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    RUSSIAN TOP, HCNM TO DISCUSS ETHNIC RUSSIANS' PROBLEMS IN POST-SOVIET BALTICS

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 5, RIA NOVOSTI - Rolf Ekeus, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, is visiting Moscow, March 9 into 11. Russian diplomats will use the occasion to discuss ethnic Russians' plight in Latvia and Estonia, reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs press and information department.

    Russia is eager for ever closer goodneighbourly ties with those countries-but these ties certainly depend on what is done to guarantee ethnic Russians' rights and put an end to Moscow alarm with their wrongs, say ministerial PR.

    As they point out, the Latvian parliament stubbornly refuses to ratify a Council of Europe framework convention on protecting ethnic minorities, though it was signed back in 1995. Latvia has passed discriminatory amendments to its Education Law. A secondary educational reform underway there is spearheaded against Russian as tuition language, so ethnic Russian children have an ever smaller chance to be educated in their native tongue.

    As for Estonia, it has made certain progress in that respect, but is not yet up to international standards of ethnic minorities' rights. Its laws on aliens' status, elections and education, and numerous bylaws make the command of the titular language and certain other factors bad obstacles to ethnic non-Estonians' political activism and economic enterprise.

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