Tag Archives: Human Rights

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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Russia’s interference on non-citizens

A session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva

It has been twenty years since the USSR collapsed and its former citizens in the Baltic countries were given the status of n0n-citizens. To many, they are stateless, but by definition in Latvian law they are not. However, their rights and situation have been subject of controversy between Russia and Latvia, especially since the Baltic country joined the EU in 2004.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who addressed  to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva recently, has claimed that non-citizens’ situation in Latvia and Estonia is “shameful”.

Mr. Lavrov said:

The task of ensuring the human rights of national minorities demands greater attention, especially in the context of such shameful phenomenon as the chronic problem of statelessness in Latvia and Estonia. It is necessary to achieve full implementation of the relevant recommendations of the Council of Europe, OSCE and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.


In Latvia some 350,000 people (about 15% of its population) are non-citizens and hold an “alien passport”. The vast majority of these are ethnic Russians (therefore Russian speakers). In Estonia the situation is different, for only 100,000 (10%) are non-citizens.

Both Latvian and Estonian Foreign Ministers have responded to Lavrov’s criticism. They stressed the importance of their programs and reminded him of the “domestic” character of the matter.

Latvian Foreign Minister Girts Kristovskis said:

Latvian legislation and the existing regulation on the matters of national minorities fully comply with the standards of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and UN, and is a subject that belongs to Latvia’s domestic affairs. Every non-citizen in Latvia is offered an opportunity to naturalise. However, to do that or not is a choice left up to each individual

Latvia and Estonia used to have close ties with Russia since they broke free in 1991. Ever since, Moscow has spotlighted the minority issue frequently. Both Baltic countries have encouraged their respective non-citizens to naturalise through different tests such as language and history.

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