Friday, January 20, 2012

Referendum in Latvia: will Russian become a state language?

There will be a referendum in Latvia regarding recognizing Russian as a state language.

This is a tough issue, as the story with granting of citizenship after the break-up of the Soviet Union shows.

To me it would seem that if the Russian becomes a state language, the two societies (Russian and Latvian) that live side by side currently will have even less reason to interact or integrate. Do I miss something?

I do not think that the Finnish case (in Finland, both Swedish and Finnish are the state languages) is a good example here because the proportions of the groups are very different - one needs to know Finnish no matter what. (As a note aside, the case of Finland perhaps is more applicable to Lithuania and its Polish minority.)

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