RIGA - Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (For Development) reminds the public that at times of war enemy weapons will not discriminate by language or nationality.
Pabriks reminded that 100 years ago all ethnic groups participated in the struggle for independence, and that the armed forces is made up of all the ethnic groups present in the country.
"Latvia not only cares for all of its citizens, but all of its residents. In a crisis or conflict situation, we will protect any person, regardless of their ethnicity," Pabriks emphasized.
"But I also need to remind of one thing. This is for those who think that in the event of a conflict, they will be more protected if they remain passive. Enemy weapons will not differentiate you by language or citizenship," said Pabriks.
Although there are some differences in the perception of patriotism, support among national minorities in their willingness to defend Latvia is increasing despite the fact that a propaganda campaign is being directed against Latvia.
Pabriks does not deny that public perceptions have been influenced by historical processes, attitudes in the family and at schools, media usage patterns and external influences.
He believes that while there are differences between ethnic groups in regards patriotism, Latvia needs to try to reduce friction between society and the state, including society and the government.
Although people in media interviews often claim that things are getting worse each year in Latvia, Pabriks believes that this is an exaggeration, although a critical attitude towards the public administration and politicians must be maintained.
As reported, in Latvia, 31 percent of residents would be prepared to take up arms and defend their country in the event of military aggression, but a much higher number of people would not defend Latvia by military means, reveals a survey by the Center for Security and Strategic Research (CSSR) at the Latvian National Defense Academy.
The survey's authors note that in 2016 the percentage of respondents ready to defend Latvia with weapons was 33 percent.
In the latest survey, the notion of willingness to defend one's country has been expanded by including also the nonmilitary dimension, because nowadays, nonmilitary solutions are increasingly used to achieve geopolitical goals and a comprehensive national defense system, which is currently being developed in Latvia, also includes a broad nonmilitary sphere.
The survey shows that 55 percent of respondents, including 61 percent of Latvian-speakers and 42 percent of Russian-speakers, are ready to defend Latvia by nonmilitary means, providing support to the armed forces.
Readiness to provide assistance to the injured is even higher (69 percent).
One third of respondents, or 30 percent, said they would leave the country if a military conflict broke out.
The survey's authors are Ieva Berzina, a senior researcher at the CSSR, and Uldis Zupa, a PhD student at Turiba University.
In the survey, in-depth interviews were conducted with residents of Liepaja city, including 12 respondents who speak Latvian in their families and 14 who speak Russian.
The study also analyzed respondents' answers in a Latvijas Fakti survey, which interviewed 1,075 people, aged 16 to 74.