Russia's opposition activists call for 'no' vote on two state languages in Latvia
Rahvusvahelised uudised 16 Feb 2012  EWR
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RIGA, Feb 15, BNS - Two activists of Russia's political opposition, dissident and journalist Valeria Novodvorskaya and former State Duma member Konstantin Borovoy, have urged Latvia's citizens to vote against the proposal to make Russian a second state language in the forthcoming referendum and to record their choice by photographing their ballot slips with cellphone cameras.

Speaking at a news conference in Riga on Wednesday, the two Russian opposition activists alleged that Russian secret services, specifically, the Federal Security Service, had been involved in inspiring and organizing the referendum in Latvia. Novodvorskaya and Borovoy said that the developments leading to the language referendum in Latvia are a result of a planned action. In their words, they have no doubts about Russia's intentions to regain its influence and control over the Baltic states, as well as other former Soviet republics.

Novodvorskaya claimed she had evidence of that, but did not elaborate. She said that the forthcoming referendum is an attempt to destabilize the situation in Latvia so that its residents demanded the country's admission to the CIS.

Nils Usakovs, the mayor of the Latvian capital Riga and leader of the leftist pro-Russia Harmony Center, told journalists that Novodvorskaya and Borovoy seemed to him like characters from an animation film and that their claims were not even worth commenting.

"It is not very useful to comment on people reminding animation characters," Usakovs said without specifying which animation film he had in mind, but he said that he found their statements funny.

Novodvorskaya and Borovoy are visiting Latvia at the invitation of Latvia's Democratic Patriots group.

On February 18 a referendum will be held in Latvia on the draft Constitutional amendments to make the Russian language the second state language in Latvia because the necessary number of signatures has been collected to put the issue to a popular vote. For the Constitutional amendments to take effect they have to be supported by at least 771,350 voters or 50 percent of the voting age population in the referendum.
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