Russia condemns Baltic ’attack’ on minority rights

  • 2014-09-16
  • From wire reports, RIGA

(photo: twitter)

Russia will not accept an 'attack' against the Russian language in the Baltic States, Russia's Foreign Ministry Konstantin Dolgov has said.

"We will not accept the ongoing attack against the Russian language that we see in the Baltic States. We believe that Latvian and Estonian authorities that have repressed the status of the Russian language, have acted in a rude manner violating the common human rights," Dolgov said, cited by Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dolgov's comments come amid a conference for Russian speakers in Latvia, Lithuania and Russia. Russia has long accused the Baltic States of suppressing the rights of Russian speakers. 

"Official Riga's announcement about the fact that one of the oldest Russian schools that existed in Latvia since 1789 needs to be closed down by 2018, is unacceptable for the civilized world," Dolgov said.

"The international society must block the Baltic States from further violating the rights of Russian-speaking citizens in Baltics."

Latvia, however, has accused Russia of trying to 'destabilize' the Baltic states amid the Ukraine crisis whilst there's fears among Baltic officials that a Crimea style scenario could be repeated in the region.

"Russia is demonstrating its military might and also that it is definitely interested in destabilizing the situation in Ukraine and Europe, and especially in the Baltic States. Therefore, we must be ready for such situations" Latvia's defense minister Raimonds Vejonis recently said.

Non citizens 

Speaking at the conference, Dolgov condemned Latvia and Estonia's policy in regard to matters concerning citizenship. It's estimated up to 300,000 people remain stateless in Latvia, denying people access to vote or a Latvian passport. UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon has been among voices calling for better rights for Russian speakers in Latvia. 

"Non-citizenship is an acute problem in Latvia and Estonia. We demand that the international society turns against Estonian and Latvian authorities in order to eliminate this embarrassing phenomenon once and for all," Dolgov said.

Latvia showed some signs of budging earlier this year after it announced non Latvian passport holders who hold electronic identification would be able to vote in this years government elections.

Citizens who do not have a passport but hold an ID card will be able to receive voter cards at the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs from September 22 to October 3, according to the new laws.

(Source: LETA, Ukrinform)