Latviski English По-русски
Sunday 22.07.2018 | Name days: Marija, Marika, Marina

Defenders of Russian schools are united by more than just public activities

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUActivists who wish to secure higher importance and range of application of Russian language in Latvia have been coming out to the streets more frequently lately. Behind numerous public events there is a well-structured network of non-governmental organizations, and at least some part of them have been receiving support, including financial, from foundations created by the Russian government.

De facto programme of LTV reports that many of the notable activists in Latvia are united not just by the cause they share. Organizers of events have been trained by one teacher. They remain in contact with him still. This person is Bronislav Zelcerman. He confirms that he was one of the key figures in the most recent Russian language referendum in Latvia.

Two weeks ago, this week and next week – public events in support for Russian schools are starting to pick a certain rhythm. They are becoming louder and more intense. Participants of these events also make references to recent events in Ukraine.

‘Adamantly – it is best to be educated in native tongue, think in native tongue and act,’ – said Bronislav Zelcerman in his interview to radio Baltkom. He and his colleague Aleksandr Gaponenko were previously noted as the organizers of the language referendum in Latvia. Gaponenko is also a known radical element, who had previously demanded Latgale to be made an autonomous territory.

In the same interview, Zelcerman drew attention to the backstage of the language referendum: ‘I was not alone in this. I had a team. I can say exactly how many people organized it – 47 aside from Linderman. All of them were present at all preparation stages. 47 people per such a country. We did what set out to do.’

Recent events lead to believe that a second coming is due for public protests. Now the target has been moved to schools of national minorities. It is not hard for Linderman to gather a team. He has been in charge of the Eksperiments teaching centre for innovative teaching approach. This centre has been releasing young leaders.

‘In my opinion, leaders are people who are prepared to give their lives for their ideas,’ – as Zelcerman described his opinion in his interview.

Zelcerman’s trained leaders can now be seen in movements that frequently actualize and carry to the streets matters regarding Russian schools and non-citizens. The role of this teacher in the education of the next generation was previously noticed by Latvia’s Security Police as well. Even now this institution keeps a close eye on the young activists. What is notable about them is that they often use arguments that harmonize with Russia and its geopolitical interests.

Chief of Security Police Janis Reikins says this: ‘This kind of education is not focused on increasing national identity and consolidation of Latvia’s society. This kind of education only contributes to the popularization of Russia’s interests and its possible ties with Latvia’s development and the country’s course of foreign and domestic policy.’

One of the most notable students of Zelcerman is now the member of Harmony Centre, MPE candidate, and leader of the Non-citizens Congress Elizabete Krivcova.

When asked about the possible cooperation of multiple NGOs with institutions associated with Russian government, Krivcova says: ‘Our goal is to form cooperation with Russian institutions on the basis of representation. Not in the current way or form. Instead, we want cooperation to be on equal terms, as though between equal partners. […] We have known common interests with Russia – it wants, and this wish is often well-founded, to criticize Latvia. We, on the other hand, want to distribute this information.’

Krivcova’s activities allow her to be regarded as the head of the process, as she works in politics. She meets with ministers, but she is not seen participating in public protest acts. Another of Zelcerman’s students can be found there – Illarion Girs.

Krivcova works with hand-in-hand with other students of Zelcerman’s – Margarita Dragile, Olga Gogina and Yelena Bacinska.

A carefully crafted system is behind public protest acts. Each person involved plays his own role – Russian school defence headquarters participates in street protests, Non-citizens Congress – tries to defend interests of Russian speakers on a political level. Other organizations try to recruit parents and young people.

Zelcerman’s students and he personally organized this week’s national minorities’ parents forum, which was organized in order to expand the audience of Russian language defence. These activists also work closely with each other in Perom movement. Its leader, Dragile, mentioned in some interview the organizing of summer camps for young people with a special emphasis on defence of language and rights. Young people are a valuable resource for Russia’s interests.

Executive Director of the Eastern European Policy Research Centre Andis Kudrs says: ‘This is the future. If the previous generation still lives in Soviet nostalgia and partially in the information space, the new generation should be fought over. Russian-speaking young people here in Latvia are more European than those who are busy creating the Eurasian Union.’

Annual accounts of the movement show that many of them have been closely working with foundations created by Russian authorities and have been receiving financial aid from Russia.

Several years ago, Zelcerman’s led pedagogy centre Eksperiment had formed a private school – Innova. Based on Russian education methodology, this private school now teaches 80 children all the way from first to twelfth grade.


Leave a reply

SRS: cash register reform still stagnates, but has become much faster than it was last year

The cash registers reform continues stagnating. However, it has become much faster than it was a year ago, as reported by State Revenue Service.

Specialists to search for solutions to topical environmental problems in Ventspils

On Friday, 20 July, a meeting was held between Ventspils Commercial Port representatives and specialists from State Environment Service.

Children with functional disorders to receive services financed by EU funds

Child invalids will have access to social services intended to improve their social skills and mobility. More than EUR 4.2 million has been allocated for this goal from the European Social Fund, as confirmed by Latvia’s Central Financing and Contracting Agency.

Producer price level in industry up 4.3% in Latvia

Compared to June 2017, the average level of producer prices in Latvian industry increased by 4.3 % in June 2018. Prices of products sold on the domestic market rose by 4.8 % and those of exported products by 3.7 %.

Total tax debts in Latvia in July – 1.212 billion euros

At the beginning of July total tax debts in Latvia, including outstanding debts, halted debts and debts applied with repayment term extensions, accounted for EUR 1.212 billion, which is 0.8% less than a month prior, according to data from the State Revenue Service.

Survey: every third Latvian resident has received illegal loan offers

Nearly every third resident in Latvia or 31% of respondents admit having received offers to use illegal loan services, as concluded in a survey performed by Latvian Alternative Financial Services Association and SKDS.

Libya opposed to EU's idea to establish migrant centres in North Africa

Libya is against the solution of the European Union to set up migrant centres in the North African country as a means to keep migrants from arriving in the bloc and Libya would not be convinced with financial support, its Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has noted.

Arrest warrant on Catalan ex-President cancelled by Spain

The Supreme Court of Spain cancelled a European arrest warrant for former Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont, as Germany refused to extradite him to face accusations of rebellion for declaring the independence of Spain's region, Catalonia in 2017.

Latvian government plans to allow handing expired food to charity

Latvia’s Agriculture Ministry has prepared amendments to the Law on the Supervision of the Handling of Food that provide permission to hand over certain types of food products to charity after the end of their expiry date.

Estonian industrial producer prices up 2.9% since June 2017

Estonian industrial producer price index has risen by 2.9% between June 2017 and the first summer month this year, resulting in an increase of export prices as well, Estonian statisticians have estimated.

Putin urges NATO to quit «irresponsibly» developing ties with Ukraine, Georgia

Russia's President Vladimir Putin cautioned NATO against developing deeper relations with Ukraine and Georgia, evaluating such a policy was irresponsible and would have consequences for the military alliance.

Latvian parliament not in a hurry to support president Vejonis for a second term

Political parties represented in the Saeima are not eager to support President Raimonds Vējonis for his remainder for a second term.

Weather in Latvia will remain warm and even hot at times

Weather in Latvia in the nearest couple of days will be dictated by a cyclone. Because of that the sky will be partially covered by clouds; thunderstorms are also expected, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Hungary sued in EU Court for criminalising help to illegal immigrants

The European Union's executive body has stated that a law in Hungary that criminalises support for illegal immigrants is in breach with EU law and Hungary has now been referred to the European Court of Justice for the alleged non-compliance.

Estonians buy alcohol in Latvia; country loses EUR 20 million in six months

Latvian stores located close to the Latvian-Estonian border have sold 1.6 million litres of strong alcoholic drinks in the first half year of 2019. This means Estonia has lost more than EUR 20 million in taxes, according to data from Association of Estonian Alcohol Producers and Importers.

Lithuania’s election watchdog slams ruling LFGU over popular TV series

Political messages can be channeled in various ways and the ruling now Lithuanian party, LFGU has chosen a very delicate way of the communications – through a TV series featuring the beauty and the ambiance of Naisiai, a picturesque settlement in Siauliai district.

Association: around 3,3000 people know of their HIV infection but receive no treatment

HIV remains a serious problem in Latvia – around 3,300 people are aware of their status but receive no treatment and continue spreading the infection. Because of that, it is necessary to act quickly for Latvia to lose its status as HIV kingdom and limit the spread of the infection, says Baltic HIV Association, informing decision-makers and responsible officials in institutions and hospitals about the HIV/AIDS situation.

Driver shortage may force reduction of international road haulage volumes

Latvia’s road haulage companies have started experiencing shortage of drivers. On top of that, if employment conditions for residents of non-EU member states do not change, it may be necessary to reduce the volume of road haulage volumes, says Latvijas auto president Valdis Trēziņš.

Lattelecom’s turnover up 9% in first half-year of 2018

Lattelecom Group’s turnover reached EUR 98.7 million in the first half-year of 2018, growing by 9% in comparison with the same period of 2017, according to unaudited financial results.

1,140 fewer births registered in Latvia in 2017

Since 2016 the number of births in Latvia is declining again. Compared to 2016, a total of 1,140 births fewer were registered in 2017. Also, the provisional number of births registered over the first six months of 2018 (9,664 children) is by 664 children smaller than that registered over the respective period of 2017.

Citadele Bank decides to reform Lithuanian subsidiary as a branch office

Citadele Bank has decided to reform its Lithuanian subsidiary as a branch office, as confirmed in the statement the bank submitted to Nasdaq Riga.

Russian pension age hike discussed amid protest outside Duma

As the Russian paliament votes on the proposal to gradually increase he pension age to 65 for men and 63 for women, some 200 people were seen protesting against the reform in Moscow.

Corruption watchdog chief says bureau has done no illegal actions

After going through Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s past investigative activities, the bureau’s chief – Jēkabs Straume – found it confusing that officers often took no appropriate actions after acquiring evidence or receiving indications regarding necessary steps.

Illegal border crossings to Estonia on rise after Russia World Cup

Football fans with temporary residency permits of the Russia World Cup, or fan Ids, are trying to illegally cross the Russian border with Estonia, a member of the European Union.

Estonian 13-year-old lethally overdoses fentanyl

Estonian prosecutors have accused a 15-year old of negligent homicide after a girl, 13, passed away from fentanyl overdose.