Russian School Defense Staff
Russian School Defense Staff or Headquarters for the Protection of Russian Schools (Russian: Штаб защиты русских школ; Latvian: Krievu skolu aizstāvības štābs) — movement in Latvia for protection of public secondary education in Russian. Leaders: Vladimir Buzayev, Gennady Kotov, Yury Petropavlovsky, Miroslavs Mitrofanovs, Mihail Tyasin, Viktor Dergunov, Vladislav Rafalsky, for some time also Alexander Kazakov (deported out of Latvia in 2004), one of the most prominent spokesmen — Yakov Pliner.
Aims of the movement
Cancelling the Education law provisions, which originally ordered the language of instruction in public secondary schools (Forms 10-12) to be only Latvian (later - at least 60% Latvian) since 2004. It also supports providing effective learning of Latvian language in the Latvian language and literature lessons and specific preparation of teachers for Russian schools.
The Staff was founded in April 2003 as a coalition of various organizations, most prominent being ForHRUL, and later expanded, involving nonpartisan people. In 2003–2004, the Staff has organized political demonstrations (according to the Freedom House and political scientist T. Boguševiča, the biggest ones in Latvia since the beginning of the 1990s) to protest to expanding use of Latvian language in Russian schools.
As a result, the Education law was amended in February 2004, allowing to teach up to 40% in the forms 10-12 in minority languages. The proportion of teaching 60% of subjects in Latvian and 40% in Russian, according to BISS research, was supported by 20% of the teachers, 15% of pupils and 13% of parents in minority schools and most stated that they would rather support bilingual instruction in all subjects; only 15% of teachers thought that no reform was needed, while this opinion was expressed by 36% of parents and 44% of pupils. The parliamentary opposition started two cases before the Constitutional Court of Latvia (abjudicated in May and September, 2005) with most of its demands being refused.
- Boguševiča T. Mazākumtautību protesta kustību veidošanās: Latvijas krievvalodīgās minoritātes gadījuma analīze Rīga, LU SZF, 2009 — 107. lpp.(Latvian)
- Штаб защиты русских школ, официальный сайт
- Заявление о создании штаба по защите русских школ. Published in: "Ракурс" No. 1/2003 The text of the founding statement is available online (Russian)
- Freedom in the World 2005. Latvia Freedom House
- Boguševiča T. Mazākumtautību protesta kustību veidošanās: Latvijas krievvalodīgās minoritātes gadījuma analīze Rīga, LU SZF, 2009 — 95. lpp.(Latvian)
- Cittautiešu jauniešu integrācija Latvijas sabiedrībā izglītības reformas kontekstā. B. Zepas redakcijā. Baltijas Sociālo zinātņu institūts, 2004 — 79. lpp.
- D. Wilson Minority Rights in Education: Lessons for the EU from Estonia, Latvia (..), 2002 — p. 36—43
- List of the most considerable protests in 2003-2005
- Latvians face new wall: language (CNN, 2004)
- Excerpts from RFE/RL news on Baltic minorities, January-April 2004
- Teachers in crossfire over Latvia's school reform (Reuters, 2004)
- Thousands of Russian speakers protest new school language rules (AP, 2004)
- Latvian lessons irk Russians (BBC, 2005)
- Judgement of Latvia's Constitutional Court regarding the Education Law provisions on medium of instruction, 2005
- Latvian minorities: The educational reform British Helsinki Human Rights Group, 2005
- Discussion in the European Parliament, 2005
- Russian and Latvian
- Staff site (Russian)
- Staff video clip «Black Karlis» (referring to then-minister for education Kārlis Šadurskis) (Russian)
- Basic excerpts from Staff documents, international treaties and links: (Russian), (Latvian)
- Education law — edition being in force between 27.02.2004. and 15.09.2005.(Latvian)
- Chronicle of Staff actions: 2003-2004, 2004-2005(Russian)
- Staff site (Russian)