A group defending the rights of ethnic Russians in Latvia has created fake purple U.S. passports for U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, RT reports.
On the eve of a visit by Clinton, the Russian Society in Latvia sent the passports to the U.S. Embassy in Riga to highlight the plight of the country’s almost 300,000 Latvian “non-citizens” who are not allowed to vote and cannot receive normal passports for travel. Instead, they receive purple passports that designate them aliens, as do the mock passports the group sent to the embassy for Obama and Clinton.
Since Latvia [re]gained independence in 1991, the country's Russian-speaking minority has had to go through a naturalization process, including a Latvian language exam, in order to gain citizenship.
The activists hope to convince U.S. officials to push the authorities in Latvia to change current law. “The U.S. is the citadel of democracy in the modern world. And they cannot remain indifferent to human rights violations and harassment directed against minorities,” said the activists in a statement published on TVNET.
Latvia’s citizenship and language policies have been an object of complaint by Russia and by international organizations since the country broke away from the Soviet Union. Many Latvian officials, however, see possible concessions as a threat to the Baltic state's sovereignty and identity.
‘Alien’ passports issued to Obama and Clinton by activists in Latvia