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Russia’s compatriot policy becoming more focused

May 05, 2014
From wire reports, RIGA

The efforts of various pro-Russian organizations to use Latvia's minorities as an instrument to achieve Russia's geo-political interests have failed, as their provocative activities have not gained support from the Latvian public, the Security Police says, reports LETA.

The Security Police says that the activities of Russia's compatriot policy organizations in Latvia have over the past year become more active and focused on achieving their goals. Taking into account that the goal of these persons and organizations is to divide the Latvian public and encourage minorities living in Latvia to alienate themselves from Latvia, they are causing risks to national security interests.

''We must admit that the attempts of various registered and un-registered organizations in Latvia, who wish to use minorities as an instrument in achieving their political goals and Russia's geo-political interests in Latvia, have been unsuccessful, as their provocative activities have not gained support from the Latvian public,'' said the Security Police.

They refrained from mentioning the specific activities of these organizations, but reiterate that the previously planned "Non-Citizen Congress" concert in downtown Riga was being organized with the aim of sparking ethnic tension. According to the Security Police, the aim of this event was to divide the Latvian public in a very provocative and defiant matter and to incite ethnic tension, which, taking into account the location and time of the event, could have led to confrontations between different ethnic groups and persons with opposing points of views. The Security Police also had information that this event could have been attended by known radicals, which no doubt would have increased the risk of confrontation.

Also last year, the Security Police mentioned the activities of the "Non-Citizen Congress" as attempts to achieve Russian geo-political interests. The activity of the "Non-citizen congress" movement, including the election of a parliament of residents not represented in Saeima, should be viewed as part of Russia's policy on compatriots and continuation of the referendum on making Russian an official state language in Latvia, believe the Security Police.

According to the Security Police's report in 2012, Russia's compatriot policy expanded to Latvia at the beginning of the 2000s when it became part of Russia's foreign policy and received significant funding. Compatriots abroad are an important resource Russia makes use of to achieve its foreign policy goals.

Over the years, Russia has continued efforts to maintain close ties with compatriots in Latvia and steer them toward its goals. The protection of compatriots' rights and consolidating the status of the Russian language were used extensively in the cooperation with Russian compatriots living in Latvia and making them more active, note the Security Police.

The Security Police believe that these organizations will continue their attempts to make Saeima and the government change their policy on non-citizens. On the international arena, they will try to turn the spotlight on alleged violations of human rights in Latvia, trying to involve international organizations in tackling such problems.

The Security Police's report also mentions that Russia was trying to improve supervision of funding for the compatriot policy and achieve more efficient utilization of these funds, as well as to increase the number of funding sources.

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