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Russian attitude study causes furor

  • 2014-06-04
  • From wire report

ACTIVIST: Elizabete Krivcova, leader of the Non-Citizens’ Congress, fights for freedom of speech.

RIGA - Harmony Center’s Saeima members have addressed Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma (Unity), demanding that she explain the purpose of the reported confidential government research study to find out the Russian minority’s attitude toward Latvia, reports LETA.

The newspaper Diena on May 15 revealed information about the Cabinet of Ministers ordering a secret study.
“The veil of secrecy around this study unfortunately facilitates political speculation and clamor. For example, the study is ordered at a time when individual politicians are declaring that Russian residents are disloyal to the Latvian nation,” deputy head of Harmony Center’s Saeima fraction, Valerijs Agesins, said, comparing the situation to a “witch hunt.”
“We want to know why this government study is being kept secret. What is the reason for this secrecy and how can the results threaten national security?” Agesins asked.

One segement of Russian-speakers is connected with the association ‘Non-Citizens’ Congress,’ who recently sent a letter to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, complaining about another report, this one produced by Latvia’s Security Police.
The letter was sent a few days after the Security Police’s annual report appeared, where the ‘Non-Citizens’ Congress,’ and its leader Elizabete Krivcova, were named as one of the most active supporters of the Kremlin’s so-called diaspora policy abroad. This group is seen by the government as a threat to Latvia.

Krivcova, in the letter, complains that the report destabilizes the situation in Latvia. “The Security Police’s annual report considers criticism of the government and protection of minority rights as a threat to the nation. Among the threats mentioned are ‘Non-Citizens’ Congress’ contacts with the Secretary General of the United Nations, European Commission, Western country embassies,” the letter said.

She believes that in the current tense situation, these misrepresentations are a threat to collective security because “the government on one hand is concerned about the risk factor connected with the Russian-speaking populace in Latvia, while on the other, with its actions, provokes them to hold protests.”

The Security Police’s annual report indicates that Russia’s policies concerning the Russian diaspora in Latvia will surely be at a heightened level this year, becoming a significant threat. The report says that the most active Russian diaspora members in Latvia include Viktors Guscins, Aleksandrs Gaponenko, Josifs Korens and Krivcova.
The officially-stated aim of Russia’s diaspora policy is to offer help to Russian-speakers, protecting their interests and rights in the countries where they reside. It is also to facilitate their return to Russia. At the same time, Russia is using this policy to cover up various measures it undertakes to fulfill its geopolitical interests in foreign countries.

Considering this, the Russian policy creates a threat to national security, the Security Police says.
The report indicates that in 2013, several amendments were made concerning policy priorities and methodology, with wording changed as well. Previously, the policy stressed “cooperation with countrymen,” but now “support for countrymen and protection of rights.”

These and similar changes were actively used in a series of vociferous statements against the Baltic States, accusing them of “violations of rights of Russia’s countrymen” and “glorification of Nazism.”
Several non-governmental organizations have acted counter to the consolidation of Latvian society.