Volodya, inhabitant of Daugavpils, Latvia pictured on the street of the city on 13.11.2014. Latvian city Daugavpils is the largest city in the European Union inhabited by Russian-speaking population.
The situation of ethnic Russians, who make up 40% of the population of the Baltic countries, is difficult. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia after independence granted citizenship only to those who were (or whose ancestors were) the citizens of those countries before the Soviet occupation in 1944.
Due to this only in Latvia about 500 000 Russians are without citizenship, since most of these do not want to learn Latvian, nor adapt to a new country with new rules.
Today, there is a growing tendency to accept passports, offered by the Russian government. Some do it for financial reasons, because pensions in Russia are higher than those paid by the Baltic countries. Others take passports for political reasons. Everyone is talking ‘we are left alone by European Union’.
by Wiktor Dabkowski