on Latvian and Russian language portals is quite the same. The majority of aggressive comments are published under the topics concerning international events and national policy.
- Vesti Segodnya prints an article about state language inspections in Russian schools
- Diena reports that some local council allow its workers to take day-off on Orthodox Christmas
Vesti Segodnya prints an article about state language inspections in Russian schools. The majority of interviewed school representatives say that there were no inspections during last couple years and no teachers got dismissed due to poor Latvian language proficiency. If the inspection finds that a teacher has insufficient state language proficiency he/she can be fined and given 3-4 months for its improvement. According to schools’ directors, the inspectors of the State Language Centre might come with inspection of whole school personnel and following anonymous complaints about specific teacher. Director of a Russian school in Riga where the inspection was conducted recently says that there are several teachers with insufficient state language proficiency in the school and they all got fined. Mostly, those are teachers who graduated from Russia’s higher education establishments and who do not work bilingually – teachers of Russian or foreign language and teachers of elementary schools aged between 50-60 years.
Diena reports that despite the fact that the Orthodox and Old Believers’ Christmas celebrated on 7 January is not official public holiday in Latvia, some local councils allow its workers to take a day-off. Such practice works for several years in Rezekne (city in the Eastern part of Latvia) and this year also in Riga. As reported, the oppositional party the Concord every year submits a proposal to grant the Orthodox Christmas status of official holiday in Latvia, however, it gets turned down by the majority of the MPs. But this year the majority of the Saeima voted to forward such proposal to the parliamentary committees.
- European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn: Baltic States might face with influx of asylum seekers
- Vesti Segodnya reports about free-of-charge Latvian language courses
The European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn stated that the Baltic States might face with influx of asylum seekers in the near future. According to the Commissioner, there are many refugees arriving to Sweden, therefore, it is possible that the Baltic States also can expect the influx of refugees from the South neighbour countries of the EU.
Vesti Segodnya reports about free-of-charge Latvian language courses for third-country nationals residing in Latvia. The Riga City Council will organise courses in Riga. An NGO “Shelter. Save House” will also organise courses in Riga and five other Latvian towns. Besides Latvian language learning, the NGO will also provide lessons on national culture, traditions and landmarks.