Disinfo: Rights of Russian-speaking people are violated in the Baltic States and Ukraine


Why does Europe not mention Russians with ambiguous statuses in the Baltic States? The West speaks about the violation of the rights of Crimean people; they do not mention violation of the language rights of Russians in Ukraine.


This is a recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narrative about discrimination of the Russian-speaking minority and ubiquitous Russophobia in the Baltic states and beyond.

In this narrative, Kremlin-backed propaganda appeals to Europe/the West accusing it of double standards, the situation with human rights in annexed Crimea is presented on the same level as accusations of the rights of Russian-speaking people in the Baltic states and Ukraine being violated.

The reference to 'Russians with ambiguous statuses in the Baltic states' means so-called “non-citizens” of Latvia and Estonia. Often, these are Russian-speaking people who moved to Latvia and Estonia during Soviet times, and stayed in the Baltic states after the collapse of the Soviet Union but were not automatically entitled to Latvian or Estonian citizenship or the citizenship of any other country. However, non-citizens of Latvia can become citizens through a simple naturalisation procedure with a similar possibility available to non-citizens in Estonia.

The claim about the language rights of Russians in Ukraine being violated is also false. On April 25 2019, the Verkhovna Rada passed the law 'on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language' but this law does not discriminate against any other languages. Russian, as well as other languages, can be used in private communication, religious ceremonies, press, book publishing etc. The law also allows the use of other languages in the healthcare system and law enforcement.

See other cases of disinformation linked to language issue: Estonia again on the way to war against Russian language, Ukraine forbids 40% of the people to speak Russian.


  • Reported in: Issue 219
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/11/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Ukraine, Baltic states
  • Keywords: Ukraine, Human rights, Russian language, Ethnic Russians, Baltic states


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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