Oleg Zykov, the Russian chargé d’affaires in Latvia, sees a real possibility that the Riga authorities could forcibly deport Russian nationals from the country. This is reported by the Kremlin-affiliated Russian news agency “Tass“. Zykov emphasizes that what matters is what instructions the capital Riga gives to local officials and how committedly they are implemented.
Changes in immigration law
In September last year, the Latvian parliament, the Saeima, passed changes to the immigration law. These stipulate that Russian citizens living in Latvia must demonstrate knowledge of Latvian at the minimum level A2 if they want to maintain their permanent residence. Otherwise, they could face the withdrawal of their residence permit. According to Zykov, over 3,000 Russian citizens have already received notifications that their residence permits may soon end.
Hope for prudence
Despite the potential deportations, the Russian embassy remains hopeful. She believes that it is not in Riga’s interest to provoke a humanitarian crisis. Zykov expressed hope that common sense would prevail and that Latvia could prevent the situation from escalating.
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