03 December 2012, 10:57
Patriarch Kirill urges Latvia to solve the problem of "non-citizens" and improve the status of the Russian language
Moscow, December 3, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia believes that the solution of the problem of "non-citizens" and the status of the Russian language in Latvia will lead to growth of international prestige of the country and will strengthen the social accordance inside it.
At the meeting with the mayor of Riga Nils Ushakov on Friday in Moscow the Patriarch reminded that 44% of residents of Latvia consider Russian to be their native language, however, the authorities think it foreign.
"This is a unique case in the world practice, I do not know another. And, of course, until the situation changes, we will express our concern, because this concern is covered by all the existing legal documents, regulating the use of language," the Patriarch said.
According to him the same problem concerns the rights of many people living in Latvia, who are still called "non-citizens". "This is a wound on our body, and, while the wound hurts, we will never forget it," stressed Patriarch Kirill.
He expressed his doubt that the solution of the language problem weaken the Latvian identity and causing any conflicts. "On the contrary, it will promote the international prestige of Latvia, the sympathies of the nearest neighbours, and, undoubtedly, will contribute to the strengthening of social peace and stability in the society," the Patriarch declared.
According to the data of the Latvian Management on Affairs of citizenship and immigration at the beginning of 2012 in Latvia there were 312 thousand. "non-citizens", the most - 205 thousand - Russian nationality. Most of them are 49-65 years.
"Non-citizens" of Latvia may not affect on the political situation in the country, because they can not be voters and to hold positions in the civil service.