There is Unjustified Hate Towards Ordinary Russians in Latvia Right Now
Valentina is a young girl from Latvia but her parents are Russian. She is against the war in Ukraine and doesn’t support Putin’s actions. However, she witnesses unfair treatment of Russians and Russian-speaking people in her home country and she doesn’t want to remain silent about it. Here is what she shared with us:
“My family is Russian. I have lots of relatives who live in Russia and also my dad has a Russian passport because it’s really difficult to get a Latvian passport even if you lived in Latvia your whole life.
If we talk about the war, I was on the side of Ukraine because what's happening there is horrible and I know that it's extremely difficult for Ukrainian people, especially the ones who live abroad, and their family is in Ukraine without the possibility to get out.
I have also lived abroad for a long time and missed my family. I know how hard it is, I can only imagine but there is also another side to all of this.
The hate and disrespect that's coming toward EACH AND EVERY Russian-speaking person or just Russian people are enormous.
People do not even care to ask which side you are on, you will be hated and disrespected just because of your nationality. And I find it extremely frustrating. Let me give you an example from my home country, Latvia.
Authorities there make people, in this case, small kids in schools, to make a decision about which side they are on. Which I think is stupid because they are kids, and if they say Russia, they will be faced with disrespect and hate, even though these kids do not understand anything.
Ukrainians think that every Russian is someone who wants to occupy their country. Some even think that Russians who live in Latvia should go back to Russia. But why? These people lived there their whole lives in Latvia, they paid taxes, worked, raised kids, etc. And I don't think it's fair to say so.
Right now if you speak Russian in Latvia you can be easily beaten, for no reason. It all started with this war and Russian-speaking people are in danger just because of the general hate towards Russia and its government. Another example I can give is when one girl who was speaking Russian was pepper-sprayed in the face. It’s not fair.
So if you ask me what side I am on, I will say I am on the side of Ukraine, but I am frustrated because of the hate that comes towards every Russian-speaking person. This is not fair to us. You speak Russian then you automatically become the enemy. Why then do Ukrainians speak Russian abroad? Why do they leave their country and go to another and speak Russian? Applying their logic, does this mean they are occupying this country by speaking Russian? I find this very annoying and it makes the life of an ordinary Russian very difficult. Nobody even thinks about the psychological health of these people, when everyone thinks only about how bad the situation is in Ukraine. Why are people not noticing what's happening outside of Ukraine with every Russian person living abroad? It’s crazy and unfair!”
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