[lg policy] Moscow signals concern for Russians in Estonia

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 20 20:39:42 UTC 2014

Moscow signals concern for Russians in Estonia

By Robert Evans<http://blogs.reuters.com/search/journalist.php?edition=us&n=robert.evans&>

GENEVA  Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:03pm EDT

  (Reuters) - Russia
<http://www.reuters.com/places/russia?lc=int_mb_1001>signaled concern
on Wednesday at Estonia's treatment of its large ethnic
Russian minority, comparing language policy in the Baltic state with what
it said was a call in
prevent the use of Russian.

Russia <http://www.reuters.com/places/russia?lc=int_mb_1001> has defended
its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula by arguing it has the right to
protect Russian-speakers outside its borders, so the reference to
linguistic tensions in another former Soviet republic comes at a highly
sensitive moment.

Russia fully supported the protection of the rights of linguistic
minorities, a Moscow diplomat told the United
Rights Council in Geneva, according to a summary of the session
issued by the U.N.'s information department.

"Language should not be used to segregate and isolate groups," the diplomat
was reported as saying. Russia was "concerned by steps taken in this regard
in Estonia as well as in
the Moscow envoy was said to have added.

The text of the Russian remarks, echoing long-standing complaints over
Estonia's insistence that the large Russian minority in the east of the
country should be able to speak Estonian, was not immediately available.

But amid the growing Crimea crisis, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - which
like Ukraine were all parts of the old Soviet Union - have expressed
growing apprehension over Moscow's intentions.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is currently in the Lithuanian capital
Vilnius as part of a trip to reassure the three countries, all European
Union and NATO members, of Washington's support.

Ukraine told the rights council that U.N. experts had found no credible
evidence of mistreatment of its Russian minority as alleged by Moscow --
one of whose pro-Kremlin newspapers said this week there was "bloodshed
almost like in Syria" in the east of the country.

The new government in Kiev, a Ukrainian envoy declared, was reinvigorating
its promotion and protection of the rights of minorities "to the highest
international standards".

The envoy asked what measures could be taken to protect Ukrainian, Crimean
Tatar and other minority groups in Crimea "whose rights are being violated
under the Russian occupation."

Responding, the Russian delegate said there were no violations of minority
rights in Crimea and minorities were not being persecuted. The new
Russian-backed government there had guaranteed protection of the Tatars.


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