Back then, more than 700,000 people acquired a new status; non-citizens of Latvia. Nowadays, 14.6% of the Baltic country’s population (325,000) still holds a non-citizen passport.
Nils Muiznieks, director of the Advanced Social and Political Research Institute of the University of Latvia and
former Minister for Social Integration, does not hesitate to say that the current situation is “a contradictory picture.
“In the early 90s when the international community got involved here, Bosnia was the reference. Everyone was afraid of violence and mass expulsions. It did not happen and that was a success.
“But the law on citizenship was a controversial issue that almost prevented Latvia joining the Council for Europe, was monitored by international bodies and was highly contested by Russia.”
Due to the international pressure, the Latvian government acted. Lots have been done ever since and some important steps were taken in the previous years to join the EU.
Some 133,000 people have naturalised during this time, but a large number of non-citizens have not “overcome this psychological barrier” and seemed to have got accustomed to their status.
Nils added; “I think non-citizenship in Latvia is still an issue and it will be soon prove by some political parties. However, once we joined the clubs – EU and NATO – international pressure to sort the problem disappeared and therefore there is no political interest within the country.”
More about Nils Muižnieks and the interview in the final documentary!! Don’t miss it out!