Such is the reality of independent Latvia, where little attention seems to be paid to Russia’s opinion
It seems that another anti-Russian campaign has been launched in the former Soviet republic of Latvia. Latvian President Vaira Vоke-Freiberga spoke rather harsh words against the Russian-speaking population of the republic who are not Latvian citizens and don’t speak the Latvian language. These people, who make up the majority of Latvia’s population, received an ultimatum: either learn the republic’s language and adopt the Latvian citizenship or leave the country. That was the gist of the Latvian president’s speech. Vaira Vоke-Freiberga called upon the non-citizens of Latvia blend into the republic, as the Latvian language is the only official language according to the republic's constitution. According to the Latvian president, Russia is the only country in which Latvia “has nuance of some definite kind.”
Vladimir Zorin, Russia’s minister overseeing ethnic problems, has already responded to the statement of Vaira Vоke-Freiberga and said that her statements concerning citizenship disagree with international practice and recommended that the Latvian leadership to respect the norms of European law.
However, such are the realities of independent Latvia, where little attention seems to be paid to Russia’s opinions. What is more, Latvia’s most desired objective is incorporation in the European Union, which the world's developed countries slightly associate with Russia.
The European Union in its turn is looking forward to Latvia’s entry and is ready to accept it as it is, with its every fault. The European Commission recommended to accept ten new members into the European Union in 2004. A EU Summit will consider the candidatures of new members on October 24-25. Latvia is among the ten candidates.
Russian Minister Vladimir Zorin says that the European Council won’t allow the mass deportation of the Russian population from Latvia. Why are you so sure, mister minister? PRAVDA.Ru already wrote about the Russian family of Tatyana Slivenko, who experienced great problems in Latvia, and about the appeals to the European Court concerning the problem. However, the situation only grows worse.
Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/10/04/48013.html