RIGA, September 30. /TASS/. The Latvian Russian Union (LRU) is going to make the country’s authorities recognize the right of the Russian-speaking minority to Russian-language-based education during a protest rally on October 5, co-chairman of the LRU’s board Miroslav Mitrofanov said on Monday.
"The goal is to show to the government that the Russians never give up and will never agree to the rejection of the use of the native language in the educational system," he said. "Our goal is to make the authorities see relations between the Latvian majority and the Russian minority in other way and recognize that the Russians have the right to receive education in their native language and the right to a decent equal life in their country."
He called the destruction of the Russian education in the republic a disaster. "The fact that Latvia’s authorities decided to destroy the Russian education is a disaster," Mitrofanov said. "It leads to the marginalization [of Russian-speaking children] and unequal competitive conditions on the labor market."
From 1,000 to 3,000 people will take part in the protest rally on October 5, Mitrofanov said.
The LRU’s chairperson, Tatyana Zhdanok, earlier reported that the defenders of Russian schools will march from the Town Hall Square in downtown Riga to the cabinet of ministers’ building on October 5.
In September, Latvia’s ruling coalition supported the full transfer of the entire educational system in the country to the state language. Secretary General of the national association "All for Latvia - For Fatherland and Freedom/Movement for the National Independence of Latvia" Raivis Zeltits said that the agreement was reached during the discussion of the initiative to oblige self-governance authorities to ensure education in the state language in each municipal pre-school institution if a child’s parents demand so.
The education reform
"The regulations on the national governing principles of pre-school education and models of programs of pre-school education" came into force in Latvia on September 1, following the government’s adoption. According to this document, pre-school facilities that carry out education in the Russian language should offer support for children in studying the national culture and the Latvian language. Latvian will become the main language of communication for children under five, if it is not the Russian culture subject.
According to the law on the reform, Russian-speaking schools started the transfer to the Latvian-language study of most subjects. Only several subjects linked to culture and history will continue to be studied in Russian. All this drew discontent from Latvia’s Russian-speaking citizens, who make up 40% of the population. Defenders of the Russian schools carried out numerous mass rallies, marches and actions against the reform. The ban on the study of the Russian language in private higher educational institutions and colleges was also launched in Latvia in early 2019. These educational facilities, along with the state ones, should carry out educational programs only in the Latvian language or in any other EU official language, among which there is no Russian.