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Latvia Wants to Strip Passports of Russia’s Backers
By Staff, Agencies
People who support Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine and live in Latvia could be stripped of their citizenship, the nation’s president said on Tuesday.
Speaking in an interview with RTVI broadcaster, Latvian President Egils Levits said he supports legislation allowing Russian Latvians with dual citizenship to be stripped of their passport if they openly back Moscow’s military operation.
“I believe that Russians living in Latvia should take a certain position. And most of them did so because in such a situation there can be no effect of neutrality. If a person is neutral, then he did not understand the essence of the matter,” Levits said.
According to him, many Russian Latvians clearly support Ukraine, and some of them are still on the fence, but are gradually moving “in the right direction.” At the same time, there is a minority that approves of Russia’s actions, and they are “outside the scope of democracy,” he claimed.
“The scope of democracy is based on notions of justice, and supporting an obviously unjust idea means that you are not a democrat,” the president said.
In April, the Latvian parliament approved legislation allowing citizenship to be revoked for people who support countries responsible for what the authorities deem to be crimes against peace and humanity.
This amendment, however, only applies to people with two or more passports.
Also that month, the nation banned the public display of the letters ‘Z’ and ‘V’ [which are used as symbols by Russian troops in Ukraine], saying they glorify aggression and war crimes. Latvia also prohibits the display of symbols that glorify Nazi or communist regimes, but does nothing to stop marches honoring Latvian members of the Waffen-SS.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.
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