“This audience is shamelessly lying”

Russian-speaking residents of Latvia with their constant complaints of harassment — persistent headache of the government. And worst of all, European Union the events taken seriously and periodically criticized the Riga censorship. But now the solution seems to be found. If you can not resolve a problem with the Russian that was inherited from the Soviet Union, that means we need to start a new one. So there was a community of Russian-speaking residents of Latvia, which share European values, loyal to the authorities and to publicly support their policies. New Latvian Russians also promise to cooperate with the secret services and to help political refugees, forced to flee from Russia to escape repression. “the Tape.ru” is familiar with the story of the creation of a new community of “European Russian”, which, as it turned out, lasts more than one year.

“Association of the development of Russian civil society and the support of Russian emigrants” United Russian-speaking residents of Latvia, loyal to their homeland-the stepmother, supporting its leadership and are critical to Russian foreign policy. Coordinator of the initiative group became a journalist Dimitry Savvin. Until 2015 he lived in St. Petersburg and was active in social activities: participated in street protests and was the unregistered party “New force”. But after it brought a few criminal cases, Savvin left Russia and moved to Latvia. This country he was not chosen arbitrarily: since 2012, cooperated with Riga’s “occupation Museum” and during that time managed to make enough acquaintances. A year later after moving Savvin received political refugee status.

change of address, Savvin has not changed him. He continues to lead an active social life and willingly communicates with the Latvian journalists, denouncing the Kremlin’s propaganda, with its stories about the oppression of Russians in the Baltic States. In his opinion, there is no discrimination. “This audience is shamelessly lying, supposedly in the Baltic countries the Russian-speaking rights are ignored — says it. — It becomes ridiculous when the “Russian people”, as Linderman Wells, Zhdanok and Pliner (opposition politicians and activists — ed. “Lena.ru”), taught me to be Russian. When I am in Latvia, I feel that I’m in the national state, which, in my opinion, gives Latvians an opportunity to feel themselves masters in their own land”.

Dimitry Savvin said that the initiative group includes both indigenous Russian-speaking inhabitants of Latvia and recently arrived Russian emigres. Goals highly ambitious — not only to unite loyal to the Latvian Russian, but also to support civil society in Russia. According to Savva, the first years of independence, a paradoxical situation where, on behalf of all Russians in Latvia say “Soviet revanchists and Pro-Kremlin activists”, and as a result, their voices are perceived as Russian.

This situation, according to Savva and his associates, is unacceptable and just insulting to so many Russian people living in Latvia, especially for political refugees from Russia. “The Soviet, the Kremlin and Russian — are different concepts, although many people can identify with, — explains it. — We intend to fight this, to unite the Russian people, who are loyal to Latvia and speak on their behalf”.

it is Worth noting that similar attempts have been made in Latvia in the past. So, in April 2014 the well-known public figure, historian and publicist Igor Vatolin announced the creation of the European movement Russian. In an interview with “Tape.ru” Vatolin said that he did not agree with the entry into Russia of Crimea and support for the Kremlin militia of Donbass.

It jarred that in 2014 politicians like the MEP Tatyana Zhdanok and co-founder of the Congress of non-citizens Alexander Gaponenko (detained by security Police for “anti-state activities” — ed. “Of the tape.ru”) began on behalf of the Russian community of Latvia to demonstrate support for Russia’s foreign policy. “In response, we with like-minded registered NGO “European Russian initiative” [EuroRussians]. Its activities were limited to holding discussions on issues of the day and issues of Russian identity,” explained Vatolin.

In his opinion, there is no specific Russian as well as German, Latvian, American identity does not exist. “European Russians can be called any Russian people who share fundamental European values. Regardless of whether they live in the EU, in Russia or elsewhere — emphasizes Vatolin. — Another specific quality European Russian is the presence in his life along with the Russian, also other linguistic and cultural traditions. In Latvia, for example, almost all active, progressive-minded people are trilingual — English-Latvian-Russian”.

Vatolin believes, however, that the concept of “European Russian” — is not a sociological category, but rather a reminder about the European vector of Russian culture and Russian statehood, at least from the time of Peter the Great — a kind of counterweight to the concept of Russia’s special path. Association Savvina he wishes every success, noting that its past Russian nationalist certainly adds intrigue to the story.

Two years ago, was declared the movement “New Latvians”, which brings together Russians who have residence permits (permit) in Latvia in recent years. The new Latvians started to come in 2010, when due to the economic crisis the government launched the program “residence permit in exchange for investments”. A temporary residence permit but with a right of renewal was given to almost everyone who bought real estate in Riga and other major cities no less than 100 000 LVL (142 288 EUR). Was quite the budget proposal. Buying property outside of major cities, it was possible to reduce the cost of the residence permit up to 50 000 LVL (71 144 EUR).

As stated in the government report interior Ministry Latvia, for four years residence permit in the framework of the program has requested 12 427 people — including investors themselves and members of their families. Almost all requests have been satisfied. According to the interior Ministry, during this time, new residents brought in the economy of Latvia more than a billion euros. In most cases, it was the Russians, and the most popular among them belonged to the real estate in Riga and Jurmala.

But in 2014, under pressure included in the ruling coalition of the nationalist program terms and conditions have tightened to such an extent that she actually died. But thousands of Russians still live in Latvia and very soon formed the opposition of the local “old Russian.”

Visitors not hide the joy that was present in Europe, and often speak disapprovingly about the “old Russian” as “quilted jackets” and “awful”. Those, in turn, called immigrants “renegades” and branded them “the Smerdyakov aspect is always” and other Russophobia. Local media, however, like to invite emigrants from Russia in television and radio programs, on pages of the Central Newspapers.

In 2012, the native of the Ivanovo Elena Ekaterincheva even spoke to European Parliament on the eve of the referendum on the second state language in Latvia. There she is, claiming to be the representative of the Russian community, said is that really her countrymen do not want any special preferences for your language and that ethnic discrimination in Latvia.

All the Russians who have received a residence permit, can be divided into two categories. The first businessmen of an average hand, having accounts in offshore accounts and claims from the Russian tax authorities. They do not hide what I was looking for the opportunity to sit in the Latvia, to make yourself a backup plan. How would Europe and the Russian side, and Russian language here you know. The second “Medimmigrant” ideological, sometimes radical supporters of the European course, at every opportunity, claiming that in “Raschke” it’s bad, but beyond its borders all is well. “When I was in Germany and Sweden all said that we were from Latvia, — write in their forums “new Latvians”. — As unpleasant to bear the responsibility for the Affairs of the country whose citizenship you are…” “I respect Latvia as an independent state member of the EU, — said another Expat. And absolutely do not want to come here filthy “Russian world””.

Originally the “new Latvians” have joined together to advocate for their rights. In April 2016, the Saeima approved amendments to the “immigration Act”, prescribing the payment of fees in the amount of 5000 Euro at a five-year extension of temporary residence permit. After that, the Russian immigrants led by the teacher Higher school of Economics Elena Lukyanova addressed to President Raimonds Vejonis — asking them not to sign the law. “Each of us brought up to a dozen families. But if these people have children? For them it is very seriously affected. For example, on Misha Efremov, which has four minor children. This is not five thousand euros,” complained Lukyanova.

the President actually returned the bill to Parliament for revision. In the end, it was solved that duty would be charged only after repeated extension of a residence permit. Moreover, only those who bought real estate, not from all of his family members, as envisaged in the amendments earlier.

By the way, the real Latvians still belong to the “new Latvians” with a certain caution — despite recent attempts to make friends. “They do not hide, why come here everything is in Russian, Russian school, on the streets speak Russian, doctors speak Russian, movies Russian, Russian Newspapers, Russian TV, — said the Deputy of the Sejm from right-wing radicals Edwin Schnoor. But then Europe. There is order and rule of law. And so they come here. And the Latvian language they especially do not want to teach”.

the Schnoor told me that one time called “new Latvians” who have lived in the country for almost four years. In Latvian they are not talking, so I had to talk in Russian. “I asked why they still have not learned the language? — says the Deputy. — Said that moving, that. And in Norway I lived for a year. That was enough for me to learn the Norwegian language. So I crystal clear motivation of all these people.”

For the Russian immigrants, the Baltic States are really attractive because she is actually half-Russian, there is no need to know foreign languages or to dive deeply into a foreign culture. In this case, as rightly says Deputy Schnoor, “then Europe and the rule of law”. Therefore, to claim that the Baltic States have not only the Soviet Russians, but also quite European — not such a big price for the right to live the European way. Moreover, not all Russian-speaking residents of Latvia (including the root) are convinced that everything Russian should be an official designated in the law status.

But the Association of Demetrios Savva is not going to restrict only some applications. According to him, the initiative group is already discussing the format cooperation with the Latvian special services. The aim of cooperation is “significantly” to inform the competent authorities of the Russian political refugees. The fact that among other things, the Association will assist in obtaining political asylum for refugees from Russia. “We will help you to understand local services — whether this man was persecuted in Russia for political reasons, and if they need refugee status,” said Sawin.