Category Archives: Ethnicity

Soviet Legacy

Non-citizen passport

So here it comes, this is the final TV documentary I have been working on during the last couple of months. As I promised, I uploaded it on Vimeo (it is divided in two parts) so you can watch it any time you want.

However, I have protected it by password. So if you want to check it out, just post your email address in the comments and I will be sending the password to your inbox as soon as I can.

As a sort of intro for newcomers to the blog – and pitch as well – the text below;

Soviet Legacy

Latvia regained its independence in August 1991 and the new elected government updated the country’s citizenship law one month later, creating a new status for the former USSR citizens.
Twenty years later, the country still has 325,000 inhabitants who hold an alien passport, what limits their democratic and social rights.

Non-citizens have been offered the possibility to acquire Latvian citizenship, but most of them just refuse it for different reasons.

Who is to blame for having such a special situation within a EU state member? Is it democratically fair for a state member to have such a large community of people whose rights are limited? Why do not non-citizens apply for the Latvian passport?

I analyze the whole situation in this documentary. Check it out!

Soviet legacy (Part One)

Soviet legacy (Part Two)

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Non-citizenship; a personal battle

Non-citizens and their rights has been one of Tatjana Ždanoka‘s longstanding fights at the international arena.

Non-citizens were included in the Schengen Treaty in 2007 thanks in part to her work. That meant the end of visa applications in order to travel freely throughout Europe. A year later, the same conditions were granted by Russia.

In this short clip, she talks about international assistance and EU/Russia‘s role on the subject of non-citizenship. She points out the lack of commitment from the latter to help out those who have been trying to keep Russian language and culture alive in the Baltic country.

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“Non-citizenship is an artificial controversy”

Tom Schmit is a management teacher, communications consultant and long-term resident. He was born in Buffalo, New York, but moved to Latvia 12 years ago.

He speaks on the issue of non-citizenship in Latvia and the naturalisation procedure – comparing it to the one in the US. He also offers his take on the subject of politics and non-citizens in the Baltic country.

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Language, a sensitive issue

Svetlana Djačkova, researcher at the Latvian Centre for Human Rights, on language and integration in the Baltic Country and Latvian language proficiency.

To watch more bits of this interview, stay tuned for the final documentary!

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Non-citizens label

Nowadays there are some 325,000 people who hold a non-citizen / alien passport in Latvija. There used to be between 700 and 800 thousand when the USSR collapsed.

When talking about the subject, we tend to generalise and put all them under the same umbrella, but after 20 years they have become a very heterogeneous group, according to professor and labour market researcher Mihails Hazans – I could say a lot about him, but I’d rather let you have a look at the link.

Naturalisation, migration movements,… I am not going to upload much videos until the whole piece is done, but I had such an interesting and profitable chat with him that I wanted to share the joy with you all.

Stay tuned to find out more about this interview!

PS. The interview was recorded in an area called Pumpuri, which belongs to the city of Jūrmala. I would strongly recommend to spend some time there to anyone who seeks quiet spaces and open spaces where to go for long walks.

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The Last Prisoners of the Cold War

When working on a story, we journalist try always to bring them to life by showing their human side. That means that whatever the issue is, there is always someone affected by that, so we tend to use it to make our output more attractive and appealing to the audience.

That is something every wannabe journo learns from an early stage. Hence we should never forget about that in our journey.

Behind all the legal and historical words that we have been writing about up to this moment, there are lots of stories of human beings affected by all that.

A good compilation of experiences, memories and statement is ‘The Last Prisoners of the Cold War‘.

Miroslavs MitrofanovsAleksandrs GamaļejevsViktors JolkinsVladimirs BuzajevsAleksejs Dimitrovs and Tatjana Ždanoka (you will read more about her in following posts) have contributed to this moving publication.

I could keep writing about the book, but I would rather recommend you to spend some of your spare time reading it.

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Demographics of Latvia

Children in Latvia's national costume (Latvia Institute)

Latvia is a multicultural country. The statistics released by the Government at the beginning of 2011 prove it.

Below you can find the largest groups of citizens living in the Baltic country by January 1 2011.

 

Latvia: 1,854,684

Non-citizens: 326,735

Russia: 36,638

Lithuania: 3,754

Ukraine: 3,198

Belarus: 2,035

Germany: 1,174

Estonia: 948

Bulgaria: 591

US: 533

Poland: 509

 

Latvijas iedzīvotāju sadalījums pēc valstiskās piederības (full description of the division of Latvia’s society)

 

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