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Righting (Some of) History’s Wrongs


Via Siberian Times:

New legislation in Latvia is poised to offer citizenship in the European Union country to the children and grandchildren of its exiles forcibly sent to Siberia. The Baltic state’s Foreign Ministry said it has no idea of how many people with Latvian blood may qualify, but did not dispute that the figure could be as high as 100,000. A major change in the ex-Soviet state’s citizenship law – which this week passed its second reading in parliament in Riga – opens the way for ALL children and grandchildren of Latvian citizens exiled to Siberia to obtain a passport with the EU state.

While details are still being worked out, and changes can be made as the laws go through parliament,  the Foreign Ministry indicated that those with forcibly exiled forebears will not need to sit the Baltic state’s controversial language test as a proviso of gaining citizenship. This contradicted an earlier statement by the ministry that they would have to take the language test.

’There is still some confusion how this will work,’ said one official source…

Under the new law, too, Siberian offspring of those removed thousands of miles by the Soviet authorities under Stalin be required by Latvia would be able to request to maintain their  Russian citizenship, since the same legislation accepts the notion of dual citizenship. Countless more who were not forcibly exiled but who can make an ethnic claim to be ancestors of Latvians from as long ago as 1881 will be permitted citizenship as well, but they will have to pass the language test. More than two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, the move is seen in Latvia as bold attempt to acknowledge to the present generation an historic wrong done to their ancestors…

Long overdue, and handy too, with Latvia having been hit by a wave of emigration in the wake of the financial crisis.