RIGA - Banning all Russian citizens from Latvia would not be the right thing to do, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said in an interview to TV3 channel Wednesday.
The prime minister noted that "being a Russian does not necessarily mean supporting Putin". Everyone should keep this in mind, also when communicating with Latvia-based ethnic Russians, Karins said.
Asked whether this might be the right time to revoke most of the Latvian residence permits that have been issued to Russian citizens, Karins said that this would not be the right thing to do because such a step would mean banishing also the people that cannot live in Russia because of the Putin regime.
"To start scrapping [residence permits] for everyone? I think this is just not right. Such talk incites people to look for internal enemies, and this has never ended well in history. Rather, let's lend a hand and help those people who perhaps for years have thought that Russian patriotism means supporting Putin," the prime minister said.
According to Karins, a Russian citizen who has been a supporter of Putin should not be denied the opportunity to "side with common sense".
Saeima members of the National Alliance, responding to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, have proposed revoking Latvian residence permits of most Russian citizens in three months' time and to indefinitely suspend the issuance of residence permits to Russian citizens. The proposal, however, provided for several exceptions regarding the revocation of the residence permits.