Latvian Russian Union

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Latvian Russian Union
Latvijas Krievu savienība
Co-chairpersons Tatjana Ždanoka
Jurijs Petropavlovskis
Miroslavs Mitrofanovs
Founded 1998 (electoral alliance)
2007 (party)
Merger of Equal Rights,
Free Choice in People's Europe
Headquarters Riga
Ideology Democratic socialism,[1]
Russian minority politics[1]
European affiliation European Free Alliance[2] (observer)
International affiliation None
European Parliament group The Greens–European Free Alliance
Colours Blue, red
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European Parliament
1 / 8

The Latvian Russian Union (Latvian: Latvijas Krievu savienība, Russian: Русский союз Латвии) is an ethnic minority, left-wing political party in Latvia, supported mainly by ethnic Russians and other Russian-speaking minorities. The Co-chairpersons of the party are Tatjana Ždanoka, Jurijs Petropavlovskis and Miroslavs Mitrofanovs.[3]

The party emphasizes issues important to the Russian minority in Latvia. It requests the granting of Latvian citizenship to all of Latvia's remaining non-citizens and supports Russian and Latgalian as co-official languages in municipalities where at least 20% of the population are native speakers of such a language. It supports stronger ties with Russia and was the only major political organization to oppose Latvia's membership in NATO. Socially, it is very conservative as is its voter base. Economic issues are less emphasized but the party's economic positions tend to be left-wing.


The party originated as the electoral alliance For Human Rights in a United Latvia (ForHRUL) (Latvian: Par cilvēka tiesībām vienotā Latvijā, PCTVL; Russian: За права человека в единой Латвии, ЗаПЧЕЛ) that was established in May 1998 by three political parties: the National Harmony Party, Equal Rights and the Socialist Party of Latvia (despite the name a hardline communist organization), all of which were mainly supported by Russophone voters. The alliance won 16 out of 100 seats in the 1998 parliamentary election and 25 seats in the 2002 parliamentary election, as well as 13 out of 60 seats on Riga City Council in the 2001 municipal elections. After the municipal elections, ForHRUL became part of Riga's city government and National Harmony Party member Sergejs Dolgopolovs became the vice-mayor of Riga.

During this period, ForHRUL's most prominent leaders were Jānis Jurkāns, Alfrēds Rubiks and Tatjana Ždanoka. Jurkāns was a leader of the Popular Front of Latvia and founder of the National Harmony Party; Rubiks and Ždanoka were prominent as leaders of the Interfront movement, the Latvian branch of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the federalist movement in Latvia in the early 1990s. They are fairly popular in the Russian community but very unpopular among ethnic Latvians. ForHRUL therefore remained in opposition, because other parties would have faced a backlash from ethnic Latvian voters if they entered into a coalition with Rubiks or Ždanoka.

ForHRUL partially broke up in 2003. The National Harmony Party was the first to leave the alliance and the Socialist Party followed half a year later. The remnant of ForHRUL consisted of Equal Rights and Free Choice in Peoples' Europe (Latvian: Brīvā izvēle tautu Eiropā, BITE). The latter was composed of dissident Socialist Party and National Harmony Party members, like Jakovs Pliners, who opposed the decision to quit the alliance. This reduced grouping had only 6 members of the Saeima (out of 25 that the alliance had before the breakup). ForHRUL was the main force supporting Russian School Defense Staff activities from 2003-2005.

At the first Latvian election to the European Parliament in 2004, ForHRUL gained one seat, held by Tatjana Ždanoka, who sat with the Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament.[4] It also proposed the idea of a Europe-wide party of ethnic Russians. ForHRUL supported a federal Europe, with a "common economic and political space from Lisbon to Vladivostok".

In 2007 ForHRUL was transformed into a single party that retained the name and identity of the old electoral alliance. In recent years the party's support has declined as ethnic Russian voters have switched allegiance to the Harmony party, successor to the National Harmony Party. At the 2010 parliamentary election, the party lost its representation in the Latvian Parliament.

In 2011, the party launched an unsuccessful popular initiative on amending the law governing Latvian nationality. The Central Electoral Commission considered the proposed amendment to be incompatible with the Constitution of Latvia and the process of collecting signatures for a referendum on the proposals was suspended. This decision was eventually upheld by the Constitutional Court of Latvia and the Supreme Court of Latvia. It also supported the 2012 initiative to make Russian a co-official language in Latvia.

In January 2014 ForHRUL changed its name to the Latvian Russian Union. At the 2014 European Parliament election, it retained its single seat in the European Parliament. The party supported the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and has taken a pro-Russian stance in the subsequent War in Donbass. In August 2014 the party signed a cooperation agreement with the Crimean branch of Russian Unity to "strengthen the unity of 'Russkiy Mir' (The "Russian world")". Russian Unity was instrumental in making the annexation of Crimea possible.[5][6][7][8]

Election Results[edit]

Parliament (Saeima)[edit]

Election year # of
 % of
# of seats won +/− Notes
2002 189,088 19.1
25 / 100
Increase 9
2006 54,684 6.1
6 / 100
Decrease 19
2010 13,845 1.47
0 / 100
Decrease 6
2011 7,109 0.78
0 / 100
2014 14,390 1.58
0 / 100

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of votes  % of votes # of overall seats won +/− Notes
2004 61,401 10.66
1 / 9
Increase 1
2009 76,436 9.66
1 / 8
2014 28, 303 6.38
1 / 8

Riga City Council (Rīgas Dome)[edit]

Election year # of votes  % of votes # of overall seats won +/− Notes
2005 27728 13.68
9 / 60
Decrease 4
2009 6519 2.7
0 / 60
Decrease 9
2013 n/a n/a
0 / 60

See also[edit]


External links[edit]