Moscow concerned over position of Russian-speaking population in Latvia and Estonia, and in some Central Asian countries

Moscow is concerned over the position of the Russian-speaking population in Latvia and Estonia, and also in some countries of Central Asia. This is what the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Alexander Yakovenko has said in an interview with RIA Novosti in connection with the forthcoming meeting of Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov with OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Rolf Ekeus.

According to Yakovenko, "the Russian concern is based on the assessment of the real situation by the residents of Latvia and Estonia themselves, and by many authoritative human rights organizations." The Russian diplomat stressed that "democratically minded representatives of the political circles in the Baltic countries also speak openly about these problems." Yakovenko pointed out that "the presence of serious problems in the field of human rights in Latvia was confirmed by the decisions of the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg." This refers to the case of Tatiana Slivenko, which involved discrimination, the violation of the right to free movement, and the abuse of the right of respect for individual and family life. Yakovenko also cited the case of Ingrida Podkolzina who had been denied the right to run for parliament under the pretext that she did not have a sufficient command of the Latvian language.

Apart from that, the diplomat said that the Russian side intended to discuss with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities the problem of migration of the Russian-speaking population from the countries of Central Asia. In the opinion of Yakovenko, the departure of our compatriots from the region is linked not only with economic difficulties. "Not infrequently it is conditioned by the direct and purposeful ousting of the Russian language from social, political and cultural life and the Russian-speaking population from the labor market in some countries of that region," Yakovenko said.

The facts of the manifestation of religious extremism and intolerance also play their role in that process," the diplomat said. "Russia is convinced that it is necessary to actively oppose these manifestations by way of uniting the efforts of all interested parties," the spokesman of the Russian foreign Ministry concluded.

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