My first interviewee was Yuri Petropavlovsky, and ethnic Russian and one of the most politically active non-citizen of Latvija, especially since the education reform’s protests in the country in 2004.
Yuri was born in Riga (3 March 1955) and went for naturalisation (a process that coincided with the education reform), but his political life, we can say, cost him the Latvian passport.
He has been involved in politics for quite a long time now; he is member of ‘For Human Rights in United Latvia‘ party and he even tried to run for Riga’s mayor few years ago. However, he could not take part in the city’s elections, for the Government of Latvija revoked his citizenship after he says he was considered “disloyal” to the country.
He brought his case before both national and international courts.
In Latvija I have been told that the actions of the Government are outside the jurisdictions of the court, so I decided to take my case to the International Court for Human Rights in 2006. Europe should pronounce about my case as early as next year,” says Yuri.
“But to be honest, I appealed for my case and now what? Europe does not care about non-citizens in Latvija.”
Yuri studied Art and Design in Riga and spent some years of his professional life working for a range of private businesses. At the moment however, he is currently working as an analyst and writing for different Russian media outlets, as well as hosting a radio programme every week in a Russian radio station in Riga.
He did not take part in the referendum for Latvija’s independence in the early 1990s, something a lot of non-citizens did do, and while he waits for the resolution of his case, he assures me that current naturalisation rates, which are at one of its lowest points ever, show that something has changed among non-citizens in Latvija…. What is it?
Stay tuned for the final output to find out more!