MOSCOW, December 4. /TASS/. Russia faced displays of Russophobia long before the beginning of the special military operation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, referring to the treatment of Russians in the Baltic states.
"We know what Russophobia is, we faced it long ago. First and foremost, this is everything that happened before the entire world’s eye in the Baltic states long before the special military operation. The special op has nothing to do with this at all. Someone, probably, decided to take advantage of the special operation to resolve their own domestic policy issues, but it is their own business. It does not pain them in a good light, of course," Putin said during the meeting with the Presidential Council on Human Rights.
Reporter, Council member Kirill Vyshinsky asked the head of state to take additional measures to protect the interests of Russians, who live in unfriendly states and face violation of their rights there. He provided Latvia as an example, where Russians, who face deportation if they fail to pass an exam on knowledge of the local language and to fill in a special questionnaire. Commenting on this, Putin noted that "any country wants people living on its territory to treat it traditions, culture and language with respect." Meanwhile, he called the status of "non-citizens" "certainly outside of the legal regime of almost all civilized states."
"This is a rather strange invention of those who aspire to be considered democratic states. It is, of course, ugly and it acquires new qualities and a new scale now," Putin added.
In his opinion, Russia sees and understands it.
"We have always believed that, in the modern world, a person is entitled to choose their country of residence. If this is their own choice," the president underscored. "If a person decides to live somewhere in another country, it is their choice. But the things that we face, of course, require our cautious attitude to these processes, it requires correction of our relations with the countries where this kind of things take place, and it requires our cautious attitude to people who want to return to their historic Homeland," Putin believes.
He believes that systemic measures are needed in this situation, that "this must be considered."
"If these people don’t want to go anywhere, but they are being deported, there is nothing we can do, but we must create conditions for these people. Of course, this must be done jointly; let us consider, together - with you, with the Human Rights Council, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the Russian government - how to react to the things that are happening," the head of state concluded.