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Ethnic Russians discriminated against in Baltic countries

December 28, 2011, 21:22 UTC+3
The problem of granting to non-citizens passive and active election rights in Latvia and of granting active election right at the municipal election in Estonia remains unresolved
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MOSCOW, December 28 (Itar-Tass) —— The discriminatory course of the Baltic countries’ authorities regarding the Russian speaking minority remains actually unchanged, says the Russian Foreign Ministry’s first report on the situation of human rights in a number of countries.

“The problem of a big non-citizen population in Latvia and Estonia where hundred thousands of people with the non-citizen status reside causes special concern. Violations of the rights of the Russian-speaking minority result from this problem,” says the report. “Despite numerous recommendations of international and human rights organizations, the naturalization procedure for the aged has not been simplified and non-citizens’ children are not granted citizenship at birth. The existence of the non-citizen status is thus perpetuated,” says the report.

The problem of granting to non-citizens passive and active election rights in Latvia and of granting active election right at the municipal election in Estonia remains unresolved to this day, and this despite the fact that this category of citizens in the Baltic countries are conscientious taxpayers. The concern expressed by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) over restriction of non-citizens’ rights to participate in political parties is ignored, too.

The CERD is concerned over special emphasis placed on the Estonian language and the use of language sanctions. There more so as the punitive measures do nothing to increase the motivation of ethnic minorities for learning the official language and for naturalization. A similar situation persists in Latvia.

“While a big non-citizen population and an extremely slow pace of naturalization continue to be problems in Latvia and Estonia, the shrinking of the Russian-language information, cultural and educational space and prosecution of World War Two veterans and veterans of law enforcement bodies of the former USSR are characteristic also of Lithuania, aside from those countries,” says the report.

Particular concern of the Russian Foreign Ministry is caused by the continued efforts of all the three Baltic countries at revising the history of World War Two (manifested in glorification of Nazi flunkeys, gatherings of Waffen-SS legionnaires, desecration of monuments, marches and camps of nationalistic-minded youth, persecution of veterans who fought to free of Nazism European countries, including Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, sparing neither their health nor their lives, equation of the Nazi and the Soviet regimes, and attempts at glorification of Nazis and their local accomplices).

“These efforts are among the main factors whipping up neo-Nazist, racist, extremist attitudes in society, provoking manifestations of nationalism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism and racial and religious hate,” the ministry noted.

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