The “Non-Citizens” of the Baltic States: Α European Scandal Nobody Speaks about!

Share

Hits: 1487

The negotiations on Brexit are attracting a lot of attention. In particular, the possible erosion of the rights of around three million EU-27 citizens living in Britain is a major cause for concern.

The European Parliament resolution adopted on 3 October states that “the withdrawal agreement must incorporate the full set of rights citizens currently enjoy, such that there is no material change in their position”.

The main author of this text, Mr Guy Verhofstadt, the EP Brexit Coordinator, argues that such an approach – not to lower the level of citizens’ rights – is “the goal of democracy”. But why was the very same principle ignored when another “exit” took place in Europe? It was the exit of the Baltic states from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1990-1991 when a million and a half citizens who had arrived in Latvia and Estonia from other republics were deprived of the essential rights they enjoyed.

Theoretical substantiation for this legal action was found in the doctrine of restoring the pre-war republics. On October 15, 1991, a month after the recognition of Latvia by most UN Member States, on the very day when the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Latvia has solemnly signed the 1975 Helsinki act, the Supreme Council has adopted the resolution “On the Renewal of the Republic of Latvia Citizens’ Rights and Fundamental Principles of Naturalization”. By this act, Latvian citizenship was only granted to those residents who were in possession of it on 17 June 1940, as well as their descendants. This was a unique case in parliamentary history: a parliament deprived one third of its own voters of citizenship and, thus, of voting rights. A same decision was undertaken by the Estonian Supreme Council.

When comparing these British and Baltic’ “exits” we can see some similarities in the situation of those who moved from one Member State to another within one common Union before the decision to exit this Union took place. It is worth mentioning that sometimes these people were simply nominated to go to that another Member State: after graduating high school (in the case of the USSR) or to work in Union institutions (in the case of the EU). But there is also one essential difference. Those citizens of the EU-27 residing in Britain retain the very same Union’ citizenship after Brexit. Being nationals of a particular Member State, they enjoy the full scope of political rights of citizens of that state. In the case of Latvia and Estonia, people found themselves in an odd notion of “phantom” citizenship of a non-existent state – the USSR.

The status of those Latvian residents who were not granted citizenship of Latvia after an adoption of the resolution mentioned above was not certain for a long time.

In June 1992 the Law “On Entry into and Residence in the Republic of Latvia of Aliens and Stateless Persons”, regulating the procedure for acquiring residence permits by its subjects was adopted by the Supreme Council. The lawmaker had an intention to make all residents who had not been granted Latvian citizenship subject to this law. Here is another similarity with Brexit. As the European Parliament resolution of this Tuesday states,

“the situation of the United Kingdom’s proposals set out in its position paper of 26 June 2017 fall short in that respect, not least as regards the proposal to create a new category of ‘settled status’ under United Kingdom immigration law; … the disclosed policy options on the future status of EU citizens are causing unnecessary hardship and anxiety for the citizens of the EU-27 living in the United Kingdom”.

In Latvia, the skilful work by MPs from the opposition group “For Equal Rights”, of which I was a member, stopped attempts to make all residents not granted Latvian citizenship subject to the law “On Entry into and Residence…”. The Supreme Council announced that the status of those who prior to this Law taking effect would have acquired permanent registration of residence would be subject to a special law.

The law in question entitled “On the Status of Former USSR Citizens, Who are not Citizens of Latvia or Any Other State” was adopted on 25 April 1995. Subjects of this law called “non-citizens of Latvia” were issued special Latvian non-citizen’s passports.

Who are non-citizens of Latvia by the sum of their legal attributes?

The Constitutional Court of Latvia in its judgment of 7 March 2005 declared:

“After passing of the Non-Citizen Law a new, and hitherto unknown category of persons appeared – Latvian non-citizens. Latvian non-citizens cannot be compared with any other status of a physical entity, determined in international legal acts, as the rights, established for non-citizens, do not comply with any other status. Latvian non-citizens can be regarded neither as citizens, nor as aliens or stateless persons but as persons with ”a specific legal status”.

By stating that non-citizens are not stateless persons, the inventors of the “specific” status aimed to help Latvia evade fulfilment of a number of international obligations, in particular, under the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (1961) as well as under the European Convention on Nationality (1997). But in reality they have created nothing more than the entity of second-class citizens of the country. It is clear that the rights of persons to be protected by the state and to freely return to Latvia which non-citizens enjoy by Law are essential characteristics of citizens. On the other hand, non-citizens do not have the rights to participate either in national or local elections. Restrictions relating to more than thirty professions are in force for  Latvian non-citizens.

I can imagine what the reaction of the EU institutions would be if a state like Russia or Belarus had an extremely high proportion of persons deprived of citizenship and, consequently, of the full scope of citizens’ rights. But in 2004 the Republic of Latvia  successfully joined the EU bringing on board the 450.000 non-citizens (20% of the population).

Why was the problem ignored at the stage of EU accession? There were a lot of reasons, mainly geo-strategic in nature. In the mid 90s the strategic decision on the Baltic states’ integration was made by EU leaders. The majority of Latvia’s stateless population are ethnic Russians. So the problems of these persons were treated by the EU mostly from the point of view of competing with Russia for influence in the Baltic region. The feelings and needs of the stateless population of the Baltic States didn’t have any value in that game for regional dominance. The official position the EU on the problem of the stateless population was that the process of naturalization of non-citizens would be able to solve this problem completely. The European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2004 on the state of preparedness of Latvia for EU membership

“welcomes the increase in the naturalisation rate in 2003 mainly due to the referendum campaign for the EU accession, even if the naturalisation process remains too slow; therefore invites the Latvian authorities to promote that process and considers that minimum language requirements for elderly people may contribute to it; encourages the Latvian authorities to overcome the existing split in society and to favour the genuine integration of “non-citizens”, ensuring an equal competitive chance in education and labour; proposes that the Latvian authorities envisage the possibility of allowing non-citizens who are long-time inhabitants to take part in local self-government elections”.

More than thirteen years have passed since then. The non-citizens are still deprived of voting rights, including self-government elections. Restrictions relating to more than thirty professions are still in force concerning Latvian non-citizens. Even when some of these restrictions are abolished, new ones appear, and the total has remained almost the same for past 22 years. Conditions for naturalisation were not facilitated. If the legislation on citizenship does not change, the problem of mass statelessness will remain an issue for a very long time. Today the number of Latvian non-citizens is still over 240,000 people (more than 12% of the population).

The European Parliament in our resolution of 3 October “Expresses concern about regrettable administrative practices against EU citizens living in the United Kingdom”.

I’m looking forward to the future solidarity of my colleagues with hundreds of thousands of second-class Latvian citizens (called “non-citizens”) living in Latvia.

Sometimes parallels in history help people begin to see clearly.


Originally published on 2017-10-09

About the author: Tatjana Zdanoka is member of the European Parliament, Political Party “Latvian Russian Union”

Source: Defend Democracy Press

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

Save 

READ MORE!
Hitllary Clinton Plans to Destroy Russia
Leaked emails are filling in the picture of a Bill-and-Hillary-Clinton plan to destroy Russia – a plan which had originated with US President George Herbert Walker Bush in 1990, and which has been followed through both by his son George W Bush, and by both of the Clintons, but which has only recently started to become documented by leaked publications of personal communications amongst the key operatives who were the insiders running this operation behind the scenes, and who include Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George W Bush, Victoria Nuland, Jeffrey Feltman, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud, Saudi Crown Prince ...
READ MORE
Gavrilo Princip’s Grave: The Interwar Years, 1920-1939
,Gavrilo Princip was first buried in secret in an unmarked grave at the Theresienstadt or Terezin prison following his death on April 28, 1918. His remains were exhumed and transferred to Sarajevo on July 7, 1920. This was Gavrilo Princip’s grave until 1939 when a Chapel was built to replace the grave.The other conspirators were also interred in this grave. Bogdan Zerajic’s remains were also reburied here.The assassination occurred on the Orthodox holiday, Vidovdan or St. Vitus’ Day, Sunday, on June 28, 1914. For this reason the conspirators were called the “Vidovdan Heroes” and the Chapel memorial was named “The ...
READ MORE
Denying the Holocaust
Kosovo Albanian Muslims and their unthinking and duped supporters in the US are denying the Holocaust when they claim that Albanians rescued 100% of the Jews in Kosovo and in Albania. Albanian Muslims are Holocaust deniers like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, yet Albanians are not ostracized. Why? Why are Albanian Muslims and their lackeys and stooges in the US allowed to get away with denying the Holocaust, with falsifying their role in the destruction of European Jews? The ignorance of the Albanian lobby is appalling. Albanian Muslims played a role in the Holocaust. Who claims this? Raul Hilberg, the founder of Holocaust studies and ...
READ MORE
Kosovo and the Crisis of Ignoring International Law and Global Opinions
Kosovo obtained part independence when America and many European nations gave the go ahead for the creation of this new nation. However, it is clear that things are not plain sailing because many other nations did not support this elitist adventure, therefore, the wider international community was ignored. Therefore, today we have a situation where some nations support this new state, however, the majority of nations in Africa, Asia, and South America, have not given their consent. Also, the Russian Federation, Spain, and some other European nations, refuse to accept this American led adventure. Therefore, what does the future hold for Kosovo ...
READ MORE
Contribution to the 20th Annual Conference of Central European Political Science Association
Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is a host of The 20th Annual Conference of Central European Political Science Association: “Security Architecture in CEE: Present Threats and Prospects for Cooperation”. The conference place is at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University, from September 25 to 26, 2015. It is organized by the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University, and the Lithuanian Political Science Association. The conference sponsors are the Lithuanian Research Council, the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, and the ...
READ MORE
Neoconservatives, Machiavelli and “The Prince”
Tyrants and despots have never required justification for their actions. In the 17th century, as political philosophers began to reject the classic Catholic doctrines of politics and ethics, The Prince was viewed as more relevant: truths are more important than ideals. It is probably not an accident that The Prince has been misinterpreted for 300 years. Taken literally, there is no better justification for tyranny, whether political or economic, than the universal misinterpretation of The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. This small pamphlet, written in 1513–1514, addressed to the new Medici prince, if taken literally, outlines the best practices to attain and ...
READ MORE
Endless War is no Honor to America’s Veterans
Veterans Day has passed. The annual ritual never changes. Politicians who didn’t serve in the armed services start unnecessary wars, killing military personnel whose sacrifices are then lauded. Officials say these heroes died defending our freedom. That is almost always a lie.Sometimes Washington must go to war. Not often, however. Despite the endless claims that we live in a dangerous world, America is amazingly safe. No other power could defeat, let alone conquer, the United States. Only Russia has a comparable nuclear arsenal, but it would be destroyed if Moscow targeted America. China and Russia trail U.S. conventional military strength ...
READ MORE
The Unspoken War on Yemen
Is your money that good? Will it buy you forgiveness? Do you think that it could?” (Bob Dylan, b. 1941, Masters of War) On Tuesday 6th of September, twenty-four hour monitoring by Yemen’s Legal Centre for Rights and Development (LCRD) recorded the bombings by the Saudi led “coalition”, armed by the US and UK and advised by their military specialists, thus collusion and co-operation of both countries render them equally culpable for the carnage. Yemen has a population of just 24.41 million (2013 figure) and according to the Rural Poverty Portal: “ … is one of the driest, poorest and least developed countries in ...
READ MORE
The Battle of Moscow (December 1941): Turning Point of WWII
World War II started, at least as far as the “European Theatre” was concerned, with the German army steamrolling over Poland in September, 1939. About six months later, even more spectacular victories followed, this time over the Benelux Countries and France. By the summer of 1940, Germany looked invincible and predestined to rule the European continent indefinitely. (Great Britain admittedly refused to throw in the towel, but could not hope to win the war on its own, and had to fear that Hitler would soon turn his attention to Gibraltar, Egypt, and/or other jewels in the crown of the British ...
READ MORE
** FILE ** President Bush declares the end of major combat in Iraq as he speaks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast, in this May 1, 2003 file photo. Democratic congressional leaders on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 sent Iraq legislation setting timetables for U.S. troop withdrawals to President George W. Bush and a certain veto.  On the fourth anniversary of the president's "Mission Accomplished" speech, Senate Majority Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that Bush "has put our troops in the middle of a civil war. A change of course is needed."  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
As the recent PBS documentary on the American War in Vietnam acknowledged, few American officials ever believed that the United States could win the war, neither those advising Johnson as he committed hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, nor those advising Nixon as he escalated a brutal aerial bombardment that had already killed millions of people.As conversations tape-recorded in the White House reveal, and as other writers have documented, the reasons for wading into the Big Muddy, as Pete Seeger satirized it, and then pushing on regardless, all came down to “credibility”: the domestic political credibility of the politicians involved ...
READ MORE
Hillary and Bill Clinton: The “Bonnie and Clyde” of American Politics
Whether the information originated from hacked e-mails and computer files or Freedom of Information Act requests, the revelations about the political and business activities of Hillary and Bill Clinton and their cronies hearken back to another era, the Great Depression of the 1930s and the crime spree of another unscrupulous couple: bank robbery desperados Bonnie and Clyde.Aside from Hillary Clinton running her own lucrative «off-the-books» foreign policy via her private email servers and e-mail chain of associates and flunkies, it was her and her husband’s joint Clinton Foundation and Teneo Capital operations that scream out the word «corruption.» The servers ...
READ MORE
British Imperial Project in Ukraine: Violent Coup, Fascist Axioms, Neo-Nazis (2014)
Uncovering the Western mainstream mass-media lies on Ukraine.Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics, and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
The Strategy of the Intermarium
May 12 to 14 marks the 90th anniversary of the coup by Józef Piłsudski in Poland with which the Polish bourgeoisie tried to save its rule from the threat of socialist revolution. Today, he is being idealized by large sections of the Polish bourgeoisie and the US imperialist elite.In large measure, this is bound up with the increasing popularity of his conception of the Intermarium, a pro-imperialist alliance of right-wing nationalist regimes throughout Eastern Europe that was primarily directed against the Soviet Union. The resurgent interest in the Intermarium has been bound up with the increasing drive toward a new ...
READ MORE
Netanyahu Victory Lays Bare Israel as Racist, Colonial State
SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is elating after his right-wing Likud Party secured a firm victory in the Israeli elections on March 17. It was a very close race against the Zionist Union Party, led by Isaac Herzog. Our next guest, Shir Hever, in an interview he did with us last month, predicted that Prime Minister Netanyahu would win in spite of many strikes against him at the time. So, defying election polls leading up to the election, Prime Minister Netanyahu has ...
READ MORE
Lithuania’s Diplomatic Hitman Takes Aim at Irish-Russian Relations
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius is no ordinary diplomat. He is more a diplomatic hitman whose ideological mission is to blow holes in European-Russian relations at every opportunity.One of his recent “jobs” was to write an op-ed for the Irish Times in which he castigated the European Union for appeasing Russian President Vladimir Putin. Linkevicius used a hoary old historical analogy comparing the EU with British leader Neville Chamberlain and his appeasement in 1938 of Nazi Germany’s Hitler.Apart from the ignorant historical waffling, the other curious thing about Linkevicius’ op-ed piece in Ireland’s so-called “paper of record” was the timing. It was ...
READ MORE
Stepan Bandera's monument in Buchach, Ukraine with the flag (right) of a neo-Nazi Ukrainian political organization
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine and unseemly role of Poland in its instigation and development makes us take another look at the historical context of the Polish-Ukrainian relations. We will focus on dramatic repressions of the Ukrainian minorities in Eastern Poland in 1921-1939 at the territories annexed by Jozef Piłsudski’s government from the Soviet Russia according to Peace of Riga 1921, which eventually triggered ultra-Nationalist Ukrainian terror against the Poles during the WWII (culminating in massacres in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia in 1943-1944).Poland, which used to be a part of the Russian Empire, emerged at the European political map in November ...
READ MORE
The Ku Klux Klan: America’s Long History of Accepting White Terrorist Organizations
Thursday marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of America’s deadliest terrorist organization: the Klu Klux Klan. Since September 11, extremists associated with various far-right wing ideologies, including the KKK and Jewish extremists, have killed far more people in the United States than extremists motivated by radical Islam. One centuries’ old example of US government double standards when it comes to terrorism, is the infamous Klu Klux Klan. The Klan has terrorized and killed far more Americans than Islamic terrorists ever have; and despite being America’s oldest terrorist organization, the US government does not officially consider the KKK a terrorist organization, classifying ...
READ MORE
Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes Speech
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. [wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
Crimea, Kosovo, Catalonia, Corsica and Kurdistan
Just three years after a citizens’ referendum returned Crimea to Russia, from which it had been separated for sixty years, the people of Catalonia, Spain’s largest province, will vote to leave that country.And just as the international community has decreed that the Crimean referendum was a fake, Spain’s Prime Minister felt compelled to declare that the vote could’t possibly take place, that it would be illegal, that independence, in his words, could only be ‘a pipe dream’ for the country’s richest province.Clearly, national governments don’t like losing land and people, however when it suits the international community, some communities are ...
READ MORE
Anne Frank of Kosovo Propaganda Hoax
One of the biggest and most outlandish US infowar and propaganda whoppers of the 1999 Kosovo conflict was the infamous NPR story of the ethnic Albanian Anne Frank. This seems like a mindless, unethical, immoral, and vicious, racist propaganda hoax today, using propaganda to destroy an entire people, Serbian Orthodox Christians. The Anne Frank infowar campaign was manufactured to support an illegal land grab in Kosovo, in support of a Muslim Albanian separatist and secessionist terrorist war against Serbian Christians. But at the time it was very popular and helped sell the US bombing of Yugoslavia in support of Albanian ...
READ MORE
Hitllary Clinton Plans to Destroy Russia
Gavrilo Princip’s Grave: The Interwar Years, 1920-1939
Denying the Holocaust
Kosovo and the Crisis of Ignoring International Law and Global Opinions
Contribution to the 20th Annual Conference of Central European Political Science Association
Neoconservatives, Machiavelli and “The Prince”
Endless War is no Honor to America’s Veterans
The Unspoken War on Yemen
The Battle of Moscow (December 1941): Turning Point of WWII
How America Spreads Global Chaos
Hillary and Bill Clinton: The “Bonnie and Clyde” of American Politics
British Imperial Project in Ukraine: Violent Coup, Fascist Axioms, Neo-Nazis (2014)
The Strategy of the Intermarium
Netanyahu Victory Lays Bare Israel as Racist, Colonial State
Lithuania’s Diplomatic Hitman Takes Aim at Irish-Russian Relations
Poland and Ukraine: History of Break-Downs
The Ku Klux Klan: America’s Long History of Accepting White Terrorist Organizations
Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes Speech
Crimea, Kosovo, Catalonia, Corsica and Kurdistan
Anne Frank of Kosovo Propaganda Hoax

FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share