Hypocrisy check #2
Latvians double down on the soft ethnic cleansing of their Russian minorities, and the EU is silent.
Latvia, a model democracy. Source: Freedom House
“Why did Latvia remove the ability of their 40% Russian speaking population to get education in their mother tongue? Is this a crime against humanity?”
- Quora question, cca. 2018
Lots of reasonable Latvian answers, that, let’s say in Britain, even UKIP would find too radically nationalist to stand by. But Latvia is not Britain.
I highly recommend reading them, you learn a lot of recent Latvian history, and with a sensitive eye, you can clearly see the struggle session Latvians must have had trying to sugarcoat the anachronistic ethnonationalism that they wish to pursue in our day and age, as they came with well-prepared, soothing answers, aimed at a foreign audience.
Thanks for reading A Grain of Paprika! Subscribe for free!
Well, that was 2018. Since then, Latvia moved forward. Recently, they had elections, government reelected. Right-wing, nationalist, clearly representing what the majority wants. Good for them!
With this reelection comes the mandate to push the derussification even further. Looking back at that 2018 thread, reading those then-reasonable Latvian answers to why it’s totally not ethnic cleansing, did you really think it will only be just the tip? It never stops with being just the tip, and thanks to the current war, all breaks are off, they can shove it as deep as they want to.
Latvia to end classes in Russian in primary schools by 2025
Latvia's parliament has agreed to end the teaching of classes in Russian in the country's pre-primary and primary schools by 2025. Teaching in Russian will be gradually phased out from next year, in both public and private education.
Until now, members of the Russian minority in the Baltic country could attend special schools where certain subjects could be taught in Russian. That will soon no longer be possible. From now on they will have to rely on extracurricular classes in Russian. The Russian minority makes up about a third of the approximately two million inhabitants of Latvia.
- September 30, 2022
Now I do have sympathy for the Latvian nationalist: about third of your country being a different ethnic group, that’s not good. If multiculturalism worked as advertised, it would be a blessing, but all it creates is friction, and when times get rough, always leads to nasty stuff. (QED I guess.)
I know it sucks, and I can see you want to at least assimilate them, or make existence uncomfortable enough for them to leave. As a sovereign country, as ugly as this process is, as far as I’m concerned, you have the right to do so. You can also become Baltic North Korea, if you chose to be so. As long as you are a sovereign country, be what you want to be!
But you are not. You are in the EU. With us.
It’s not compulsory to be in the Great Humanist Project called the European Union. You want to go Balkan, go Balkan, or Baltic, but while you do so, you can’t blast Ode to Joy from the speakers as the cattle cars pull into the station to get rid of your minority problem.
Or to be more precise, you’re not supposed to be able to. Apparently, you can. Brussels doesn’t mind it. Washington, or in this case, one of its appendage, Freedom House, sees no problem with it. You’re a model democracy! (Enjoying your 51/60 civil liberties, Latvian minorities?)
So, your Russians are like the Croatian Serbs in 1995: free to abuse, free to deport, they’re the baddies, and Big Brother, usual defender of human rights, both on the continent and on the other side of the pond, doesn’t seem care. At least, the Western one, the Eastern might get angry, but that should work itself out, fingers crossed.
What about Hungary and minorities?
Hungary, partly for its own selfish reasons relating to the Hungarian diaspora, partly because of our big, paprika-fuelled, good heart, is a champion of minority rights, and has been for the past 32 years.To be fair, we’re not facing the same proportions that the Baltics states do, but credit, to us, is due. Domestically, open malignancy to any minority by any ruling government is unprecedented, and when it is suggested by the far-right, ultranationalist fringe, there’s a uniparty consensus condemning it, both Left and Right. (In fact, the most disenfranchised minority group is our very own diaspora, being under constant assault by part of our Left, for reasons.)
We need to be exemplary in order to call out abuses against our own in our neighborhood. This creates a unique perspective, one where we’re fully confident that the way we treat our minorities is as spotless as it can be, and makes us very sensitive to abuses elsewhere, not to mention any hypocrisy surrounding it.
Now, as we’re painted as not a democracy, but a hybrid regime (whatever that is), an electoral autocracy (lol), and all the curse words and isms you can imagine, a place where laws have no effect (don’t test it though), being berated by both Brussels and Washington, while Latvia is conducting open, ethnic nationalist cleansing of its minorities, we wait, with almost no hope, that they might also get a reprimand, as we would. Maybe, just a little one?
In the mean time, this is our state of democracy, according to the US State Department:
What about Gypsies? Fam, if there was any law targeting them in a negative way, you would know about it. John Oliver would know about it. We’re thoroughly scrutinized. Hungary has a Western rectal probe up its ass 24/7.
See the plebiscite in 2004 also featured in the Hungarian Post-Socialist Power Cheat Sheet, and explained in footnote #27