- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
- Clinton aide admits soliciting disgraced D.C. fundraiser; says actions were legal
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
- N.J. woman charged after client dies from black-market butt injections
- CIA chief Brennan ‘determined’ to speak out more this year
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- 9/11 terror recruiter released in Syrian prisoner swap
- D.C. elections board gives green light to marijuana legalization initiative
- Elephants can tell difference between human languages: study
Tension surrounds Latvian vote on Russian as 2nd language
Latvia’s ruling parties, meanwhile, have issued an official statement in support of a single official language. They are encouraging voters to participate in the referendum and deny Russian inclusion.
Latvian President Andris Berzins recently announced he would vote against the referendum, which some politicians suspect has been orchestrated by the Kremlin.
“The whole thing is related to state Duma and presidential elections in Russia. In order to win, the ruling party needs to create an enemy abroad so that there is something to unite against,” said lawmaker Dzintars Rasnacs of the nationalist National Alliance party.
Referendum supporters deny claims of Kremlin involvement.
“There is a medical term for this, and it’s paranoia,” Mr. Osipov said. “We live off donations, and our funding is completely transparent. These are just conspiracy theories. Some people always want to find someone to blame, be it Jews, Russians or the Kremlin.”
The referendum will need about 800,000 votes to pass. About 600,000 Latvians identify themselves as ethnic Russian, according to a recent census.
Some analysts see the referendum as a tool for the political parties to boost their popularity.
“During the 20 years of Latvia’s independence, our political elite were very eager to bring up painful subjects,” said Ivars Ijabs, assistant professor at the University of Latvia. “Today they are doing it again.
“Language is an identity question for ethnic Latvians. It’s painful, and these days, some people feel alarmed.”
c Louise Osborne in Berlin contributed to this report.
TWT Video Picks
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Brennan: Russia 'absolutely' could invade eastern Ukraine
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- HURT: John Kerry The ridiculous face of a ridiculous U.S. diplomacy
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again