Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs has said setting up state backed specialist Russian schools in Latvia 'make no sense.'
In an interview with LNT television on Jan. 3, Usakovs said he believed there was no point in opening Russian schools in Latvia as Russian children in Latvia had a good command of Russian and could receive good education in minority schools.
The comments come after Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said his country were considering opening specialist Russian schools in Baltic countries. His comments stirred controversy in the Baltics with some calling the plans 'unacceptable.'
The current talk about the language and education in Latvia is entirely political as political parties are looking for opportunities to "get brownie points" ahead of the elections later this year, said Usakovs.
Russian Ambassador to Latvia Alexander Veshnyakov later said that Russian schools in the Baltics will not be opened without necessary permission from the authorities. He pointed out that Russia has been implementing this education program for a while now. According to Veshnyakov, Russia wants to open up Sunday-school style education establishments, instead of full-time schools.
Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics explained that the establishment of such schools in Latvia would be impossible, since all educational institutions in Latvia must observe local regulations. Such schools can be set up with the help of intergovernmental agreements, but their usefulness is questionable, emphasized the minister.
Education and Science Minister Inda Druviete believes that Russia will not be able to fulfill its intention of setting up Russian schools in Latvia, since it will not be able to receive all the required licenses and permits.