Latvia goes to polls amid growing rift between Latvian majority and Russian minority

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VILNIUS, Oct. 1 (Reuters) – Latvians will vote in parliamentary elections on Saturday, with polls predicting Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins’ centre-right New Unity party will win the most votes, allowing him to continue his coalition with the conservative National Alliance.

A victory for Karins could widen a growing rift between Latvia’s majority and Latvia’s Russian-speaking minority over their place in society.

Karins, the first Latvian head of government to survive a full four-year term, is taking advantage of the country’s aggressive stance against Russia amid widespread national anger over Moscow’s invasion of Moscow.

The election campaign was dominated by questions of national identity and security concerns, while pressing issues such as rising energy costs and high inflation were largely brushed aside.

Karins told Reuters on Tuesday that he believes the war in Ukraine has consolidated his NATO and European Union nation of 1.9 million, saying that if he is re-elected, he would integrate the Russian minority — a quarter of the population. by raising the country’s children in the Latvian language.

“We focus all our attention on the youth, to ensure that no matter what language is spoken at home, the child grows up with all the benefits of knowing our language and culture,” he said.

Before Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what it calls a “special military operation,” tens of thousands of Russian speakers in Latvia gathered around a monument in Riga every May 9 to commemorate the Soviet victory in World War II.

Their gatherings were banned after the invasion and the 84-meter-tall structure in the center of the capital was crushed with a bulldozer on orders from the government – which is dominated by ethnic Latvians and would rather preserve the memories of being part of the former Soviet Union. Union burial. Union until 1991.

Popular TV broadcasts from Russia have been banned and the state language commission has proposed to rename a central street in Riga in memory of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Karins’ government has put forward plans to switch all education to Latvian and to quickly abolish education in Russian.

The social-democratic Harmony Party, traditionally supported by Latvia’s Russian-speaking minority, received 19.8% of the vote in the 2018 elections, becoming the largest opposition party in parliament. However, the latest research shows 7.3% support for Harmony.

(Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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