The dream of the Latvian nationalists may soon be
The Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia is preparing to consider a bill banning all non-Latvian names. The idea is aimed primarily against Russian names, infringing the rights of almost half the population of the country. The adoption of the law will allow on the paper to make all Latvians, effectively making Russian an endangered national minority.
The Ministry of justice of Latvia has decided to ban Russian names. Until 1 September the Cabinet will consider a bill to ban naming children of non-Latvian names, because these names, according to the Ministry, allegedlythreaten the Latvian language and democracy of the country.
“It appears that the Department of justice (Latvia) has long been concerned that the current law on changing the record of a personal name and nationality allows everyone to take non-Latvian name and surname. And indeed there are virtually no rules of adjustment: how parents name their children? These rules are now prescribed in new bill”, – said the local Agency Sputnik.
The letter s and the Latvian names to protect “the democratic order”
Now everything is limited to a controversial rules of Latvian linguistics that employees use, for example, the passport office, all names and surnames if they are masculine or ends in a consonant, is attributed to the letter “C” (s): name spelled Miron Mirons, Ruslan – Ruslan, Igor turns into a Igors, Sergei – in Sergeys and so on. Consequently, changing a guy’s name, so the child Miron Antonov will most likely have to register as Mirons Antonovs.
The ending-s is a typical characteristic of Latvian male names. And this procedure, as a rule, are all borrowed from other languages names – Andrejs, Jacobs. Comes to curiosities, so, the sound of a name that ends in-s – Mirons – reminds the Latvian word mironis (“dead”). However, this fact only confuses the carrier name, his family and entourage, but not the Latvian authorities.
Among the most popular names for boys in Latvia – Aivars, Alvis, Valdis, Dzintars, Maris. Female names usually end in vowels, so any modifications with the letter s, and they are not: INTA, Ilze, Christine, lime, Maria. In doing so, it also applies the transformation on Latvian manners, but the rules for it are different. But the names that usually have a male and female form, also get the end of the Ivanovs Ivanov Ozols – Ozola.
“Now the justice Ministry decided to act tougher,” – emphasizes Sputnik. The ubiquitous addition of the letter s no longer satisfy the authorities. “Under the new rules can no longer be called child in the way parents want. So, if the family decides to name the son, for example, Miron, Cyril Gabriel, she refuses, despite the fact that it would be a violation of the law on the human right to privacy,” says the Agency.
The Ministry of justice are confident that this violation is justified and allowed, as it will allow to protect the democratic system in the country” and “the right of other inhabitants of Latvia to freely speak in their mother tongue”.
“There are suspicions that the law will approve and the President will not interfere”
“The criteria, what name to choose, still not qualified… and there was a possibility that people will choose a name that does not match Latvian traditions. This use of the neologism may be the most direct way to become a threat to the functioning of the Latvian language as a unified system”, – said the head of communications of the Ministry Ksenia Vitola.
She noted that the bill has already been considered at the meeting of state secretaries of ministries on March 24. Now he should pass the coordination with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of foreign Affairs, Ministry of interior, Ministry of education, Ministry of welfare, and not only. Now, according to Band, summarizes the clarifications, objections or suggestions.
The work is intense, because the bill will submit for consideration the Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia before 1 September. “There is a suspicion that there it is approved, and then in the diet, too, and the President to intervene will not” – said Sputnik.
The initiative has also opponents. Deputy of Riga city Council Ruslan Pankratov, head of human rights organization “Return our names!”, highlights: “amazing how the Ministry of justice pays no attention to international requirements and standards”.
He recalled that the Committee on human rights of the United Nations in its decision no. CCPR/C/100/D/1621/2007, dated 28 October 2010 condemned Latvia for its gross violations of international law. Under part 4 of article 5 of the optional Protocol to the International Covenant on civil and political rights,” the Ministry stressed: modification of names and surnames, joining the end -s in official documents without the consent of the owner constitutes arbitrary interference with the privacy of citizens. Moreover, the UN Committee stressed the need to adopt a law to prevent such actions.
However, in Latvia considered that it is not a requirement but merely a recommendation,” said Pankratov. According to him, there is forced assimilation: “the Nationalists are in power continue to say what they said 25 years: the Latvian language is small and weak, it must be protected from literally everything. And they cite this as a compelling argument when the proposed ban to give children of non-Latvian names, to close Russian schools and kindergartens. This is a real tyranny,” concluded Pankratov.
Janis can sleep peacefully
Common sense is not even in the consideration of this bill, said Ruslan Pankratov. In an interview with the newspaper OPINION, he said that recently received a refusal to examine complaints of forced latisepala Russian names and surnames. This is what, in his view, “inspired” anti-Russian lawmakers.
“My claim was in proceedings at the European court of human rights for nine years. Mysteriously when dealing with the Latvian side, as was written in the official response, the judge from Luxembourg Tim Spielmann suddenly takes a decision of inadmissibility of my complaint. That is, its not even considered on the merits. He said something, and he decided that such a “trifle”, as latisepala Russian names and surnames, unworthy of his attention. Encouraged by this victory, they go even further and deeper,” – said the source.
On the basis of Latvian legislation, all names and surnames in the male and the feminine needs to be transformed. Added to them the corresponding end. “Under the distribution were indeclinable names,” says Pankratov. – That is, in Latvia it is impossible to leave the name Wolf or Wolfe. All the names tend. The name Anna, Jeanne, we won, Sawa was less fortunate – he has removed the double “in”, and now he Sava. But if we turn to Denis and Boris, they are written with two “s”. On my official letter of appeal to resolution No. 114, where it says that double consonants in the reflection of the names of prohibited, I was told that in the end the name still dual can, and not only in the middle. “You mean,” said me. A brilliant answer of a lawyer”, – the interlocutor is affected.
Pankratov notes total low qualification of workers of the Ministry of justice. “They are beginning to offer document names as they heard, and in the “most noble in Latvian form” – and it is written. If Kristina will sound in their ears, nobler than Christina, and locking. All sensible people understand that this is relates to psychiatry and law in the world so it is not done,” he says.
Despite the seeming absurdity of such a bill, for him to find the necessary loopholes. “This bill is brought under the caveat that you can infringe on people’s rights and privacy if it relates to the security and preservation of the state system. These people, using this article, exercise their delusional dreams”, – says the source. The result is that Russian names are threatening the security of Latvia, says Pankratov.
The developers of the bill also point out that defending the rights of peoplewho want to go freely in Latvian. This amendment seems Pankratov ridiculous. “If I call Ruslan, and in the passport will require to burn me as well, I would really like to look at that Janis, who suffers and does not sleep from what I Ruslan, and not some Raimonds,” he says.
Latvia for Latvians
However, this initiative may be another, hidden meaning, he said. “There is a suspicion that this is done for the statistics. Then they show that Latvians are becoming more and the minorities less. They make up statistics by the names-the names would be like in the country, some Latvians. And you can report back in Brussels – we have so few minorities, and that any problems we have. Latvia for Latvians, says the source. – This is a utopian idea from the very beginning of independence – the Latvian Latvia. They go to this destination and have lost the sense of reality of international law,” he said.
What will happen with Russian names – I fall in the “black list” Myron, Boris, Peter and so on or they will become native Latvian Ironson, Borissa and Petro, is still unknown. “There are different variations of the same Peter, Peter, Peter, Peteris. Most likely, Peter would indeed be the Peteris” – said Pankratov.
The prospects of the bill it is difficult to assess, but, “judging by recent years of foreign policy of Latvia and domestic policy towards minorities, these people can all” regrets source. “Here we see ignorance and illiteracy. And scared of what these people have potential. They nod to “big brother”, and he allows them all,” he explains.
“We cannot allow some cretins to earn at the expense of children”
Earlier the new government of Latvia under the guidance of Marisa Kuchinskisa, which was approved on February 11, said about working on a plan to adopt a uniform standard of education in the Latvian language in state and municipal schools. “This commitment is included in the final draft of the government Declaration,” said the portal Delfi. To completely abandon the Russian language in favor of Latvian schools is scheduled before September 1, 2018.
It is worth noting that the initiative in the Declaration of the government of the country has made part of the ruling coalition of the nationalist Association “All for Latvia! – The Fatherland and freedom/Movement for national independence of Latvia”.
Commenting on the new idea, the mayor of Riga nil Ushakov called its authors “nerds”: “We live in a fragile world full of challenges – what will happen with the EU, with refugees, and I’m sorry, some idiots should not be allowed to make political capital at the expense of children,” he said. According to Ushakov, “to touch this system would be the worst folly, which only can think of”. He stressed that graduates of minority schools of Riga’s problems with the Latvian language there.
Even before his official appointment as Maris Kuchinskis has denied the intention to transfer all the schools of the Republic in the national language in 2018. First, he assured that all the reforms will be implemented gradually. However, experts already recognized that the new Prime Minister will try to squeeze the Russian language and Russian from Latvia.
Recall, 44% of Latvia’s population is Russian-speaking. However, the country is only one state language – Latvian. Russian has the status of a foreign language. For non-use of the Latvian language representatives of ethnic minorities working in the public sphere, can be fined. For this, the Republic was created by the state language Centre.
Russia has long called for the EU to solve the problem of discrimination against Russian speakers in the Baltic States. However, as pointed out by the Russian foreign Ministry in November 2015, the European Union withdrew from solving problems of Russian-speaking population in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Authors: Ekaterina Neroznikova, Marina Baltaeva