Moscow says Latvian move to ban Russian language 'discriminatory'

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says initiative to ban Russian language at workplace affects half of country's population.

Moscow says Latvian move to ban Russian language 'discriminatory'

Russia on Friday slammed as "discriminatory" Latvia's initiative to ban the Russian language at workplaces, saying the former member of the Soviet Union turned humiliation of ethnic minorities into a state policy.

In a statement, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said a draft law, that is being prepared in this connection, contradicts international rules.

"Such absurd, discriminatory initiatives, affecting the interests of almost half of the population of Latvia and going against numerous recommendations of relevant international structures, have long been a shameful practice," she said.

"In this Baltic country, linguistic genocide and humiliation of ethnic minorities, whose representatives are considered second-class people by Latvian authorities, have been elevated to the rank of state policy."

Zakharova added: "Unfortunately, the European 'democratic' structures are shamefully silent."

Russian has a status of a foreign language in the Baltic country, which shares a border with Russia. About 40% of Latvia's 1.9 million people are Russian-speaking.

Latvia is a member of both EU and NATO, and has condemned Russia's war on Ukraine, which began in February.

Distancing itself from Russia and its past, it has taken down a number of Soviet monuments over the years, the latest one being a concrete obelisk that was the centerpiece of a monument commemorating the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany in the capital Riga.

Hüseyin Demir

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