Levits: Latvian language must be national priority

To mark the State Language day of October 15, a discussion on Latvian language in university and science took place Monday, October 17, in which Latvia's President Egils Levits invited experts and the public to think about the place of Latvian language in the world. 

Levits said that the Latvian language should be defined as a specific sector of responsibility in the next coalition agreement, which could be transferred to the responsibility portfolio of the Minister for Education or Culture.

In his speech, the President of Latvia said that since last year, when the National Language Day was marked for the first time, a number of forward-looking political decisions have been taken to strengthen the meaning of Latvian in modern Latvia, but in his opinion, there is still much to be done.

“Russian aggression in Ukraine has led the public to awaken from a misunderstood tolerance to the colonial legacy of the Soviets, which already borders on cowardice. The public has become more sensitive and more discerning,” Levits said.

“A draft law prepared by public activists on the renaming of the streets and other names of the Soviet regime has been submitted to the Saeima. Unfortunately, the current Saeima has not yet adopted it. I very much hope it will be adopted by the next Saeima at the beginning of its activities,” the President of Latvia said.

"The removal of these Soviet and Russian imperialist markers is not a technical issue. It is a matter of thinking and perceptions of the world of Latvians, and Latvian citizens. It's a matter of seeing ourselves as a European nation with our national culture and values. In this world, there is no room for signs of the ideology of Soviet invaders and Russian imperialism."

Levits also mentioned a few more goals that should be achieved, like the quality of teaching Latvian in schools, more funding to social sciences and humanities, as well as the responsibility for the Latvian language at the government level.

“Latvian should become a national priority, through all areas of life. Only then can we be sure that the future of Latvia will be an educated and thinking society,” said the President of Latvia.

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