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Zhdanok openly calls to set Russian language as official

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUInspired by the presidency over the European Union Council, Latvia should address the matter of linguistic discrimination and segregation of residents in politics by providing necessary rights to non-citizens and recognizing Russian language as one of the official languages, said MEP Tatyana Zhdanok during a meeting of the European Parliament this Wednesday, January 14th.

The politician said this would only benefit Latvia during its presidency and help increase cultural and linguistic diversity in Europe. During the EP meeting dedicated to Latvia’s presidency, Zhdanok described the possible benefits different communities gain from living together.

Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma also held a speech in the European Parliament. During her speech, Straujuma mentioned that Latvia took on presidency during a complicated time. The politician especially emphasized that residents of Europe are interested in results that improve their daily lives. With that, Latvia wishes to work on the introduction of priorities previously accepted by the EU. At the same time, Straujuma added that it is no less important to address the rising challenges.

Latvia has set three main priorities for its presidency – competitive and digital European Union that is involved in global processes.

According to Straujuma, the majority of work will be pooled into strengthening competitiveness and improving economic growth, structural reforms, fiscal responsibility and investments. Those will be the three whales that will serve as foundation for Europe’s growth.


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  1. Tomas says:

    Tatyana Zhdanok please by a single tickets to Russia if you want to speak Russian as your official language, in Latvia we speak Latvian.

  2. Linda says:

    What a stupid person she is. Perhaps I should insist on my host country making my native language the only language to be spoken. Go elsewhere Tatyana Zhdanok – postcard from Russia.

  3. Neutral says:

    30% of Latvians happen to have Russian as their mother tongue.
    Granting Russian status as a second official language would be a sign of respect to them. I believe it would be in Latvians’ own interest to do so.

    My biggest fear is that more Russian speaking Latvians will feel alienated, thus feel closer ties with Russia than with Latvia and the West.

    Why not soften up a bit? Say that Latvian remains the State language, while Russian and English are granted official status. Official status could mean that all laws should be translated to these languages, and contracts and official correspondence could be in either of these languages.

    • jj says:

      I agree with Neutral.

      Keep Latvian as the state language, but grant official status to Russian (and maybe English as well). It could only help ease tensions without harming Latvian.

      The Latvian language needs preserving, and provided children continue to be taught in Latvian it will gradually become more dominant of its own accord.

      • Linda says:

        as Latvia is in the European Union, the languages of the union should be included in the same band as Russian, if you are granting official status to a former occupier. Just think of the work involved in translating multiple times … linguists will be as wealthy as Putin. And those in favour of this granting to a former occupier are opening the gates …to soviet union x 2 also a can of worms for the other Baltic States. Thanks a bunch Latvia … divider again as in 1939.

        • Neutral says:

          Sure, the occupation was a tragedy and the number of Russian-speakers in Latvia would surely haven been less had it not been for Soviet.

          But isn’t this is a situation where to make lemonade out of lemons? Both Hong Kong and Singapore kept English as an official language, and both are today among the wealthiest countries on earth. Switzerland is another example of a prosperous multilingual country.

          All these countries have huge costs translating to all official languages, but I believe the benefit (in terms of attracting businesses, investments, jobs etc) are ten times higher.

          • Linda says:

            You can’t compare Russia to Switzerland. Russia has insisted that Russian be the official language in Ukraine, Moldova and elsewhere in their customs union from which Moldova and Ukraine have stepped back. Switzerland doesn’t do this. They see an advantage being multi-lingual but Russia would seek to be the only one and only one. That’s the difference! I’m all in favour of multi-languages, my father spoke and wrote in seven and I just wish I had that gift, I’ll have to stick to three and Russian is NOT one of them.

  4. Ilmars says:

    This was the subject of a recent referendum and it was convincingly defeated so it wont be happening any time soon.
    Referring to “the occupation as a tragedy” overlooks events happening in the Ukraine today. There have been threats made against the Baltic states in the russian parliament.
    The reason for the prosperity of hongkong and singapore was they kept the british rule of law. There is no such law in russia – “anything is possible in russia”. Political opponents are jailed on trumped up charges, journalists are murdered etc , and until russia adopts civilized norms of behavior, it should be the subject of sanctions.
    The bear has not changed its spots.

    • Neutral2 says:

      Agree with Neutral. Very well said. Small countries like Latvia needs to be very open and adaptive to survive. If you ask me, the depopulation of Latvia is a much more concern than Russia. In 24 years from 2.8 million to less than 1,9 million and no change seems imminent.

      I believe Switzerland, S’pore and HK are rich because they are very liberal, both economic and social. Because of that, they accept “foreign” languages as official. It’s the culture and mentality. Even Finland accepts Sweden as an official language, even though Sweden occupied Finland for a long time.

      After all, we speak to communicate, not only to preserve a culture.

    • Linda says:

      well said Ilmars.

      • Brian says:

        The reason Putin uses as an excuse for invading any country is that the Ŗussian Speakers” are being treated badly by the non-Russian government of that country.

        All Latvia needs is more Russian speakers !

        More Russian speakers equals a higher potential of an excuse for an invasion.

        Those that are pushing this change are doing so for Russia, not Latvia.

        Russian needs to be an official language of Russia, not Latvia.

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