The Russian Population in Latvia - Puppets of Moscow?
Publish date: 2006-01-01
Report number: FOI-R--1975--SE
Written in: English
Latvian integration policy concerns a complex of issues such as citizenship, school language and minority status. Even if the policy has let Latvia become an accepted member of the international community, it is challenged by domestic Russian-speaking groups and by the Russian Federation. The disagreements originate in the interpretation of Latvian 20th century history and the definition of a national minority, based on the actual Latvian situation. A crucial question is whether russia exercises any influence over the Latvia-Russian community, giving it an improper impact on Latvian interior affairs. official Russian compatriot policy seems to have had little success this, but it has still been able tokeep the ethnic question in the Baltic states alive at the international level. Radical Russian free-lancers in ethnic policymaking might be a bigger nuisance for Latvia, but without official Russian support, they are probably easier to handle. As a group.the Latvia-Russians seem to have reached a critical level of internal organisation with several political parties, NGOs and competing mass media. They have therefore turned into a selfsufficient actor capable of setting its own agenda instead of implementing the agenda of others. Thus, the Latvia-Russians are hardly remote-controlled from Moscow, which, of course, does not prevent them from cooperating with different Russian actors when their interests coincide.