Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Former Moscow Mayor Luzhkov On Latvian “Blacklist” -Russian Should Be Official Language In Latvia

Posted by Info on 17/01/2011

Yuri Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscowwho was sacked by Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in September 2010 over his lacklustre response to wildfires around the Russian capital, is unlikely to get the Latvian residence permit.

Luzhkov had applied for the residence permit at the end of 2010.. But the Interior Minister Linda Murniece said she had decided to add Luzhkov’s name to a ‘blacklist’ of individuals considered persona non grata. Anyone on the list is ineligible for residency.

One of Luzhkov’s final acts as Moscow mayor was to make an official visit to the Latvian capital Riga in July 2010. During the visit, he caused controversy by stating that Russian should be an official language in Latvia, where around one-third of the population speak Russian as their mother tongue.

Since then, reports that Luzhkov and his wife were looking to buy property in the expensive seaside resort of Jurmala have been a staple of the gossip columns.
Jurmala was one of the Soviet Union’s most exclusive resorts and remains a favourite among rich Russians.
Under amendments to Latvian law introduced last July, citizens from outside the European Union who make significant real estate or business investments in Latvia are entitled to apply for residence permits.

As Latvia is a member of the EU’s border-free Schengen Zone, residents then gain unrestricted access to most of the EU.

Latvian bank Rietumu has run a high-profile campaign to help wealthy Russians apply for Latvian residence permits using the slogan ‘Welcome to the EU.’


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