Latvian schools: should Moscow have a say?

Minorities in Latvian schools are to be given more lessons in Latvian and fewer in their own language, according to a new law. The new measure will above all affect Russian speakers, and has consequently attracted Moscow's attention. A member of Putin's Human Rights Council is due to travel to Latvia this month to assess the potential for conflict. Latvia's press is incensed.

Open/close all quotes
Neatkarīgā (LV) /

Make clear who's the boss here

The visit by the Russian human rights representative is brazen impertinence, Neatkarīgā fumes:

“What conflict situation? Who's in conflict with whom? The parliament has voted for a gradual transition to Latvian-language education in Russian schools, and the president has signed the bill into law. There was no talk of any conflict. ... A visit to Latvia by Moscow's representative is a provocation and interference in our country's affairs. We should keep these Russian inspectors in custody for a few days, to prevent Lativa from being destabilised and crimes from taking place. And after that we should send them packing to the Kremlin's protectorate. That way our statesmen would finally show some backbone and make it clear who's the boss here.”

Latvijas Avize (LV) /

Russia's human rights envoy an embarrassment

The Human Rights Council created by Putin in 2004 is a toothless tiger, commentator Māris Antonevičs writes in Latvijas avīze:

“Two years ago a member of the Human Rights Council travelled to Chechnya to check on how Kadyrov's republic had become a state within a state. It took a lot of courage to go there and talk about human rights. In the Chechnyan capital the organisation's representative was attacked and covered in flour before being forced to leave the region. The Human Rights Council in Russia is a modern version of the Potemkin village, brought into being by Putin to express 'concern' about human rights whose violation he couldn't really care less about. Now the members of this Council have reached the next level and are interfering with the policies of other countries. How embarassing.”