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Russia Questions Latvia's Adherence to Democratic Values

Moscow has called upon official Riga to show in deed rather than in word its adherence to democratic values and to promote the climate of good-neighbourliness with Russia.

"Latvia's plans to dismantle the system of secondary and vocational education in the Russian language causes increasing concern of all those who disagree with the on-going crack-down on the rights of the Russian minority in that country," reports the Russian foreign ministry. This applies to 40 percent of schoolchildren for whom Russian is the native tongue - actually, the future of a whole generation is at stake.

Latvia's Education and Science Minister Karlis Sadurskis said the other day that the government had no intention to give up its decision on the introduction of Latvian-language tutorship in Russian secondary schools from 2004.

"Latvia has thus ignored for umpteenth time numerous appeals from international organisations, in particular from PACE, to the Latvian authorities recommending them amendments to the 1998 Law on education in accordance with the clauses and spirit of the European Frame convention on the protection of ethnic minorities," says the Russian foreign ministry.

It is underlined that this document signed but yet unratified by Latvia gives legal force to the right of ethnic minorities to receive secondary education in their native tongue.

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