Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 221

Addressing the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee (which deals with human rights), Russia’s UN ambassador, Sergei Lavrov, denounced Estonia and Latvia for "blatant violations of human rights" of their respective "Russian-speakers" and for failure to comply with OSCE standards in that area. Lavrov announced that Russia will shortly submit to the General Assembly a draft resolution on human rights violations in the two countries.

During a visit to Latvia, meanwhile, the first deputy foreign minister of Belarus, Valery Tsyapkalo, publicly accused Latvia of "violating the human rights" of ethnic Belarusans. Tsyapkalo conceded that "democratization" of Latvia could eventually solve the problem. Both Lavrov and Tsyapkalo targeted legislation in Estonia and Latvia that falls short of naturalizing their respective settler populations en masse. (BNS, Interfax, November 22)

The recently elected chairman of Latvia’s parliament happens to be listed as an ethnic Belarusan. The Belarus embassy in Riga has recently been picketed by local ethnic Belarusans protesting against president Aleksandr Lukashenko’s dictatorial ambitions. At the UN General Assembly, the U.S. last week signaled that it would oppose any resolution that would target the Baltic states for alleged violations of human rights.

Government Crisis in Estonia.