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.”
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.”