New York Times on Russian "invasion" of Latvia (Duranty Lives!)

Two New York Times flavors blend into one horrific mess in "Latvia Fears New 'Occupation' by Russians but Needs the Labor". One of those flavors is one frequently discussed here: the NYT's lack of regard for national sovereignty and support for massive immigration. The other is a decades-long habit of supporting Soviet - now putatively Russian - misbehavior. Given the historical record (you know, that whole Communism thing), one might think that Latvia is fully justified in avoiding massive immigration from Russia. While that side of the issue is certainly explored, it's not explored in the depth that one might expect given that historical record. On the other hand, the article isn't as bad as NYT articles on the similar situation in the U.S., in which such fears would be treated with complete disdain.
[A long-time Russian resident of Latvia] inhabits a parallel universe that has little to do with Latvia. She watches a Kremlin-financed television station and eats Russian food. And she has no intention of learning Latvian ("Why the hell would I want to do that?"), though she says her grandchildren are being forced to do so...

...She has not [taken a new citizenship test], instead pinning her hopes on a new "Russian occupation" of Latvia. This, she says, is gaining force with the arrival of illegal workers from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. They have streamed in by the hundreds, if not thousands, to help fill the gap left by the nearly 100,000 Latvians who have left in search of a better life since their country joined the European Union in May 2004...

...But there was a price [to leaving the Soviet sphere and becoming part of the EU and NATO]: while economic growth shot up to 10 percent this year, the large westward migration of Latvians has left a gaping hole in the job market. Now the country must choose either to accept the economic necessity of immigration or to hold on to deep and abiding historical resentments...


I was born in 1971 in Riga. My mother was 2 years old when my Russian Grandmother and my Ukrainian Grandfather moved to Latvia. As true occupants, they spent their life's working (sometimes two jobs at the same time) at bread factory, as someone who is cleaning stairwells in the building, drove trucks, and other jobs that ethnic Latvians considered to be "dirty" and beneath them.

I will never forget how their children were instructed from early childhood never to play with us. Not because we were "occupants", but because were were lower class, could spread disease, ignorant subhumans.

My parents were first generation in their families to become college educated, they were associated with anti soviet crowd, I was raised to believe in freedom of expression and tolerance.
We constantly had hand-typed underground manuscripts at our house and never did we consider Latvians to be our enemy. But now, after the way they treated non-Latvian children and old people for past 20 years, I rejoice when I hear that for all their propaganda to contrary, they do need Russian heads and hands!

The Left/NYT gives the Soviets/Commies a free pass?

What else is old?

The woman's grandchildren are being forced to learn Latvian -- boo-hoo! During the Soviet era, the Russian language was, I imagine, a compulsory subject in school. What goes around, comes around, eh? Why would the woman want to learn Latvian? Well, it might show that she is a loyal citizen to her country of longtime residence. There is a substantial (30%) ethnic Russian population in Latvia, partly a result of Stalin's efforts to Russify and so ensure the loyalty of that country to the USSR. The Russians and Latvians differ not only in language but also in religion -- Russian Orthodox versus Lutheran.