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Referendum as the construction tool of “the Latvian Latvia”

The national referendum is planned on February 18, 2012 in Latvia on which the question on increase of the status of the Russian language to the level of the state one is taken out. The ruling elite calls the Lettish part of the population to come on the referendum, to vote against еру introduction of the second state language and by that to show to the Russians their “present” place in the society. It means to show that the Russians are the people of the second sort. The appeals of the ruling to bring the Russians down a peg or two wear the extremely hysterical form in spite of the fact that the possibility to change the norm of the constitution concerning the status of the Russian language on a referendum completely is absent because of small number of the Russian citizens. What is the sense of the referendum and what is the reason of so inadequate behavior of the ruling elite?

It is necessary to address to the history of the country and to understand the essence of “the Russian matter” arisen in it twenty years ago for understanding of deep sense of a forthcoming referendum.

The history origin of “the Russian matter”

After the disintegration of the USSR the power in the Second Latvian republic was grasped by the Lettish national-communist nomenclature. It has proved the legitimacy of the board by means of the building concept of “the Lettish Latvia”. The nomenclature elite has adopted the post-war Lettish intelligentsia’s ideology of creation of ethnically pure society which has come back from the West. This emigrant intelligentsia actively cooperated with Nazis t in the days of war and that is why has carefully kept and brought the national socialist ideals to home connected the Russophobic and the anti-Russian installations with them.

The new ruling class initially assumed to conduct the building of “The Lettish Latvia” in two basic directions. Firstly, he wanted to force out the considerable part of the Great Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Poles, Lithuanians and Jews compulsorily from the country, whom they have named all the Russians for simplicity. Secondly, he intended to spend the assimilation of the remained foreigners through compulsory imposing of the Lettish language by them, deprivation of own social institutes of maintenance of ethnic identity.
“The Russian matter” had been arisen with the beginning of realization of the building policy of “the Lettish Latvia”, that is what the ruling elite should do with “the alien” Russian population.

Two groupings were generated at once as a part of the Lettish ruling elite which had the various approaches to the decision of “the Russian matter”: national-radical and national-liberal. The first supported a fast power solution of a problem – the deportation of a considerable part of the Russians, immediate liquidation of their social institutes, the use of reprisals against the dissatisfied Russian active workers. The Lettish nationalists of the times of Ulmanis dictatorships and Nazi collaborators of the period of the Second World War were their ideal. The national-liberals offered the gradual and soft methods of foreigners’ assimilation – an interdiction of higher education in the Russian, the gradual introduction of teaching only on the Latvian in the Russian schools, the reduction of financing of establishments reproducing the Russian culture, introduction of restrictions on activity of the Russian-speaking mass-media. The liberals didn’t have own ideology and own heroes were and they willingly used the ideas created by radicals, and to say the truth, tried to give some decorative liberal elements to them.

“The migration-demographic” policy of the ruling elite


The Lettish national-radicals and national-liberals acted in the close union and continuously were in power in Latvia throughout the whole 20 years. They have managed to reach certain successes in the building of ethnically pure society during this time. So, according to official figures of the population censuses, 48, 0 % of foreigners lived in 1989 г in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic and by the end of 2010 their share has decreased on 7, 5 percentage points - to 40, 5 % in the Second Latvian republic.

So sharp decrease in a share of foreigners in the general structure of the population of the country has occurred both at the expense of their compulsory expression abroad and at the expense of creation of such social and economic conditions at which the death rate was above and the birth rate was lower, than at the Latvian population.

However, prompt reduction of number of the Latvian community became the result of such “migration-demographic” policy of the ruling elite. The data of the current account of the population fixed it badly, but the population census of 2011 has elicited this fact. According to the published preliminary results of population census in May of last year, the aggregate number of republic inhabitants was reduced for last two decades to 29 % and has reached the level of 1935. Their share in the population structure promptly approached to the share of the Russian population because of higher rates of emigration of the Latvians, than the Russians. It became the first reason of the hysteria of the ruling elite - the quantity of voices submitted pro and contra the Russian could appear equal on the referendum. For this purpose, in order not to show so tragic picture of the results of “migration-demographic” policy, so it would be necessary to the authorities to “correct” the whole year materials of the population census.

The ruling had big problems with the realization of the program of foreigners’ assimilation. The foreigners didn’t want to become the Letts at all. Therefore the ruling elite began to pursue a policy of ethnic discrimination of the Russians and to reduce them on the lowest steps of a social ladder.

Ethnocratic system of the power


The elite, which has grasped the power in Latvia in 1991, was the bureaucracy by its social status, that is the layer being on service at the state and receiving monetary contentment from it for this. The former nomenclature from the very beginning used the power for assignment of the state ownership received in management and also for extraction the personal incomes from it.

Some officials were engaged in business after misappropriation of the state enterprises. They used the political connections for reception of the state orders and grants from the budget. They put the earned money in the maintenance of pocket parties. Thus, not numerous, but very influential group of the Latvian oligarchs has appeared.

The bureaucracy and oligarchs mercilessly gathered a layer of independent small businessmen. Owing to it, the last could not develop in an independent class of national bourgeoisie which could defend the interests by the political means.
The employees also couldn’t restore the trade unions and parties after defeat of the organized working-class movement in the beginning of 90th. They have been separated and did not make a high-grade class.

But the bureaucracy has turned to the large and well organized class. It has created the parties protecting its interests, subordinated the mass-media, employed the ideologists. The officials have completely subordinated to themselves also the legislative and judicial power in the country.
For protection of the power the bureaucracy used old, but very effective tool of division and colliding various ethnic groups of the population among themselves.
The bureaucrats have proclaimed the Letts as the people possessing the natural advantages before all foreigners, the people intended to execution of imperious powers from a birth, to employment only highly skilled and highly paid work.

Foreigners have been declared by it as the people of the second sort: “invaders” who have illegally lodged in the territory of Latvia after the war, ethnos guilty of the organization of reprisals against the Latvians. This simple ideological reception has given the visibility of justice to actions of the Latvian bureaucracy on “punishment” of the Russians and has given it the mandate on carrying out of a policy of ethnic discrimination.

The great mass of the Latvians had no real social and material benefits from board of bureaucracy, however obediently participated in electoral mobilization spent by bureaucracy which passed under the slogan of struggle with mythical “Russian threat”. The leading role in the formation of such behaviour of the Lettish voters made mass media, the schools, high schools, theatres, museums which were under control of ruling elite.
The deprivation of the rights of citizenship of almost three quarters of the Russian population of republic, their transformation into so-called “non-citizens” became the basic legal tool of maintenance of firmness of the bureaucracy power. Besides the defeat in the fundamental political rights, the non-citizens have been deprived the possibility to buy the land, to supervise over banks and joint-stock companies, to serve as officials, to be persons of liberal professions. The non-citizens have been restrained at the delivery of privatization certificates, appointment of pensions, reception of grants. Thus they have been compelled to pay in full taxes and to carry out other state duties.

The officials have made the Lettish language as the second tool of power maintenance. Having using the natural advantages in possession of this language, they have forced out the foreigners from all official bodies and the enterprises, who, of course, knew it worse. Very high norms of requirements to knowledge of the Lettish language have been established for pressure rendering on the non-Letts in a private sector, the specially created commissions checked the knowledge of workers of private enterprises, fined them, demanded the dismissal from work.

The pyramidal ethno-social structure of a society was made as a result of application by bureaucracy of two given tools of ethnic discrimination in Latvia. At the top of this pyramid there were exclusively the Lettish officials and the oligarchs, lower there were the approximated persons to the power and the Lettish businessmen dependent on them, the middle class, mainly the Lettish on the structure, was under them and the social bottoms have appeared to be filled by the Russian small businessmen and employees.

This, semifeudal by the nature, the structure of society division on the closed ethno-social estates has appeared to be steady enough, though also absolutely not capable to development. It was especially brightly revealed by the world economic crisis which has burst in 2009. The falling of manufacture of gross national product, the sizes of unemployment, reduction of incomes of the population in Latvia were the most tragic in Europe. The bureaucracy escaped from revolts of the dissatisfied population only because it typed and ate the huge international credits.

In the conditions of a sharp economic crisis, the bureaucracy couldn't reconstruct the developed system of managing as it substantially was based on operation of “foreigners”. The bureaucracy also completely supervised the Latvian community and stopped any feeble efforts to carry out the society reforming. Only the oppressed in all spheres of life Russian community demanded the changes from the authorities.

The Russian community of Latvia: from fragmentation to consolidation

After coming to power in 1991, the Lettish bureaucracy has put a main blow on the Russian elite competing with it. The Russian politicians and economic workers has undergone to illegal restrictions in the rights which aren't cancelled till nowadays. The Russian intelligentsia has lost the work in connection with mass purge in the official bodies and closing of the large state enterprises. The majority of the Russians couldn't work as the persons of liberal professions in the absence of citizenship or insufficient knowledge of the Lettish language. The most active part of the Russians has directed in private business and has turned to be the businessmen. Again appeared Russian politicians have simulated the activity in a greater degree, than protected the interests of capable members of the Russian community supporting them.

Having considering the weakness of the Russian elite, the national-radicals regularly conducted campaigns directed on the further infringement of the rights of members of the Russian community. In reply to this pressure the Russians organized themselves and gave quite adequate answers. So it was, for example, in 2003-2004 when the authorities had been undertook the attempt to transfer the senior classes of the Russian schools on the Latvian language of training. The network organization Staff of protection of the Russian schools, which has organized the parents and took many ten thousand of protesting schoolboys on streets, was possible to beat off this attempt. However the Russian active, which has developed during the action, has been partly subjected to repression by the Latvian special services and partly it has appeared not capable to put the long-term objectives and to lead mass of the population behind itself.

The Lettish national-radicals have undertaken the new attempt of barefaced assimilation of the Russian in the summer of 2011. They have initiated the referendum carrying out about a teaching interdiction in native language for children at the state Russian schools. This attempt has failed, however the Russian active workers have begun the petition for referendum carrying out on giving of the status of the second state to the Russian language in Latvia. It was possible to collect the signatures of 187 thousand voters and to finish the action to the appointment of referendum date. The Lettish ruling bureaucracy didn't expect the transformation of the Russian community into the independent factor of political life and it became the second reason of hysteria development of their numbers.

“Latgale matter”

Actualization during the preparation of the language referendum of “The Russian matter” has revealed the existence of even more difficult “Latgale matter” in the country.

The Lettish bureaucracy has given the Latgalians lower position in system of social hierarchy than to the Russians. The Latgalians knew well the Lettish language and practically all were the citizens. However they could achieve some positions in machinery of state only in the case when they completely refused the ethnic identity, that is became the Letts. The Latgalian language has been declared as a dialect of the Lettish language and the Latgalians were refused to be called as the independent people. If the Russians had the schools, private high schools, theaters, newspapers, magazines, radio- and television programs, so the Latgalian population has been completely deprived of all this.

Latgale as the territory of residing of the native Latgalian population was constantly deprived at distribution of public funds, the international grants, investments. The unemployment was twice above in the region than in a whole in republic. The region population was reduced because of migration by such rates that less than in a half of a century it is threatened with a total disappearance.

The Latgalians have brought up a question on granting of the regional status to their language, however couldn't give the due public sounding to this problem yet. For this reason they have actively supported the action on petition for referendum carrying out for granting of the state status to the Russian language. Especially it was visible in Latgale at petition for carrying out of the referendum. The Latgalians soundly counted that the change of the status of the Russian will automatically allow to raise the status of the Latgalian language. Also it is the third reason of the hysteria of the Latvian bureaucracy.

The life after the referendum or how to build “the Latvian Latvia”?


The Russian community doesn't put the purpose to make the Russian language as the state one on a forthcoming referendum. It aspires to achieve the equal political and social and economic rights with the Letts by means of the referendum and also to help the Latgalians with the achievement of the equal rights with other ethnoses. It is done to build the modern political Lettish nation then which can make Latvia the democratic and prospering country. In the general view it is possible to name the concept offered by Russian community as the building program of “the Latvian Latvia”.
The appeals of the Russian community’ leaders to build the modern political nation have been heard not only by the Latgalians in common, but also by that part of the Latvians which ethnocracy couldn’t make zombie by the lamentations about ‘the Russian threat”. There was new, democratic by the nature Lettish elite which is capable to realize the difference of the general ethnic interests of the community from specific social interests of the Lettish bureaucracy.

This new elite began to formulate the new ideological senses and to lead up them to the mass of the Lettish population. Among these senses there is also a desire to adjust the dialogue with the Russian community, to solve the collected social and economic problems together with it.
In connection with these circumstances, on the one hand there is the possibility for overcoming of double community and constructions of the uniform of the Latvian nation in which the Letts, the Latgalians and the Russians would coexist on an equal footing. On the other hand, the ruling bureaucratic class has felt the approach of the monopoly end for the power and has been put before a difficult choice: to head the ripened transformations of semifeudal social structure and to keep at least a part of the power and property or violently to interrupt them and to preserve a situation for some time with the serious possibility completely to miss a situation from under control.

These two directions of events development in the Latvian society are equiprobable and their realization depends on action of set of internal and external factors of influence.

Firstly, let's consider the scenarios of events development based on independent actions of the Latvian subjects of political process.

The pessimistic scenario of the development of events

The Lettish national-radicals and now it is the party “All Latvias” and the grouping “Civil union” as a part of party “Unity” will ideologically prevail in public space and will move the national-liberals behind themselves who are presented by “Reforms Party of Zatlers”, “the Union of green and peasants” and the part of party “Unity” (the grouping “New time”). All together they will interfere with referendum carrying out in the Russian language, to forge its results, will begin the habitual campaign for mobilization of the Lettish electorate with the help of “the Russian threat”. It will lead to an exit of the Russian protest movement for legal field frameworks, on street. The Lettish radicals use any street actions of the Russians for the provocations’ organization, organize the collisions in which the human victims will be inevitable. The radical moods also will amplify in the Russian environment. The latent ethnic conflict will pass in an open phase which will last for decades and will demand for a stop of the international intervention.

The optimistic scenario of the development of events

The new democratic Lettish elite will be supported by a part of liberally adjusted officials. The radical party “All Latvias” and deputies from ruling coalition “Civil union” will be removed. The party “Consent Center” will be taken in structure of new ruling coalition which reflects the interests of the Russian part of the population to a certain extent.
The referendum under the status of the Russian language will pass without soft-pedaling of anti-Russian slogans by the ruling elite. The splashing of the ethnic conflict on the street and an exit of a situation from under control will manage to be avoided. It would be required to spend serious indulgences in operating system of ethnic discrimination.

The governmental crisis is inevitable in case of ruling elite default from dismantle of the ethnocratic systems of the power and to overcome of which it will be possible only by means of dissolution of the Seim. It will have not essential value whether the president or the initiates the people will make this step. The democratically adjusted Lettish elite will come to the power during the extraordinary elections which will be compelled to spend the ripened transformations together with party “Consent Center”.

The new ruling elite begins to realize the concept of the building of “the Latvian Latvia” alternatively to “the Lettish Latvia”. As a result, it will probably generate the uniform Latvian political nation from two ethnic communities in due course. It is still early to speak about the forms and mechanisms of construction of this nation, as the Lettish elite didn’t discuss the question on its creation.

External factors of formation of the internal political situation


After disintegration of the USSR the Latvian republic has found only the visibility of the sovereignty. It has appeared in a zone of exclusive influence of the USA in the political plan, in the economic plan – in a zone of the European Union (EU). These two leading world geopolitical players have supported the Lettish bureaucracy in the beginning 90th of ХХ century and have allowed it to build the system of ethnic discrimination in Latvia. It has been done for the purpose of a non-admission of influence revival of Russia through the numerous Russian diaspora on this strategically important territory.

Subsequently two leading geopolitical patrons invariably rendered the political and economic support to the Lettish ethnocrats, as the system created by them was not capable to independent existence and development. The world economic crisis has strongly weakened both the USA, and EU. They could not render a free help to Latvia any more and consequently have decided to replace the ruling elite on new one as it has been done in all countries of the North Africa.

The intention of the part of the ruling Lettish elite to make the ethnic conflict close by Russia, does suit neither the USA which can lose the important geopolitical territory, nor EU which can lose the given out credits, commodity market, source of raw materials and cheap labour. Therefore both international patrons will have constraining influence on the Lettish national-liberals, to push out the national- radicals from the ruling coalition and to involve the forces, supervising the Russian part of the population.

Russia behaves extremely passively at these circumstances as there is a next change of the power and the powers that be never have time for small fuss of the Lettish elite. The only thing that it is necessary to answer that Moscow also isn't interested in starting of the ethnic conflict close by itself as it hasn't found time to get experience of management by such conflicts even in the country.
It gives the grounds to assume that the events in Latvia will start to develop not according to pessimistic, but to the optimistic scenario. In this direction the American ambassador in the Latvian Republic D. Garber already actively works publicly submitting the signals to the Latvian authorities about the importance of democratic transformations in the country. EU has just suspended for three months the assignment of support from the budget for rendering of pressure upon the ruling national-liberals. And it is about the fifth part of receipts of the state budget.

The program of the Russian community actions

The Russian community should undertake all efforts that the development of events in the country has gone under the optimistic scenario. It is necessary to solve following strategic problems for this purpose.

1. To go to the referendum and to collect the maximum quantity of votes for giving to the Russian language the status of the second state one and by that to show the readiness to struggle within the limits of the existing national legislation for the dismantle of the ethnocratic power system.

2. To make the collection of signatures among the non-citizens for giving the status state to the Russian language and thus to show the readiness of the Russian non-citizens together with the Russian citizens to struggle for the rights by the lawful means.

3. Simultaneously with the collection of signatures for giving the status state to the Russian language to non-citizens, it is necessary to choose own deputies and to provide them with mandate on struggle for liquidation of the non-citizens’ institute, on reception of material indemnifications by non-citizens for the made damage by the ethnocrats.

4. To transfer a problem of ethnic discrimination of the Russian population on the European and international platform, to get support on it in aspiration to spend the democratic transformations from the USA and EU.

5. To expand and strengthen the campaign of civil disobedience of the Russian population against the regime of ethnic discrimination which is spent by the Lettish bureaucracy, to unite it with the social and economic protest of other part of the population.


6. To get in contact with only still formed Latgalian elite, to support it in aspiration to achieve the equal position in rights in the Latvian society, in intention to become an independent part of the unified Latvian nation.

7. To get in contact with democratic Lettish elite concerning the joint building of the Latvian nation. The Russian elite should conduct all negotiations directly with the Lettish social and economic elite, passing the ruling Lettish bureaucracy.

The responsibility for the decision of the marked above problems took upon the recently founded “Committee for honesty and justice”. It waits for support from all interested in construction of the Latvian nation within the limits of unified and sovereign Latvian republic. Contact the Committee by mail: info@.rodnoy-yazik.lv or by phone 25 66 10 54.
 

Viewed : 1739   Commented: 0

Author: Александр Гапоненко

Publication date : 10 February 2012 01:00

Source: The world and we

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