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17 Jan, 2024 00:48

EU state's expulsion of elderly Russians a ‘security threat’ – Putin

Latvia has announced the deportation of pensioners from the country
EU state's expulsion of elderly Russians a ‘security threat’ – Putin

Deportations of ethnic Russians, in many cases elderly retirees, from Latvia and other Baltic states is a serious matter threatening the security of Russia, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting with municipal leaders in Moscow, Putin linked the actions of Baltic states with how the Ukrainian government treated Russian speakers after the US-backed coup in 2014, which triggered the Donbass conflict.

“In 2014 there was also a coup d’etat and the declaration of Russians in Ukraine as a non-titular nation. This was followed by a whole series of other decisions that nullified and actually led to what is now happening in Latvia and in other Baltic republics, when Russian people are simply dumped across the border,” Putin said.

You see, these are very serious things that directly affect the security of our country.

In 2022, the Latvian parliament adopted a law that all Russian nationals must obtain a certificate proving their command of the Latvian language by September 1, 2023, or face deportation.

Latvia confirmed on Tuesday that it wants to deport 985 Russians for either not taking or failing the language test. One of the people affected by the order is a 72-year-old Russian woman from the town of Liepaja, who could not pass the test because she has been visually impaired since childhood, according to the Russian Embassy in Riga. 

Around 36% of Latvia’s residents consider Russian their mother tongue. Significant populations of Russian-speakers also exist in Estonia and Lithuania – former Baltic republics of the Soviet Union that declared independence in 1991 and have since joined the EU and NATO.

All three have sought to disenfranchise ethnic Russians, demanding loyalty oaths and qualification tests. After Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine in 2022, their governments rushed to support Kiev and banned all displays of Russian symbols as “supporting aggression.” The ban was later extended to celebrations of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in WWII.