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83% of Latvia’s ethnic minority population have strong sense of belonging to Latvia - survey
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    83% of Latvia’s ethnic minority population have strong sense of belonging to Latvia - survey

    RIGA, Oct 11 (LETA) - The vast majority of Latvia’s ethnic minority population, or 83 percent, have a strong or very strong sense of belonging to Latvia, and the figure has grown by 4 percent against last year and by 16 percent against 2015, shows a survey on ethnic minorities’ involvement in Latvia’s democratic processes.

    According to the survey, which has been commissioned by the Culture Ministry, Latvia’s ethnic Russians have grown increasingly proud of being part of Latvia – while in 2015 the percentage of ethnic Russian respondents taking pride in belonging to Latvia was 44 percent, this year the percentage of such respondents has risen to 59 percent.

    Ethnic minorities have also become more educated about the Stalinist deportations of 1940. The percentage of respondents regarding these reprisals as unjustifiable has grown from 42 percent in 2015 to 58 percent in 2017.

    Meanwhile, the popularity of May 9 celebrations has declined among Latvia’s ethnic minorities, with the percentage of respondents not marking the date having grown from 22 percent in 2015 to 43 percent in 2017.

    Asked about their attitude to NATO, 23 percent of respondents voiced approving attitudes. The European Union (EU) turned out to be more popular among Latvia’s ethnic minorities, with 53 percent voicing positive opinions about the bloc.

    At the same time, 62 percent of respondents are fond or very fond of Russia, the survey reveals.

    The Culture Ministry’s deputy state secretary Inita Paulovica said that although representatives of ethnic minorities often have critical attitudes to developments in Latvia, the survey shows that half of them consider themselves Latvia’s patriots.

    Asked to comment the opinion that state authorities promote harmonious relations among various ethnic groups, 33 percent said they agreed with it, 47 percent disagreed and 21 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.

    Meanwhile, 29 percent of respondents agreed that the state authorities support the respective minority’s language and culture in Latvia, 30 percent disagreed and 40 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.

    Paulovica said that when it comes to voting in elections, turnout among the ethnic minorities is about the same as among ethnic Latvians. The survey shows that 66 percent of respondents took part in the last European Parliament elections, 73 percent in the last Saeima elections and 76 percent participated in the last local elections.

    The survey was conducted by the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the University of Latvia, polling 922 representatives of Latvia’s ethnic minority population.

    According to the Central Statistics Bureau’s data, 740,715 of Latvia’s 1,950,116 inhabitants belong to ethnic minorities, which include 495,528 ethnic Russians, 64,257 Belarusians, 43,623 Ukrainians, 40,583 Poles, 23,327 Lithuanians, 5,191 Roma, 4,873 Jews, 2,529 Germans, 1,731 Estonians and 59,073 people of other ethnic origin.

    • Published: 11.10.2017 13:25
    • LETA
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