- Members of a political party “For Native Language” established an association “Russian Dawn”
- Nationalists demand “Lattelecom” to remove Russian channels from available TV packages
- NGO “Shelter. Safe House” will provide language courses for third country nationals
- Governing coalition cannot agree who will control the Minister of Education
Members of a political party “For Native Language” Illarions Girs and Jevgenijs Osipovs have established an association “Russian Dawn.” In official statement it is said that the establishers of the association are initiators of the referendum on granting Russian language status of state language in Latvia which was conducted in February 2012. Among the aims of the “Russian Dawn” there are such issues as granting Latvian citizenship to non-citizens; strengthening in ethnic Russian residents sense of belonging to Russian world; strengthening of bonds between ethnic Russians in Latvia and Russia; strengthening of Russian language and culture and increase of importance of Russian language in Latvia and in the EU. The “Russian Dawn” also planned to fight against Russophobia and honouring Latvian Waffen SS legionnaires and to protect those who fought against Nazis and monuments established in their memory. Diena
Vesti Segodnya reports that the biggest telecommunications company with state share capital “Lattelecom” received number of claims from Latvian nationalists asking to remove Russian channels from available TV packages and replace those with the EU channels. “Lattelecom”, in its turn, explained that Russian channels have big demand among its clients, while, demand for channels of other EU countries is low.
NGO “Shelter. Safe House” launched a project aimed at integration and education of third country nationals. In the framework of the project, it is planned to conduct Latvian language courses in different Latvian regions. Vesti Segodnya
Newspapers report about the process of establishment of the governing coalition and distribution of ministries among parties. At the moment, it is unclear which party will overtake the post of Minister of Education as the Union of Greens and Farmers refused to put its representative on this post. The nationalists’ union All for Latvia!/FF-LNIM, on its own initiative, would like to control the Ministry of Education with the condition that the government coalition agrees to transfer education in all state funded schools into Latvian language only. However, none of the coalition partners supported such proposal yet. Vesti Segodnya, Diena, Latvijas Avize.
- Latvijas Avize reports about opening of the new Russian language and literature training room in Rezekne equipped with support of a Russia’s foundation “Russkiy Mir”
New Russian language and literature training room was opened in Rezekne (town in the East part of Latvia) secondary school equipped with support of a Russia’s foundation “Russkiy Mir.” The foundation donated to the school different books and multimedia materials. Director of the school believes that such training room will help students to learn Russian language and to get acquainted with Russian literature, art and cities better. Latvijas Avize notes that, according to the evaluation of the security Police, the foundation “Russkiy Mir” is one of the tools of so-called “soft power” used by Russia in order to achieve its aims. The foundation works in Latvian with several schools and similar training room was opened also in Valmiera (town in the Northern part of Latvia.) Latvijas Avize
- President appointed Laimdota Straujuma to the post of the Prime Minister
- Ombudsman: bilingual education system hinders sufficient state language proficiency of students
- MEP from Latvia Karlis Sadurskis proposes to introduce gradual transition of education in ethnic minority schools into Latvian language only
- Well-known Latvian composer Imants Kalnins called to stop the existing policy of setting fight between ethnic Latvians and Russians
Newspapers report that the President appointed Laimdota Straujuma (the Minister of Agriculture) to the post of the Prime Minister. Vesti Segodnya notes that Mrs Straujuma already stated that conversations about establishment of the government will be conducted with all the parties except the Concord Centre. The newspapers also notes that the nationalists’ party All for Latvia/FF-LNIM wants to appoint their representative Vineta Porina to the post of the Minister of Education with the main aim to transfer education in ethnic minority schools into Latvian language.
Vesti Segodnya reports about a meeting of the MP, chairperson of the Latvian Association for Support of Schools with Russian Language of Instruction (LAShOR) Igors Pimenovs with the Ombudsman Juris Jansons. During the meeting, Mr Pimenovs discussed with the Ombudsman his position regarding transfer of education in ethnic minority secondary schools into Latvian language only. The Ombudsman believes that the existing practice of bilingual education system hinders sufficient state language proficiency of students. The Ombudsman said that he sees problem not in the system but in the teachers who are not able to teach students in Latvian language.
MEP from Latvia Karlis Sadurskis proposes to introduce gradual transition of education in ethnic minority schools into Latvian language only. Mr Sadurskis proposes to start with kindergartens setting education in all municipal kindergartens in Latvian language. Than, after couple years to transfer first grades of schools into Latvian language only, and thus, in 10-15 years education in all state funded schools would be in Latvian only. Latvijas Avize
Well-known Latvian composer Imants Kalnins called to stop the existing policy of setting fight between ethnic Latvians and Russians. Mr Kalnins believes that Russia and Latvia have similar fate as both came out of common past. Ethnic Latvians and Russians done nothing wrong to each other, yet suffered at the hands of political leaders in the past as well as since the restoration of independence, and today’s ethnic Latvians and ethnic Russian residents form one Latvian nation, believes Mr Kalnins. According to Mr Kalnins, modern Latvia and Russia are new countries which solve similar issues and there is nothing those should be reconsolidated about. Neatkariga (7.01)
- Vladimirs Buzajevs: scrapping of Latvian language exam designed for non-native speakers discriminates against national minorities in education
Before 2011, the students of national minority schools had to pass Latvian language exam designed for non-native speakers. According to Vladimirs Buzajevs, co-chairman of the Latvian Human Rights Committee, once the uniform Latvian language exam (the same as for mainstream Latvian schools) was introduced in 2012 to national minority schools, the results of Latvian exams have fallen dramatically in national minority schools: the share of highest grades (A) was seven times smaller in 2012 than in 2011, while the share of the lowest grades was twice greater in 2012 than in 2011. In 2013, the "A-F" grades system was substituted with percentages; nearly two-thirds of students of Russian minority schools received less then 50% of the total possible score in Latvian language exam, while two-thirds of students in mainstream Latvian schools received more than 50%. The share of minority students with the lowest percentages (equivalent to "F") in 2013 increased thee-fold comparing to 2012 results. On the contrary, the share of minority students with high percentages (equivalent to "B" and "C") in 2013 is much lower. Mr.Buzajevs emphasises that the lower Latvian language grades of national minority graduates are the reason why many of them are not able to get the state-funded university education. Vesti-Segodnya