The language of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky is discriminated in Latvia

Posted in Russia | 22-Apr-04 | Author: Dmitry Udalov| Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia

Russian language is known to be one of the richest in the world. It is a language of great historical and cultural heritage. Russian literature is famous all over the world. Besides Russian language is a language of international communication, as it is adopted to be one of the five official languages of the UN. There is only one question. WHY those who speak this language as a native one can’t continue doing it and WHY their children are prohibited to learn it?

Latvia claims it shares all the universal principals of human rights as any member of the European Union. But its decision to limit from September 1, 2004, Russian Language teaching in secondary schools for national minorities contradicts these principals. Therefore Russian authorities continue to excoriate Latvian government.
Besides the escalation of this conflict may lead to greater consequences such as the burst out of ethnic extremism and multinational clashes.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia made a statement regarding plans of the Latvian Authorities to limit from September 1, 2004, Russian Language instruction in secondary schools for national minorities.

New mass protest actions took place in Riga on April 15-16 against the Latvian authorities' plans to sharply limit from September 1, 2004, Russian language instruction in the secondary schools for national minorities. We shall stress in this connection that the Russian-speaking community not only does not refuse to use the Latvian language, but also insists on better quality in its instruction. The people, however, are protesting against the substitution of notions, when under the pretext of concern about the Latvian language the authorities are trying to limit their right to get education in their native tongue.

The correctness is being borne out of the fears earlier voiced by the Russian side about the consequences of the demonstrative unwillingness of the government of Latvia to take into consideration the proposals of the Congress in Defense of the Russian Schools, held in Riga on March 6, 2004. The refusal to suspend the implementation of the plans for secondary school reform in its present form and to start a real dialogue with the representatives of Russian-speaking organizations will continue to deadlock the situation and provoke a radicalization of sentiments among the youth.

A new alarming moment of the last few weeks is the shift by the Latvian authorities ahead of entry into the European Union to open threats to use administrative measures of influence against participants of democratic forms of upholding their position.

Surprising in this connection is the position held by the top leadership of the country, which in words is committed to a pledge to defend the interests of all the residents of Latvia, but in practice is actually unleashing a "witch hunt" and seeking to shift the blame for the mounting internal problems to certain "external forces," in particular, Russia. Evidently, official Riga has deemed it convenient to forget that, by entering the OSCE, it has assumed an obligation to regard human rights as a universal value and not to treat this question, proceeding from internal political considerations, as an internal matter of Latvia. To think that people may be stirred up for demonstrations from the outside means refusing to see the full acuteness of the real problems of a significant portion of the youth.

Once again we reaffirm that, as concerns the defense of the interests of its compatriots, Russia has no aims in Latvia other than ensuring the adherence of that country to the well-known European standards of guarantees for rights of nontitular populations. Responsibility for the persistent attempts to carry on the line on their assimilation falls on official Riga and those in Europe who, guided by momentary expedience, are actually catering to the preservation of the serious problems of Latvian society. Moscow presumes that their solution, including elaboration of an optimal model of educational reform in Latvia, can only be found on the basis of a consensus taking into account the modern European practice of resolving conflicts in multinational countries.