“Latvia instigates linguistic genocide against Russian-speaking citizens”: summary & disproof, 2019

SUMMARY

What is happening in Latvia with the Russian language is a manifestation of linguistic genocide against Russian-speaking citizens, more than 40% of the country.

DISPROOF

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the discrimination of Russian speakers.

According to the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, 25,2% of residents of Latvia are ethnic Russians, not 40% as claimed by the Russian deputy making this statement.

At the same time, the Constitutional Court of Latvia stated that Amendments to the Education Law that stipulate transition to Latvian as the sole instruction language in schools are in line with the Constitution.

In its decision, the Constitutional Court indicated that the convention on the protection of national minorities said that any person has the right to learn their native language. But to what extent this will be done, the convention leaves the countries the right to decide for themselves – which was done in Latvia. Separately, the court decision notes that the right to learn the native language should not interfere with the development of the state language, and it is Latvian in Latvia.

See other examples of pro-Kremlin narratives on the matter here and here.


Document data: The Disinformation Review No. 147, 11.06.2019. Reference is being made to an article in a news portal REGNUM (Russia). Link: https://euvsdisinfo.eu/report/latvia-condemned-for-language-genocide/ Notably the East StratCom Task Force, while belonging to the EU European External Action Service, makes a disclaimer that its publication does not represent an official EU position.

Publisher’s notes: About statistics: the Russian MP Zheleznyak actually spoke about “Russian-speaking citizens” (русскоговорящих граждан), not “residents [being] ethnic Russians” as mistranslated by East StratCom Task Force. As a results, their numbers are not relevant. The number given by Mr Zheleznyak is not precise, either. The share of residents (!) speaking Russian at home, as at the end of 2017, was 37.7 % according to the same CSB of Latvia. It’s close to Zheleznyak’s number, but Zheleznyak spoke of “citizens”, and over 230,000 of Latvia’s residents (overwhelmingly Russian-speakers) were stateless at the end of 2017. About education: East StratCom Task Force strangely ignores the fact that the committee responsible for overseeing implementation of the convention they mention has harshly criticized the relevant legislation. East StratCom Task Force also refers to a Latvia’s own court, which unsurprisingly sees no problem with the legislation.

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