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Orang Rusia mengambil ujian bahasa untuk mengelakkan pengusiran dari Latvia

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In a Stalinist-style skyscraper that dominates the skyline in Latvia’s capital city, dozens of elderly Russians await to take a Latvian language exam as a sign of loyalty to a nation where they have been living for decades.

Para peserta, kebanyakannya wanita, membaca nota mereka untuk membuat sebarang semakan saat akhir. Mereka takut mereka akan dibuang kerja jika gagal.

Peperangan di Ukraine telah mengubah keadaan. Kempen pilihan raya tahun lalu didominasi dengan persoalan mengenai identiti nasional dan kebimbangan terhadap keselamatan.

Dimitrijs Trofimovs ialah setiausaha kerajaan negeri Kementerian Dalam Negeri. Beliau berkata, kerajaan kini telah menuntut peperiksaan bahasa daripada 20,000 pemegang pasport Rusia di negara itu, yang kebanyakannya adalah wanita warga emas. Kesetiaan dan komitmen kepada Rusia di kalangan warga Rusia adalah kebimbangan.

“I would be deported if I was to leave, as I’ve lived here for over 40 years,” said Valentina, a 70-year-old former English teacher, Riga guide, and Riga native, after her last Latvian lesson at a private school located in the heart of Riga. She is now ready for her own Latvian exam.

“I took my Russian passport in 2011 so that I could easily visit my sick parents who live in Belarus. They are no longer there.”

Sevastjanova mengikuti kursus kemalangan selama tiga bulan bersama 11 wanita lain berusia antara 62 dan 74. Selepas Latvia bebas muncul pada 1991, masing-masing memohon pasport Rusia.

Mereka layak untuk bersara selepas 55 tahun, pencen di Rusia, dan perjalanan percuma visa ke Rusia dan Belarus.

Pengiklanan

Selepas Rusia menyerang Ukraine pada Februari tahun lalu, Latvia mematikan TV Rusia, memusnahkan monumen Perang Dunia Kedua dan kini sedang berusaha untuk menghapuskan pendidikan yang menggunakan bahasa Rusia.

Many of Latvia’s ethnic Russians who comprise about a quarter (1.9 million) of the population feel that they are kehilangan kedudukan mereka dalam masyarakat di mana hanya bercakap bahasa Rusia boleh diterima selama beberapa dekad.

Trofimovs stated that Russian citizens who fail the test before the end of this year will have a reasonable amount of time to leave. They could be “forced out” if they don’t leave.

He said that the people had “voluntary decided” to not take Latvian citizenship but rather another country’s. He said that the test was necessary because the Russian authorities justified the invasion of Ukraine with the need to protect Russian citizens abroad.

Sevastjanova: “I believe that learning Latvian was the right thing to do, but I think this pressure is wrong.

“People live in an environment that is Russian. They only speak Russian. Why not? It’s a big diaspora. There are Russian-speaking offices. There are Russian radio, TV, and newspapers. You can easily converse in Russian at shops and markets.”

For them to pass the exam, they must be able to speak and understand simple Latvian sentences. “I’d like to have dinner, and I prefer fish to meat,” explained Liene Voronenko of Latvia’s National Centre of Education.

“I love to learn languages and expected to be studying French when I retired. Now I’m learning Latvian. Oh well, why not?” Sevastjanova said.

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EU Reporter menerbitkan artikel daripada pelbagai sumber luar yang menyatakan pelbagai sudut pandangan. Jawatan yang diambil dalam artikel ini tidak semestinya jawatan Pemberita EU.

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