If the world has a problem with Russia weaponizing everything, then the Balts have another one in addition: banning everything Russian. Be it the Russian language, Russian TV, or the refusal to medically treat a disabled girl because she didn't understand Latvian. Now the Balts have another brilliant idea — just ban Russian names entirely
As reported by the News agency Sputnik, the Latvian Ministry of Justice has issued a legislative proposal, prescribing Latvian citizens to give their children Lativan first and last names only. According to the law, first and last names are to be officially banned, if they do not meet the requirements of the Latvian language or cause obstacles to the child's integration in Latvian society. The Russian minority group, 40% of the total population, is offended by such an intolerance towards their native language and cultural identity.
Thus, if parents decide to dub their child, for instance, Myron, Kyrill or Gavriil, these names are not going to be registered. This is regarded by the government as an acceptable measure, despite being an obvious violation of human rights.
Xenia Vitola, chief of the Public relations department of the Latvian Ministry of Justice, explains, that a name can be declined, only if it does not respond the requirements of the Latvian Language and causes obstacles to the child's further integration in Latvian society.
Today all male names in Latvia, that end with a consonant, get an additional “s” at the end: thus, Myron becomes Myrons, Rouslan – Rouslans and Sergey – Sergeys.
Such a legislative proposal is violating the international law, including the international pact on civil and political rights, since it guarantees the right of freely choosing or changing ones name, told Rouslan Pankratov, chief of the Human rights organization “Give us back our names!” and delegate of the Riga city council, in an interview with Sputnik Latvia.
Due to shortage of translation staff we’ve made a translation of the remaining part of the article via Google Translate. We apologize for the inconvenience.
You may also be interested in the article, published at Sputnik, since it covers some more information on the subject.
“It's surprising, how the Ministry of Justice disregards the international demands and norms”, says the delegate and reminds, that the United Nations Human Rights Committee has already condemned Latvia for severe human rights violations before, back on October 28th, 2010. The UN body stated, that, according to Article 5 Part 4 of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the change of the first or last name in official documents is an invasion of privacy, if carried out without commitment of the person concerned.
The total population of Latvia makes two million people, about 40% of them are Russian. Nevertheless, there's only one official language in the Baltic republic: Latvian.
The Center for Latvian official language calls up to the citizens to speak Latvian.
“The law on the official language does not include use of language in unofficial communication. However, if the conversation is overheard by other people, such as passengers, visitors to offices and authorities, buyers in shops, etc., then this conversation is to be considered an official one”, explains the Center for Latvian official language.
Moreover, officials should not authorize local media to give interviews in foreign languages, Russian in particular.
It is said, that “officials from the government should exclusively speak Latvian during interviews, especially for media sources, that are registered in Latvia. This is the way of paying due respect to the state and the official language”.
It has also been reported, that a list of “forbidden” family names had been published in Latvia's neighbourstate Estonia, includeding Russian surnames, such as Alexeyev, Antonov, Baranov, Bogdanov, Vorobyov, Vasilyev, Dmitriev, Fedorov, Frolov, Gavrilov, Yefimov, Zaitsev, Karpov, Koslow, Lebedev, Makarov, Maximov, Nikolayev, Novikov, Orlov, Popov, Romanov, Semyonov, Sokolow, Timofeyev, Tsvetkov.
If you want to help Russia Insider and its translations to get better — join the team of volunteer translators. For further information, please contact email@example.com