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    RUSSIA TO RAISE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ISSUE IN LATVIA AT OSCE PA SESSION

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    MOSCOW, February 19. (RIA Novosti correspondent). The Russian delegation intends to raise the issue of human rights violations in Latvia at the winter session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Russian delegation and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in State Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian parliament).

    "We are determined to draw the attention to the situation with the Russian-speaking population living in the Baltic states, particularly in Latvia, in connection with the amendments to the Education Law, which were adopted in that country", said Mr Kosachev. "We will raise this issue at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly and we will demand sending OSCE observers to Latvia", he noted.

    Mr Kosachev supposed that the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly would also deal with the state of democracy in Russia in view of the State Duma election last December. As is well known, a number of OSCE observers stated that the Russian parliamentary election was "democratic, but not free".

    "We are planning to avoid in-depth discussion of the last election to the Russian State Duma. However, if necessary, we will be able to give a comprehensive explanation as we consider the election both democratic and free", underlined Mr Kosachev.

    "Unfortunately, OSCE has lately turned into an organization, which estimates the state of democracy in certain countries", noted Mr Kosachev.

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