Day 3 - 29.11.2014 - 17:00 - Discrimination -

GenSep Report: “I am not a guest, I am a citizen of this country”


The family of Margarita Dragile lives in Latvia for more than 100 years. From an ethnic point of view she comes from Russia – just like one quarter of the Latvian population. A parallel society?

Margarita Dragile strikes up the conversation quite extraordinary. Before answering the first question she says: „I want to clarify that I am not a guest in this country. I am a citizen of this country. All my ancestors were born here.“ In contrast to the 250 000 non-citizens, Margarita is agitating for, she is not a non-citizen. She has got a Latvian passport and for this reason she has got the same rights just like every other Latvian citizen. However she appeals as if she’s feeling as a foreigner.



Margaritas Grand-Grand-Dad (r.) 1930 in Riga. Photo: private


Latvia has got the largest population of Russian speaking inhabitants in the world. 26 percent of the Latvians are Russians. During the occupation of the soviet union Latvia experienced a Russification. Nowadays Riga, Latvias capital, speaks half Latvian, half Russian, even though the Russian language had been refused becoming the second official language. Although this problem doesn’t affect Riga as much as other regions in Latvia, integration however has not been completely successfull, says Margarita. She gets involved with the Russian speaking youth organizing social projects.



Irrespective of the non-citizen issue, it seems that the ethnic barriers are still not blurred. In some situations the population lives in parallel instead of in common. The children often go to different schools, watch different TV broadcasts. And even in politics it seems that it’s not about national, social democratic or liberal attitudes but only about: Latvian or Russian.

The current governement wants to beware the latvian tradition and culture. Margarita Dragile holds the view that this circumstance will divide the society even more: ‘Since I am allowed to vote, the situation has become worse and worse. If non-citizens would have the right to vote, this coalition probably wouldn’t exist.’

Day 3 - 29.11.2014 - 16:34 - Latvia -

RT @broemse: monkeys? No! @berlindkr & @ChristophWgnr working on @gensep2014 in our hostel. At 6 we fly to Warsaw #gensep #latvia via

Day 3 - 29.11.2014 - 15:14 - Discrimination -

In Conflict! „Non-Citizens“ in Latvia

In Latvia 13 % of the population are so called non-citizens. Most of them are ethnic russians. These people aren’t citizens of Latvia or any other country. They are stateless and have no right to vote or to work in multiple jobs like in the police or as a lawyer. In our category “In Conflict” Elizabete Krivcova, the chairwoman of the “Non-Citizen-Congress” and Rihards Kols, member of the National Alliance Party, share their thoughts regarding this topic.


Elizabete Krivcova (36) (Chairwoman of the „Non-Citizen-Congress“) about the Citizen-Exam and working with the government

“Non-citizens don’t feel guilty of the former politic of Josef Stalin and The Sowjet Union. And why should they? Most of the non-citizins or their ancestors came to Latvia for work, not to fulfill political plans. But that’s what the law tells them.

The ongoing process of integration, the naturalization, works way to slow. The integration-exam is to hard for many elderly people. Younger non-citizens refuse the exam because they feel offended by it. After all they were born on Latvia.

There was an initiative for a referundum about the citizenship-question. But the Central Election Comission of Latvia forbid the referendum. Unfortunatly the court confirmed this decision. The government does not want to solve the non-citizen-problem. They try to keep the topic down and to forget about it.

Our organisation tries to find new ways to discuss the intends of the non-citizens. But even if we contact the government with letters written in Latvian, they only answer us: Go, learn the Latvian language first.”

Processed with VSCOcam


Rihards Kols (29) (National Alliance Party) about integration and the Non-Citizen-Congress

“We can’t force the Non-Citizens to go to the naturalization and to integrate. But we have set everything for them to become a Latvian citizen, to share our values and traditions. Within a month you can get a citizenship. I can’t imagine why they won’t do it.

I Think the „Non-Citizen-Congress“ are not even an official organisation. Why don’t they register as a NGO? Where do they get their money from? Maybe they use private bank-accounts to get money from Kremlin. A lot of people among the non-citizens live in a very different interpretation of history. Many of the monority-right-fighters never aknowledged or approved that Latvia was occupied by Russia for decades. Also they publicly discuss Latgale (Region in East Latvia) becoming independent. This is a security issue. Those kind of activists are dividing the society. They make like 2 or 3 percent of the Non-Citizens, but they think that the mojority of the minority thinks like they do.”

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset

Day 2 - 28.11.2014 - 12:09 - Latvia -

RT @broemse: Margarita: “I don’t want to be a state employer in #Latvia because I don’t feel that it is a good place for the russian minority.” #gensep

Day 2 - 28.11.2014 - 11:47 - Latvia -

Margarita: “I don’t want to be a state employer in #Latvia because I don’t feel that it is a good place for the russian minority.” #gensep via

Day 1 - 27.11.2014 - 20:59 - Latvia -

RT @ChristophWgnr: First day in #latvia is over. Most of the non-citizens fear to give interviews. Tomorrow one does. #gensep #discrimination via

Day 1 - 27.11.2014 - 16:12 - Latvia -

@ekrivcova says: “Non-citizens are not allowed to vote in #latvia and the government doesn’t want to solve the problem” #gensep via