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Discrimination against Russian-speaking population in Europe discussed at OSCE

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Discrimination against Russian-speaking population in Europe discussed at OSCE


29.05.2020

Photo credit: OSCE / Curtis Budden

Discrimination of the Russian-speaking population in European countries became the main topic of the speech of a member of the Public Chamber Svetlana Kuznetsova at the OSCE meeting.

According to Kuznetsova, the same question was raised two years ago when she spoke about discrimination against the Russian-speaking population regarding the right to study in their native language in Europe. In response, Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn and Kiev were quick to assure that there was no reason for concern. They called the problem far-fetched and claimed that the Russian-speaking population allegedly misinterpreted the laws adopted in these countries.
 
Nevertheless, the tendency of discriminating against the Russian-speaking population continues. One of the striking examples is the law on kindergartens adopted by the Latvian parliament. All municipal pre-school educational institutions of the country must provide instruction in the state language. Kindergartens will be obliged to “provide support” to children studying the Latvian language, especially to those for whom it is not native. The adopted amendments should enter into force this year. Earlier, parents of preschool children called on parliamentarians to submit for wide discussion a draft law on the creation of Latvian groups in Russian kindergartens.

Kuznetsova expressed confidence that Riga had once again proved that the official authorities treat the Russian-speaking inhabitants of the country as “second-class” people whose interests are not taken into account.

The representative of the Public Chamber added that a similar situation could be repeated in Lithuania. Starting from 2023, 60% of the educational process is planned to be transferred into the state language in schools of national minorities.

Last spring, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko adopted a law, which prescribes the exclusive use of the Ukrainian language in almost all areas of the country's life. A violation of the law is now considered to be “deliberate disregard for the Ukrainian language in public space”.

Kuznetsova believes that the linguistic restrictions and the frequent facts of desecration of monuments to Russian soldiers, attempts to rewrite history phenomena have the same nature. They cannot but cause concern, as they ultimately lead to exacerbation of conflicts on a national basis, the expert summed up.

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