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    Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich

    Latvian Language Center's Recommendations Discriminate Russian Speakers

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    Spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Latvian State Language Center's recommendations to use only the Latvian language at work places prove Riga's policy of discrimination toward non-title citizens.

    MOSCOW, January 24 (Sputnik) The Latvian State Language Center's (Valsts valodas centrs in Latvian) recommendations to use only the Latvian language at work places prove Riga's policy of discrimination toward non-title citizens, Alexander Lukashevich, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said Saturday.

    "Although, judging by Riga's comments, those are just 'recommendations', not a directive, the intention is very clear. [The recommendations] assert the general course of discrimination toward non-title population, primarily Russian-speaking citizens," Lukshevich was quoted as saying on the ministry's website.

    He added that such policy undermined efforts to provide national minorities in Latvia with rights to preserve their native language.

    "Such 'appeals' from a state body of the Republic of Latvia divide the society and contradict numerous recommendations by international institutions to provide national minorities with rights to preserve and continuously use their [native] language," Lukashevich said.

    On Monday, the Latvian State Language Center suggested that staff of the country's shops, restaurants and public transport use only the Latvian language, including during interpersonal communication in front of clients.

    On Thursday, Ambassador of Latvia to Russia Astra Krume stressed that these were only recommendations concerning professional environment, and that they did not curtail the right to use the Russian language.

    Russians in Latvia make up 26 percent of the country's population, according to national statistics. Some 40 percent of those living in Latvia speak Russian.

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