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Media: Latvia may deport more than 1,000 Russians for failing to meet residence requirements

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 18, 2023 11:30 AM 2 min read
The flag of Latvia (Gints Ivuskans/AFP via Getty Images)
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Latvia is considering expelling more than 1,000 Russians for failing to comply with the necessary steps to extend their temporary residence permit, Latvian news outlet Delfi reported on Dec. 18, citing comments made on television by Maira Roze, the head of the country's Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

The Latvian parliament passed an amendment in 2022 tightening residency rules for Russian citizens in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Russians living in Latvia are now required to apply for permanent residence and pass a basic-level Latvian language test.

Around 24% of Latvia's population are ethnic Russians, some of whom have Latvian citizenship, and some Russian citizens. Latvia also has a considerable population (9.3%) of non-citizens, the majority of whom are Russian. They can obtain Latvian citizenship through a naturalization process.

Latvian authorities sent letters to over 3,000 Russian citizens, telling them that they would have to leave Latvia as they failed to register for the residency and the language test.

The Baltic country, which has lived under Soviet dominion for a large part of the 20th century, has also recently intensified its policy of de-Sovietization and de-Russification of the public sphere.

A law passed in September aims to phase out Russian and other minority languages as a language of instruction in schools by 2025.

Russia has labeled such policies in Latvia and other Baltic countries as "Russophobia."

Latvian authorities have defended the language policy, saying that it simply asks residents to achieve a low level of knowledge of the national language and that there was ample time offered for residents to learn it.

Investigation: Italian company makes sure Russian war machine has the steel it needs
Editor’s note: This story was published by the Dutch investigative outlet Follow The Money on Dec. 14. The Kyiv Independent contributed reporting to this story and is republishing it with permission. Key facts: * After Russia seized Crimea and unleashed the war in the Donbas in 2014, the Italian…

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