- New government coalition agreement envisages transition of national minority schools to education in Latvian language only
- Rinkevics opposes opening of Russian schools abroad
Newspapers report that the new government coalition agreement envisages transition of national minority schools to education in Latvian language only. Vesti Segodnya reminds about the mass-scale protests against the transition to 60% of minority secondary education into Latvian language in 2003-2004. Lawyer and ex-MP Jurijs Sokolovskis believes this proposal will heighten tensions among the teachers, parents, minority civil society; he also regrets that 23 years since independence, Latvian elite is still fighting against minority schools. The leader of party "For Native Language" Vladimirs Lindermans stated that there is a need to establish organisations to defend the schools and such organisations should not just show protests, but also resist and draw attention of the world. International and European law expert, EP consultant Aleksejs Dimitrovs stated that this development reminds of the haste of the adoption of the previous reform of minority schools, which resulted in mass-scale protests and believes the current situation should be treated seriously and international attention should be drawn; he also points out that Latvia has obligations according to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities to provide education in minority languages. Education specialists interviewed by Vesti Segodnya point out that minority children are not ready to study in Latvian. Latvijas Avize, Vesti Segodnya
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov announced that Russia will soon start opening Russian schools abroad according to Russian educational standards to serve the educational needs of the Russian minority population. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia Edgars Rinkevics stated opening such schools in the Baltic states is totally unacceptable. Diena, Latvijas Avize, Vesti Segodnya
- Neatkariga interviews the Ombudsman Juris Jansons
- Vesti Segodnya criticizes the Ombudsman
- Ainars Slesers proposes political parties to sign a manifest on nations’ reconciliation
Neatkariga interviews the Ombudsman Juris Jansons. The Ombudsman believes that idea of bilingual education is good and corresponds with human rights standards but only with one precondition – the meaning of the bilingual education should be ensured in practice. The Ombudsman blames left wing politicians such as Igors Pimenovs and Elizabete Krivcova (both members of the Concord Centre) who criticized his proposal to transfer secondary education in ethnic minority schools into Latvian language, in usage of children interests for their own political rating or a resource to maintain hatred in the society. Mr Jansons also blames Russian language mass media for, in his opinion, biased reflection of his statements. Thus, he declines that he ever said that he wants to close Russian language schools as newspapers reported. The Ombudsman also criticizes assimilation approach as a tool for integration and believes that it is important to consult with representatives of ethnic minorities about what they want.
Vesti Segodnya prints a critical article about the Ombudsman Juris Jansons. The newspaper criticizes the Ombudsman for his proposal to transfer education in minority school into Latvian language and for his arguments why such changes in education system are necessary. According to the newspaper, the Ombudsman says that he cares about competitiveness of Russian speaking students but his conclusion are based on subjective feeling and not on facts.
Latvijas Avize prints an interview with the leader of a new political party “United for Latvia” Ainars Slesers (ex-leader of the Latvia’s First Party, recently returned to politics.) Mr Slesers proposes political parties to sign a manifest on nations’ reconciliation in order to take out of politics radicalism, historical fear of Eastern neighbour country as these are one of the obstacles which hinder state’s development. Regarding the existing bilingual education system, Ainars Slesers states that he does not support transfer of education in all state funded ethnic minority schools into Latvian language only. Mr Slesers believes that it is wrong that there are still students with poor Latvian language proficiency, but instead of blaming children for it or ruin bilingual education, it is necessary to dismiss teachers who are not proficient in Latvian for required level and change school’s administration.
- Neatkariga reports about a project on promotion of integration in Latgale region which provides Latvian language courses for third country nationals
- Egils Levits took the term “state nation” out of the draft Preamble to the Constitution of Latvia
- FHRUL renamed into Latvia’s Russian Union
Neatkariga reports about a project on promotion of integration in Latgale region which provides Latvian language courses for third country nationals. The courses should help residents to learn Latvian language in order to prepare for naturalisation exam and to get A and B language proficiency level.
Author of the draft Preamble to the Constitution of Latvia Egils Levits after consultations with the leaders of the political party “Unity” decided to take the term “state nation” out of the text. However, according to Vesti Segodnya, the term “state nation” was just replaced with term “ethnic Latvian nation.” The new draft document also became shorter. Discussion about the document should begin in the Saeima soon. Vesti Segodnya, Latvijas Avize
The political party For Human Rights in United Latvia (FHRUL) renamed itself Latvia’s Russian Union. Thus the party stressed its activities in the field of protection of rights of ethnic Russian residents. The party also plans to run for the European Parliament’s elections. Latvijas Avize, Diena
- Nationalists’ union sent the coalition partners its proposal for the coalition’s agreement
- Moldova cancelled visa requirements for Latvian non-citizens
Latvijas Avize reports about proposals of the nationalists’ union All for Latvia!/FF-LNIM (NU) for the new government coalitions’ agreement. First of all, the NU wants that the coalition agree to adopt the draft Preamble to the Constitution of Latvia elaborated by Egils Levits; secondly, to adopt amendments to the Education law setting that all education programs starting with 1 September 2018 in state funded ethnic minority schools are in Latvian language only; thirdly, to limit granting of residence permits to foreigner owners of real estate in Latvia; and to limit the opportunities for foreigners to buy Latvian agricultural and wooded lands.
Vesti Segodnya reports that Latvian non-citizens, persons with documents of refugee and stateless person can travel to Moldova without visas starting with 3 January 2014.
- Ombudsman Juris Jansons sent an open letter to the President of Latvia Andris Berzins drawing attention at problems of education quality in minority schools
- Former State Auditor General Inguna Sudraba: ethnic Latvians and ethnic minorities have similar attitude towards social issues
- Chairman of the Constitutional Court Gunars Kutris: the draft Preamble to the Constitution contains statements which can offend people
The Ombudsman Juris Jansons sent an open letter to the President of Latvia Andris Berzins drawing attention at problems of education quality in minority schools and clarifying his position regarding transfer of education in secondary schools into Latvian language only. The Ombudman says that the results of the monitoring of 49 ethnic minority schools showed that legal regulation of bilingual education is clear and precise but it is incomplete in practice. In order to ensure enforcement of legal acts, it is important to increase state control over usage of state language and education process quality in ethnic minority schools, believes the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman also proposes to ensure secondary education in Latvian language only for minority students who for a certain period (five or six years) have studied in Latvian education system preserving such subjects in minority language as native language, literature, and culture. Latvijas Avize, Vesti Segodnya
Former State Auditor General Inguna Sudraba who has announced establishment of a new people’s movement in an interview with Latvijas Avize states that ethnic Latvians and ethnic minorities have similar attitude towards social issues. At the same time, Mrs Sudraba stresses that ethnic Russian residents are much more unconfident and feel tense due to statements of certain politicians, for instance, that they are not welcomed in this country and must go away. Mrs Sudraba also believes that non-citizens wants dignified attitude towards themselves in a daily life and not to feel tense and threats.
Neatkariga interviews the Chairman of the Constitutional Court Gunars Kutris. According to Mr Kutris, the draft Preamble to the Constitution elaborated by the head of the President’s Commission on Constitutional Rights Egils Levits is a paper written by one author which can be discussed. According to Mr Kutris, the draft Preamble contains national values which are fair for ethnic Latvians and cannot be lost. But at the same time, Mr Kutris believes that it is important to remember that every text put in the Constitution becomes a part of a legal act and, therefore, such document cannot contain legal controversies. According to Mr Kutris, the draft Preamble contains statements which can offend people and he questions whether such issues should be included in the document which is not aimed on the split in the society.