Another consideration of the case of the Slivenko family is expected to take place at the beginning of April in the European court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. This time, the case will be considered in detail. The family of Russian officer Nikolay Slivenko was deported from Latvia (after their property was confiscated) by order of the Latvian government. The Latvian government made this decision on the grounds that “not one of them ha lived on the territory of the republic since 1940.” Tatiana Slivenko sent a complaint to the European court in January of 1999, claiming that her rights and the rights of her family had been violated on six points of the European charter for human rights. The court made a decision to sustain the claim of the Russian citizen on three positions that contradicted articles of the European convention: illegal detention, violation of family rights, and discrimination.
At present, the Slivenko family is living in the Russian city of Kursk, while Tatiana’s relatives remain in Riga. Since Tatiana Slivenko is not allowed to enter Latvia, she can communicate with her parents over the phone only. Tatiana’s family can hardly make ends meet in Kursk (since the summer of 1999), and the wages of the Latvian pensioners are very low, taking into account the fact that Tatiana’s parents are disabled people.
ORT television, a Russian station, reported that the lawyers who represent the interests of the family in Strasbourg visited them. However, there is nobody to take care of them.
The lawyers think that the Strasbourg court should start considering the case as soon as possible because of the fact that the parents are in strong need of help and the situation of the family is critical.
Nevertheless, it does not seem that the court will order the Latvian government to reverse their decision and reinstate the status of the Slivenko family as permanent residents of Latvia. The defenders of human rights in Europe turn a blind eye on the infringements against the ethnic Russian population in the Baltic republics. The main arguments Latvia uses are the following: “We believe that Tatiana Slivenko’s family should leave Latvia according to the treaty of 1994 concerning the withdrawal of the Soviet troops.”
This is just one example of the attitude toward the Russian population in Latvia and the other republics of the Baltic region, which are currently striving for membership in NATO and the European Union. The largest amount of discrimination against Russians is in Latvia. The ethnic Russian population there makes up 40% of all Latvia's citizens and they are completely deprived of active participation in political life. The only hope for Russian veterans and retired military men is the European Court of Human Rights. Lawyer Eduard Leiton said that the situation contradicted even the local laws, which are not being observed in Latvia in order to expel the Russian population.
The Russian foreign ministry is still releasing pointless official statements, and it does not take any measures to protect Russian citizens abroad. Representatives of radical organizations cannot do anything, realizing that Moscow is very weak in this respect.
A case is pending in the city court of Tallin that is connected with three young people from the Estonian branch of the Russian National Unity (known by its Russian initials as RNE). Twenty-four-year-old citizen of Estonia Allan Khantsom and Russian citizens Sergey Vasechkin (23) and Sergey Seleznyov (30) are charged with inciting political and international problems. The charges say that they committed a horrible crime: they described Estonia as territory that belonged to Russians since ancient times and accused Estonians of a negative attitude towards everything related with Russia.
This is one of the latest official statements of the foreign ministry: “Moscow wants the European standards of the rights of national minorities to be applied in Latvia and Estonia towards the Russian-speaking population.” This was stated by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov at a session of the committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Ivanov hopes that the incorporation of these countries into the EU will help to solve the problems that exist in Europe as an obstacle for guaranteeing the rights of national minorities. Moscow is interested in maintaining friendly, constructive relations with Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.
However, the problem is the fact that the other party is not interested in solving the problem, and it is not going to change its policy. What else can be said here if the deeds of the Soviet soldier who saved the world from fascism has been dragged in the mud in the Baltic republics under the careful watch of the official authorities. Imagine that the history books will try teach children that the Soviet era was a time of the occupation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and that the current times are a blessing of national determination.
Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov