Latviski English По-русски
Monday 22.07.2019 | 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

Week in Lithuania: CB denies Swedbank’s Syria links, PM Skvernelis to change some ministers

Last week, PM Saulius Skvernelis revealed that the Government mulls taxing property and polluting cars, Lithuanian Railways said it will keep contract with Latvia's Sigmen, Court disqualifies itself from Paleckis case.

BNN summary of the week: Cutting a pie. Minimal wage. Dangerous games

Is there a pleasant aroma of a fresh pie in the air? Judging by events of the past week, the tasty smell of the 2020 budget has already spread across government corridors even though the dough is not ever ready.

Latvia among Baltic States with first quarter’s highest budget deficit

In Q1 2019, the general government budget deficit ratio to GDP in Latvia was higher than the average across the EU, according to data published by Eurostat.

Latvia’s industrial producer price level up 0.4% in June

Compared to May, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry rose by 0.4 % in June 2019. Prices of products sold on the domestic market grew by 1.5 %, but prices of exported products reduced by 0.7 %.

Curious career zigzags. From shipping schemes to a warm seat in Latvian Railway

Shadow of doubt over fraud worth five million euros. Career twists with Lembergs’ approval. Secret peace treaty following Uldis Augulis’ entry to Transport Ministry. Illegal state of monopoly in the industry. What hides behind Latvian Railway chief’s «spotless» reputation?

Estonian TransferWise hires Netflix’s ex-chief financial officer

Estonian-led financial transactions start-up TransferWise has announced expansion of its board of directors with the former chief financial officer of the American online television service Netflix, David Wells.

Ukraine to reform citizenship process following Russian passport move

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the President of Ukraine, has ordered changes to the process for receving Ukrainian citizenship reacting to a Moscow decree increasing the number of Ukrainians eligible for fast-track Russian passports.

SES: barrels with chemicals found in Baldone are not harmful to people or environment

The barrels found in Baldone containing different chemicals do not present any direct threats to the environment or people, as reported by State Environment Service.

U.S. shoots down Iranian aircraft amid rising tensions in Persian Gulf

With American-Iranian relations being tense, U.S. President Donald Trump stated that an American naval ship had downed an Iranian drone that threatened the ship in the Arabian Sea.

NATO StratCom does not consider FaceApp more dangerous than Facebook

The US Democratic Party is concerned about Russian-made FaceApp, which allows its users to imagine how they might look like when they are old and retired. NATO StratCom, however, does not consider the app to be more dangerous than other apps users entrust their personal data with.

Additional information to be asked for in Latvian prosecutor general’s evaluation

Saeima deputies who initiated the investigation if there are reasons the justify dismissal of Prosecutor General Ēriks Kalnmeiers have been asked to clarify their request by providing more detailed information in relation to conclusions mentioned in their request.

Latvian minister wants more responsibility for the state in children rights protection

The new children’s rights protection model will delegate more functions to the state, said Latvian Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča.

Scandinavian tourist killers in Morocco convicted to capital punishment

In Morocco, for the murder of two Scandinavian tourists, three Islamic State group supporters have been sentenced to death.

European Parliament urges Russia to release illegally arrested Ukrainian citizens

On Thursday, 18 July, European Parliament’s members accepted a resolution in which they invite Russia to unconditionally release all illegally and arbitrarily arrested Ukrainian citizens in Russia and occupied territories in Ukraine.

New York Times: stakes are high for Latvia in the fight against money laundering

US newspaper New York Times has published an article detailing problems with Latvia’s finance system, admitting that stakes are especially high in the fight against money laundering in this Baltic country.

Seats divided – Latvian MEPs find their jobs for the next several years

European Parliament has announced to composition of its parliamentary delegations. This includes the roles of Latvian MEPs for the first two and a half years of service, as reported by EP representative Jānis Krastiņš.

Defiant Lithuanian Parliament Speaker snubs party’s decision on his ouster

The summer’s record heatwave has withdrawn, but the Lithuanian legislature, Seimas, is sizzling – the chamber’s speaker, Viktoras Pranckietis, remains defiant, snubbing the ruling Farmers and Greens (LFGU) Council’s nearly unanimous decision to oust him from the post, following the signing of the LFGU-led new coalition agreement in early July.

Latvian Saeima committee supports increasing teachers’ wages to EUR 750

On Thursday, 18 July, Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee supporter proposal for division of finances to increase minimal wages of teachers to EUR 750 in 2019.

260 more marriages than last year registered in Latvia so far in 2019

In the six months of 2019, a total of 4 730 marriages were registered, and that is 260 marriages more than during the same period of the previous year.

Dentists in Latvia may be offered compensation for work in country’s regions

To improve accessibility of healthcare services outside of Riga, it is planned to expand the range of medical specialists who are eligible for financial support when choosing to work in regions, as reported by Healthcare Ministry.

Open arms for Lidl – Estonian competition watchdog predicts lower prices

Expecting the entry of the German supermarket chain Lidl on the Estonian market, the country’s Competition Authority expects healthier competition and lower prices.

Latvian president says funding is a non-issue if public media are organized

Resolving the public media crisis will make funding a non-issue, said Latvia’s President Egils Levits in an interview to public broadcaster LTV Rīta panorama programme.

Latvian minister shocked over situation with orphans in the country

Latvia’s Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča is unpleasantly surprised with institutions’ and municipalities’ opposition towards orphaned children ending up in a family-like environment, saying it’s an «inconceivable situation».

No measles’ vaccine for child? 2 500-euro fine planned in Germany

As Germany seeks to curb an increase in measles’ cases, the federal government has passed a plan of mandatory vaccinations for children and school staff and a fine of up to 2 500 euros for lacking a vaccine.

Latvia commences procurement for public transport services in next decade

A procurement process has been announced for public transport services in Latvia for 2021-2030, as confirmed by Road Transport Directorate.

Newest comments