According to Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov–speaking in Denmark at the conclusion of a session of the Council of Baltic Sea Countries–the changes to Latvia’s citizenship law are merely “cosmetic” and “[fall] short of compliance with international recommendations.” In Moscow, Foreign Ministry officials similarly dismissed the changes as “far from adequate” and “just corrections of detail.” Primakov and the other officials, moreover, stressed that citizenship is only one of “many areas” in which Latvia must end “discrimination of the Russian population.” The Russian officials asserted that their demands are in line with “the recommendations of international organizations”–a reference to European Union and OSCE officials. (Itar-Tass, RIA, ORT, RTR, June 23 and 24)
The changes just enacted by the Latvian parliament (see the Monitor, June 23) enable most Soviet-era settlers and their offspring to acquire Latvian citizenship easily and swiftly. Moscow’s instant move to dismiss these concessions presages a continuation of the pressure on Latvia. The focus will probably shift to language, labor and electoral legislation, harnessing human rights arguments to geopolitical goals, and indirectly targeting the other Baltic states as well.
GAZPROM CHIEF FINDS IT DIFFICULT TO COLLECT UKRAINIAN DEBTS.