Amendments to the General Education Law (excerpt), 2020

To supplement Section 21 of the law with a new Paragraph 2 reading as follows (the existing text of the Section being considered to be Paragraph 1):

(2) A municipality has a duty to ensure an opportunity to acquire pre-school
education programmes in the official language in all the pre-school
educational institutions subordinated thereto.


Document data: The text given is an unofficial translation. Latvian original text: (2) Pašvaldības pienākums ir nodrošināt iespēju visās tās padotībā esošajās pirmsskolas izglītības iestādēs apgūt pirmsskolas izglītības programmu valsts valodā.

In January 2020, the parliamentary commission approved a sligtly different version, before the 2nd reading in the plenary. That text read “A municipality has a duty to ensure acquisition of pre-school education programmes in the official language in all the pre-school educational institutions subordinated thereto” and was followed by a letter from the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities.

Pre-independence maps of Latvia’s cities, with Russian streetnames

Riga, 1900
Riga, Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary
Riga, around 1820
Dinamind (RU Усть-Двинск, Ust’-Dvinsk, DE Dünamünde, LV Daugavgrīva), around 1820
Libava (LV Liepāja, DE Libau), 1903
Mitava (LV Jelgava, DE Mitau), 1907

Publisher’s note: two other selections of historical Riga maps, some of those with Russian texts as well: http://riga.zurbu.net/maps & https://hutun.livejournal.com/18563.html One Riga map in Russian in high resolution, from circa 1880 https://www.russkije.lv/media/original/r/Riga—karta.jpg

Coronavirus pandemic in the EU – Fundamental Rights Implications (excerpts from background document on Latvia), 2020

1 Measures taken by government/public authorities

[..]

1.2 Measures affecting the general population

[..]

1.2.2 Education

Focus on:

  • Ensuring continuity of education for children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, including measures to ensure distance learning for this group

Governments regulations No. 183 on “The Regulations concerning the time of state exams in school year 2019/2020” were amended to suspend state exams for Grade 9 pupils, except for Latvian language exam in minority schools.12 Centralised exams for Grade 12 will take place as planned.

12 Governments regulations Nr 183 on “The Regulations concerning the time of state exams in school year 2019/2020” (Noteikumi par valsts pārbaudes darbu norises laiku 2019./2020. mācību gadā), at
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/306563-noteikumi-par-valsts-parbaudes-darbu-norises-laiku-2019-2020-nbspmacibu-gada

[..]

To facilitate access to remote schooling and acquisition of qualitative content and provide greater support to parents, particularly at elementary school stage, during working days from 9.00-13.40 lessons are broadcast in a new and educational TV channel “Your class.” The channel will operate from 6 April until 29 May and will be broadcast on two free TV channels, and also available online www.tavaklase.lv 14

14 Lvportals.lv (2020). Explanations: Education in Higher Educational Establishments, Schools and Kindergardens (Skaidrojumi: Izglītība augstskolās, skolās un bērnudārzos), at https://lvportals.lv/skaidrojumi/314370-izglitiba-augstskolas-skolas-un-bernudarzos-2020

[..]

1.2.4 Access to justice

[..]

For public information purposes all legal acts connected to the state emergency situation are available in three languages – Latvian, English and Russian. 38

38 The legal acts of the Republic of Latvia (.Latvijas Republikas tiesību akti). Covid-19: legal acts in Russian (Covid-19: правовые акты на русском языке). https://likumi.lv/p/ru/covid-19


Document data: 04.05.2020. Prepared by NGO Latvian Centre for Human Rights, commissioned by FRA under contract as background material for a comparative report. The information and views contained in the document do not necessarily reflect the views or the official position of the FRA. Link: https://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/fra_uploads/lv_report_on_coronavirus_pandemic_may_2020.pdf

Publisher’s notes: it should be noted that tavaklase.lv only offers televised lessons in Latvian, except the lessons of languages as subjects. It should also be noted that the authorities began providing detailed information on the pandemics in Russian only after an outcry in mid-March, both in social networks (by Latvian Human Rights Committee and others) and in the parliament (by opposition Harmony MPs).

Links to English-language studies & policy documents

Vladimir BUZAYEV Legal and social situation of the Russian-speaking minority in Latvia. Riga: Averti-R, 2014 http://www.russkije.lv/files/images/text/PDF_Files/Legal-and-social-situation.pdf (also available, in a different version, in French and Russian)

Roma in Latvia. Research report 2015 – Society Integration Foundation – http://oldweb.km.lv/lv/doc/nozaru/integracija/Romi/romi_latvija_petijums_ENG.pdf

Language situation in Latvia: 2010–2015 A sociolinguistic study. Scientific Editor: L. Lauze. Editor-in-Chief: G. Kļava. Rīga: LVA, 2017. 272 pgs. http://www.valoda.lv/en/research/study-of-the-linguistic-situation/ (also available, in print version, in Latvian)

Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy (2012-2018). Cabinet of Ministers. https://www.km.gov.lv/uploads/ckeditor/files/Sabiedribas_integracija/Petijumi/En_Pamatnostad.pdf (also available in Latvian and Russian)

Poleshchuk, Vadim (ed.). Chance to Survive. Minority Rights in Estonia and Latvia Moscow, Paris: Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, Foundation for Historical Outlook and Legal Information Centre for Human Rights. ISBN 978-9949-18-818-5 https://web.archive.org/web/20110313081515/http://www.lichr.ee/main/assets/L-3-eng.pdf (also available in Russian)

The Latvian language, Languages in Latvia. State Language Commission, 2003 http://www.vvk.lv/doc_upl/Valodas_Latvijaa_ENG.pdf (also available, in adifferent version, in various languages)

EUI reports on citizenship, naturalisation and electoral rights in Latvia http://globalcit.eu/country-profiles/?country=Latvia

State Security Service annual report for 2019 (excerpt), 2020

3. Protection of the constitutional order

[..]

Russian non-military influence activities in Latvia

[..]

Last year, so-called [* – See below publisher’s additional note] compatriots continued protesting against legislative amendments introducing a gradual transition to instruction in the state language in all secondary education schools. Protests were held by the unregistered KSAŠ (HQ for the Defence of Russian Schools). The activities of KSAŠ abated after the European Parliament elections, confirming VDD’s view that their primary purpose was to serve as a platform for LKS [** See below publisher’s additional note] during the election campaign. But despite the reduction of activity, there are no grounds for thinking that the education and language issue generally has lost its appeal for the orchestrators of Russia’s influence measures against Latvia. Russia is not interested in the strengthening of critical thinking or the emergence of a knowledgeable and competitive new generation in Latvia, as such people would be harder to manipulate and exploit. Furthermore, the education issue is handy for the campaign to discredit Latvia abroad. For example, at the end of 2019, in parallel with a European Russian forum in Brussels a “youth forum” was held as part of the series “Russian identity outside Russia.” During the intermission, young LKS activists dropped tendentious booklets titled “Minority Schools Under Attack in Latvia” in the mailboxes of MEPs, claiming that Russian schools face “deliberate extermination” in Latvia.

In 2019, VDD identified cases where so-called compatriots were used to provoke clashes of opinion which could lead to verbal or physical confrontations and result in vivid propaganda clips and opportunities to discredit Latvia on the global stage. As in previous years, Russia attempted to do this with the memorial events for Latvian legionnaires held on 16 March, but on the whole Latvia’s society is immune to such efforts.


Document data: 18.03.2020. ISBN 978-9934-8830-3-3 Link: https://vdd.gov.lv/en/?rt=documents&ac=download&id=55

Publisher’s additional notes:

* Russia’s

** Latvian Russian Union party