Nacionālā apvienība in search of a solution to the fifth column problem

As the debate on the future of the so-called Victory Monument and the values befitting a Latvian citizen heats up in Latvia's bicommunal society, the bill promised by National Alliance (Nacionālā apvienība) board member Jānis Dombrava to rid Latvia of disloyal nationals is difficult to grasp, but at least is starting to take up some shape.
24.05.2022. Jānis Lasmanis
 
©Reinis Hofmanis/F64

"Latvia should not be inhabited by foreigners who hate Latvia. A bill will soon be pushed through where these people will have to leave our country," the politician wrote on Twitter on the evening of May 10.

The news that such a bill was being drafted sparked interest because, according to Latvia's international obligations, we can only expel or strip citizenship from nationals who have dual citizenship. However, when asked if he could tell us more about the draft law, Dombrava asked for more time. His party members contacted by Neatkarīgā, meanwhile, said they did not know enough about the issue to be able to comment.

Some clarity was brought by the organizers of the march "For liberation from the Soviet legacy", which was organized as a counter to the events of May 10 at the so-called Victory Monument. On the day of the march, the unnamed activists registered an initiative on the website Manabalss.lv "For the expulsion from Latvia of persons disloyal to the Latvian state and deprivation of citizenship of the Republic of Latvia".

"We demand legislative amendments to provide for the expulsion from Latvia of persons disloyal to the State of Latvia and the deprivation of citizenship of the Republic of Latvia (...) The public will benefit from a secure environment that will eliminate threats and strengthen the Latvian state. Together with loyal foreigners, it will strengthen Latvian self-confidence and the conviction that our country, where we live, study and work, is indivisible also in its views on national values, territory, principles, laws and language," write the authors of the initiative.

The initiative needs 10,000 citizen signatures to be submitted to the Saeima. As of last Friday and Monday afternoon, 2,095 citizens had signed it. In the history of Manabalss.lv, there are initiatives that gather the required thousands of signatures faster.

As the draft law submitted by Dombrava is very similar to the citizens' initiative, Neatkarīgā asked the MP whether he is connected to it. "I can neither deny nor confirm it. I am positive that we are of like mind on this issue," the politician replied.

When Dombrava was reminded that Latvian citizenship or non-citizen status can only be withdrawn from persons who have dual nationality, he expressed confidence that as the political will matures, a legally correct way to implement this idea will surely be found.

"It is similar to the dismantling of that shameful monument. Four months ago, colleagues from the more liberal parties would have said that we could never demolish this object in their lifetime, but now they are calling for it. I think that we will end up with these people leaving as well (...) The legal solution would in some ways be similar to that of the Victory Square site. We have been calling for 20 years for a solution to this problem - when the conditions are ripe, everyone is ready to do it. The legal solution will be found to make it happen,"

says Dombrava. He also recalls that, with the Russian invasion, people disloyal to Ukraine created significant problems for them by cooperating with the occupiers and providing them with information on the locations of the Ukrainian defense forces.

Rihards Kols, a member of Dombrava's party and head of the Saeima's Foreign Affairs Committee, acknowledges that Latvia can only deprive of citizenship or non-citizen status persons who belong to another country. He therefore believes that Latvia should update a 27-year-old agreement with the Russian government "On the regulation of migration processes and the protection of migrants' rights".

This agreement regulates the voluntary choice of persons to leave their country of residence and move to a permanent place of residence in the territory of another country. The agreement provides for a number of rights for migrants, including the right to remove all declared movable or immovable property from the country of departure, to leave movable and immovable property in the country of departure, and others. There are also obligations on both states with regard to the transfer process.

"It contains various facilitations if a person wishes to move to Russia permanently. I think this program needs to be updated. For persons who feel that they have oppressive conditions here and whose values are not in line with our values, the state could help them to move to the country that meets their wishes. Perhaps even an information campaign is needed! After all, the agreement is so old that very many people are probably not aware of it. And the offer is quite simple and has been available since 1995," said the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

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