May 01, 2010

Letters to the Editor

To the Editors:

As a subscriber to Russian Life, I am always pleased with having the opportunity to learn more about Russian culture and history. Having said that, I was quite troubled by Alina Lisina’s article (March/April, 2010) about Russian Riga.

As someone who studies and conducts field research in the Baltic States, including Riga, the use of the phrase “After Latvian independence in 1991,” is at best factually incorrect, and at worst, inflammatory (i.e. 1991 represented a return to Latvian independence). This in conjunction with terms such as “briefly an independent nation,” also negatively connotes Latvian’s status as a distinct nation of the world. Furthermore, without supporting or condemning the language laws, I would suggest Estonia has also followed a similar path to Latvia in regards to their official language policies (and I would suggest the implication that “in other former Soviet republics, longtime residents automatically received citizenship” is misleading – particularly for ethnic Russian military members living in these countries at the time of re-independence).

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