- Annual conference "Jews in the changing world" has taken place in Riga
- Kraslava residents believe pro-Russian attitude is created by the statesmen’s long-term indifference and incitement of ethnic hatred
- Vesti Segodnya: public figures are scaring the society with "Russian threat"
Annual conference "Jews in the changing world" has taken place in Riga. Historians, researchers and representatives of Jewish diaspora discussed topical problems of the world, such as new raise of anti-Semitism, Islamic fundamentalism, xenophobia etc.), as well as recalled the history of Latvia – 73 years has passed since the beginning of mass extermination of Jews in November 1941. There are nearly 9,000 Jews in Latvia today. Vesti Segodnya
Diena journalist interviewed residents of Kraslava (city close to border with Byelorussia). According to the journalist, there is certain "stubbornness" towards Riga, feeling that Riga takes everything – "jobs, opportunities, state money and the EU money" – and Latgale get only if there are leftovers. Several residents admitted they would not object if Latgale would join Russia. Kraslava residents believe pro-Russian attitude is created by the statesmen’s long-term indifference and incitement of ethnic hatred. One resident complained that after independence she was declared "non-citizen". Among more than 30 people interviewed in Kraslava, none encountered any pro-Russian or anti-state agitators. Four residents heard rumours, including from the media. The journalist also visited local Russian school Varaviksne ("Rainbow"). The schools’ director insists the school regularly conducts activities to increase patriotism and knowledge of culture among the students. The director also denies allegation that the school received donation from the opposition party and stresses that the alleged money was state funding.
Editorial in Vesti Segodnya believes that following events in Ukraine some public figures (experts, politicians, researchers) are scaring the society with "Russian threat". The editorial believes Russian Federation would not interfere in Latvia, because, unlike in Ukraine, there was no coup d’etat in Latvia. The newspaper suggests consolidation of society would be promoted if the government improves social economic situation, guarantees accessibility of education in native language, streamlines naturalisation.
- Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe Nils Muiznieks: transfer of education in minority schools into Latvian only would be in violation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
In an interview with LTV1 Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks highlighted positive developments such as the easier registration procedure of new born children of non-citizens as Latvian citizens. Regarding the large number of non-citizens in Latvia, the Commissioner said that it is rather a political than a human rights issue, but underlined child’s right to nationality. Mr Muiznieks noted that some accusations concerning human rights violations in Latvia such as the rebirth or glorification of Nazism are false. He also praised the fact that the new government removed from the government’s declaration plans to transfer education in minority schools to Latvian language only. The Commissioner said that the discussions about language reform by the previous government completely ignored Latvia’s obligations under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the decision of the Constitutional Court about minority education, and other Latvia’s human rights commitments. Vesti Segodnya
- Saeima will continue consideration of the draft amendments to the Immigration Law
Yesterday, the Saeima voted to continue consideration of the draft amendments to the Immigration Law started by the previous parliament. Currently, the Immigration Law envisages residence permits to third-country nationals investing or purchase of expensive real estate in Latvia. As reported, the National Union proposed to suspend issuing of such residence permits to the citizens of the Russian Federation. Member of the NU, MP Edvins Snore considers growing number of Russian citizens in Latvia could be dangerous in terms of state security and Russification. Diena
- Government has agreed on a new requirement for naturalisation procedure
- Mayor of Kraslava rejects information about agitation published by Diena
Diena reports that the government has agreed on a new requirement for naturalisation procedure according to which an applicant will be obliged to submit a statement certifying that he/she has not been convicted of a criminal offence. The draft law elaborated by the Ministry of Interior foresees that the Citizenship and Migration Affairs Office requests information from all the operational entities in order to check compliance of individuals to specific naturalisation restrictions.
Vesti Segodnya reports that the mayor of Kraslava Gunars Upenieks rejected information published by the newspaper Diena about alleged distribution of agitation materials aimed at convincing the residents of Latgale to join their region to Russia. Representative of Security Police also expressed incomprehension about the allegations made in the article and emphasised that the situation is controlled. Following the article, the Ministry of Education begun checking Kraslava’s education establishments regarding the allegations. Mr. Upenieks, stated that the said journalist interviewed him long time ago (in August) and the subject of the interview was different - the problems caused by the African swine fever in Latgale. The interview was published on 11 November, when Latvia celebrates the war of independence of 1919. Vesti Segodnya editorial asks whether the aim of the journalist was to heighten hysteria and incite ethnic tensions.
- Newspapers report about a speech by the Speaker of the Saeima Inara Murniece dedicated to the Latvia’s Independence Day on 18 November
- LTV1 prime time weekly programme “De Facto” also drew attention to the fact that the Ombudsman Juris Jansons distorted the translation of the Article 13 of the Hague Recommendations Regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities
- Newspapers report about a “spy scandal” between Russia and Latvia
Newspapers report about a speech by the Speaker of the Saeima Inara Murniece dedicated to the Latvia’s Independence Day on 18 November. In her speech, Mrs Murniece stressed the importance of the existence of state nation (referring to ethnic Latvians) and Latvia as national state. Mrs Murniece also said that Latvian language should take proper place in the society and called state authorities and officials to give speeches and interviews to Latvia’s media in Latvian only. She said that the state language is a language of democratic participation and common for all residents regardless of what language they speak at home, in family or with friends. Diena and Vesti Segodnya notes that the speech of the Speaker sounded more like a speech addressed towards the supporters of the National Union – the party represented by Mrs Murniece. Latvijas Avize, Diena, Vesti Segodnya
LTV1 prime time weekly programme “De Facto” also drew attention to the fact that the Ombudsman Juris Jansons has distorted the translation of the Article 13 of the Hague Recommendations Regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities. The relevant article concerning minority education at secondary level underlines that: […] Throughout this period, the number of subjects taught in the State language, should gradually be increased. Research findings suggest that the more gradual the increase, the better for the child.” http://www.osce.org/hcnm/32180?download=true The Latvian translation of the Recommendations on the OSCE website: […] Šajā periodā būtu pakāpeniski jāpalielina valsts valodā mācāmo priekšmetu skaits. Pētījumi liecina – jo pakāpeniskāks ir šis process, jo labāk bērniem.” http://www.osce.org/lv/hcnm/32187?download=true The Ombudsman has insisted that the number of school subjects taught in state language should be "substantially increased" in secondary schools and the research findings suggest that the more "progressive" the increase, the better for the child. Despite the criticism, in an interview with LTV1, Mr Jansons again refused to acknowledge that the Latvian translation by the Ombudsman’s Office is misleading arguing that it is “qualitative translation” into Latvian language. Vesti Segodnya
Newspapers report about a “spy scandal” between Russia and Latvia. On Friday, 14 November, the police detained leader of the party “For Native Langauge” Vladimirs Lindermans. The police raided his apartment and released after interrogation. According to Lindermans, he received a written notification with accusations in recruitment and training of people carrying out terrorist acts, which allegedly means recruitment of volunteers for military actions in the Eastern Ukraine. On the same day, a Russian political scientist who arrived to Riga to attend the media club “Format A3” got included in the list of persons whose entrance to Latvia is denied and was deported from Latvia after spending three hours in downtown Riga. On Sunday, 16 November, Russia’s media reported about unmasking and expulsion from Russia of a Latvian spy Aleksejs Holostovs, ex-MP from the Concord Centre. In a conversation with allegedly Russia’s FSB, Holostovs acknowledged that he fulfils task of Latvian intelligence agencies under guidance of CIA. On the same day, activist of so called pro-Russian organisations in Latvia Aleksandrs Gaponenko got detained in the Riga airport arriving from Moscow but released couple of hours later.