Russian Foreign Ministry condemns Latvia's language policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sun Jan 11 17:58:37 UTC 2009

Russian Foreign Ministry condemns Latvia's language policy
16:51 | 10/ 01/ 2009

MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Foreign Ministry has
accused Latvia of violating the rights of ethnic minorities by
toughening its language policy, the official spokesman said on
Saturday.  Latvian President Valdis Zatlers has recently signed
amendments to the Administrative Violations Code, previously approved
by parliament, which raised fines for using non-official languages by
employers and employees, and expanded the scope of the sanctions.

"It is obvious that such discriminatory moves violate the rights of
ethnic minorities, which are generally acknowledged in present-day
Europe, and aim to further displace the Russian language native for
one third of the Latvian population from all fields of public and
business activity," Andrei Nesterenko said.  The ministry spokesman
said Latvia's decision was in defiance of protests from a number of
political parties and public organizations in the country. Latvia,
where native Russian speakers account for at least 30% of the
population, treats Russian as a foreign language. Most of other former
Soviet states, while maintaining only one state language, have given
Russian varying degrees of recognition.
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