Get it right, Vladimir Vladimirovich

  • 2005-05-25
Mr. Putin can't "agree with the situation when today people of other ethnic origin 's the Russian speaking population who found themselves there not by their own free will, but as fate has willed 's do not have the full rights given to all people living on the European continent. So they feel like second 's class citizens."

I'm writing you in relation to the Russian propaganda campaign waged on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Victory Day against the Baltics.

Let's be honest and talk straight, Mr. Putin. It's all the consequences of the occupation by the Soviet Union and its policies. Look back at its history, its foundation in 1922. If it wasn't for Soviet Russia, there wouldn't have been the Soviet Union. It was created by armed force, in the wake of incessant wars. Even in the national anthem of the Soviet Union there were (are) words: "the indestructible union of free republics united together for ages by grand Russia." Whether modern Russia has something to do with it, I think, it's obvious.

Maybe I should explain something in regard to legal foundations of the Baltic States, which Westerners could be ignorant of. All three republics restored their statehood as the legal heirs to their first respective states. That implies that now existing republics, called also the second ones, are successors of the first in any respect. So, Mr. Putin, the citizens of the second republic inherited the citizenship from the citizens of the first one. So the Russian-speaking population is in no way treated according to the ethnic principle but just on political and civil grounds.

There are not less than 500,000 Russian-speaking people citizens of modern Latvia. Besides, many ten of thousands of them speak only Russian. But to find in Latvia, even nowadays, any local grown-up person not capable of speaking Russian 's I wish you good luck. So the denomination itself "Russian-speaking" presumes people who can't speak any other language.

Today Russia claims the same principle as the Baltics 's to be the legal heir of the Soviet Union. It claims the same privileges as the seat on the Security Council in the United Nations, etc. But it does not want to assume respective responsibilities. All the time Russian and its main mass media have been playing propaganda games. Are there free media in Russia? Look at the recent international surveys in this respect. Consistently it has been twisting the youngest history and current events, putting forward and stressing that side of the medal that suits its purposes, ambitions and interests and consciously ignoring the other in the same good old Soviet style.

It reminds me of a situation when a woman has been raped, a child was born, but the sole responsible for all the mess, the child's health, etc., is the raped woman's. Maybe it's ridiculous, but for me it sounds tragic.

And lastly, to get Latvian citizenship is not a hard thing: to learn some language basics, bits of history and pay some 15 lats as a fee. It's not asking too much from noncitizens. They as well could obtain Russian citizenship, but most of them chose neither. So it's up to them to make their choice.

Gundars Sondors

President of Russia Vladimir Putin is wrong about the plight of Russians in Latvia. It's not that serious. About 450,000 Russians born in Latvia aren't full citizens, but the problem's temporary. Time will solve it because: 1) those born after Aug. 21, 1991 are automatically full citizens, soon to be voters; 2) ethnic-Russians have a much higher growth rate than ethnic Latvians; and 3) a vast number of Latvian young people have Russian and Latvian parents and they won't be anti-Russian voters. Within 10 years, ethnic Russian political influence in Latvia will equal ethnic Latvians 's maybe sooner, as everyone anticipates the inevitable. Then laws will change. The Russians in Latvia have waited 14 years. They're strong enough to wait a few more. They won't, however, forget who spoke out and who didn't.

Guy Baker


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