Latvian Russian Union

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Latvian Russian Union

Latvijas Krievu savienība
Co-chairpersonsMiroslav Mitrofanov
Yuriy Petropavlovsky
Tatjana Ždanoka[1]
Founded1998 (electoral alliance)
2007 (party)
Merger ofEqual Rights,
Free Choice in People's Europe
HeadquartersRiga
IdeologyDemocratic socialism[2]
Russian minority politics[2]
Russophilia[3]
[better source needed]
Political positionLeft-wing
European affiliationEuropean Free Alliance (observer)[4]
International affiliationNone
European Parliament groupThe Greens–European Free Alliance
ColoursBlue, red
Saeima
0 / 100
European Parliament
1 / 8
Website
rusojuz.lv

The Latvian Russian Union (Latvian: Latvijas Krievu savienība, Russian: Русский союз Латвии) (LKS) 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 Latvian Russian Union are Miroslav Mitrofanov, Yuriy Petropavlovsky and Tatjana Ždanoka.[1]

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. The Latvian Russian Union is very socially conservative,[citation needed] but left-wing on economic issues, though emphasis is mostly on social issues.

History[edit]

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, 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 Sergey Dolgopolov became the deputy mayor of Riga City Council.

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 Yakov Pliner, 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.[5] 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 Russian world".[6]

In July 2018, Ždanoka resigned her mandate in the European Parliament to focus on the 2018 Latvian parliamentary election and was succeed by Miroslav Mitrofanov.[7][8] With Andrejs Mamikins as their prime minister candidate[9] Latvian Russian Union gained 3.2% votes, failing to win any seats in Saeima, but qualifying for state funding of almost 20 000 euros a year[10] that the party will not be receiving since it does not possess an account in a credit institution registered in Latvia as required by the Law on Financing of Political Organizations.[11] Ždanoka blamed the poor election results on the party's "very modest" budget, but said self-liquidating is not on their agenda, assuring that the Latvian Russian Union "will continue working as usual". She also called Mamikins' Facebook following announcement on quitting politics "typical fake news, created to probe people’s reaction".[12]

Election results[edit]

Parliament (Saeima)[edit]

Election year # of
votes
% of
votes
# 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
Steady
2014 14,390 1.58
0 / 100
Steady
2018 27,014 3.20
0 / 100
Steady

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
Steady
2014 28,303 6.38
1 / 8
Steady
2019 29,546 6.24
1 / 8
Steady

Riga City Council (Rīgas Dome)[edit]

Election year # of votes % of votes # of overall seats won +/− Notes
2005 27,728 13.68
9 / 60
Decrease 4
2009 6,519 2.7
0 / 60
Decrease 9

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Leaders of Latvian Russian Union". Latvian Russian Union. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Nordsieck, Wolfram (2010). "Latvia". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 2011-07-26.
  3. ^ "Security Police detain pro-Russia activist". eng.lsm.lv.
  4. ^ "Member Parties". European Free Alliance.
  5. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Pro Russia party signs major deal with Crimea group". The Baltic Times. August 13, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  7. ^ "Ždanoka quits Brussels to run Saeima campaign for party". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. January 15, 2018. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  8. ^ "13th Saeima elections: The parties (Part 1)". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  9. ^ "Ždanoka may get shot at Saeima elections after all". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. June 30, 2018. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  10. ^ Klūga, Māris (October 8, 2018). "Three of the smaller parties to get state funding". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  11. ^ "No state cash for Latvian Russian Union". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. November 30, 2018. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  12. ^ "Zhdanok: LRU will not be liquidated; Mamikin will also remain active". Baltic News Network. October 30, 2018. Retrieved November 30, 2018.

External links[edit]