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    Ambassador of Latvia to Russia Astra Krume

    Latvia Forced to Deny That Speaking Russian Banned in the Workplace

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    Astra Krume, Ambassador of Latvia to Russia, denied that the use of Russian at work places has been prohibited in Latvia.

    MOSCOW, January 22 (Sputnik) Ambassador of Latvia to Russia Astra Krume denied on Thursday that the use of Russian at work places has been prohibited in Latvia.

    "I can reassure you that absolutely nothing about the status of the Russian language in Latvia has changed. It was the recommendation of the Latvian State Language Center to use the national language in the professional environment more frequently. But it does not curtail the rights of the Russian language [usage] anyhow," Astra Krume told reporters.

    The ambassador added that the information on the alleged prohibition of using Russian had only been printed in the Russian press.

    Nevertheless, "Russian will never become an official language in Latvia," the ambassador stated.

    On Friday, Latvia's State Language Center proposed that personnel in the service sector, for example those who work in shops, restaurants and public transport, should only speak Latvian, including during interpersonal communication, as even private conversations between employees may be heard by clients.

    Following the statement, a number of Russian news outlets published alarmist articles claiming that usage of Russian had been banned and from now on Russian tourists would not be able to make bookings at Latvian hotels or shop at Latvian supermarkets, as the staff would refuse to communicate with them in Russian.

    Russians are the biggest national minority in Latvia making up 26 percent of the country's population, according to national statistics. Some 40 percent of the population speak Russian.

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