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Source: Russian Federation Government 2

I express my extreme concern that on October 9 the Latvian security forces detained a citizen of the Russian Federation, the chairman of the Republican Society of military pensioners, retired colonel Vladimir Norvind, who had permanently resided in Riga, and subsequently, without explanation and social documents, expelled him from his country of permanent residence.

Mr. Norvind, has been a head of the Society of Military Pensioners, which has in its ranks ex-Soviet military officers and soldiers who permanently reside in Latvia but receive their pensions from the Russian Federation. As is known, the organization, which included more than 2 thousand military pensioners was liquidated by the court decision in April this year. The final court session, which can decide the fate of the Veterans Society, will be held behind closed doors on November 16.

Vladimir Norvind lived in Latvia for 45 years, of which for 25 years he was engaged in the protection of the rights and interests of military pensioners who remained on the territory of the republic after the withdrawal of Soviet troops. The purpose of the activities of the society he heads, according to the charter of this organization, was to ensure a decent standard of living for veterans.

On October 10, the Latvian authorities deported the military pensioner from the country and cancelled his residence permit. No consideration was given to the fact that Mr. Norvind’s has been suffering from cardiac arrhythmia and was admitted to the hospital on the eve of his deportation, nor to a humanitarian aspect of the decision to take the elderly person away from his family.

It should be especially noted that Mr. Norvind’s wife is a citizen of Latvia, and, as it is widely known, truly civilized states do not deport foreigners who have stable family ties in the country of permanent residence.

Such actions caused a wide resonance in the Russian and Latvian media, as well as the active response from public organizations. The thirteenth conference of organizations of Russian compatriots in Latvia called on the Minister of Internal Affairs of Latvia to allow V.S. Norvind to return to his country of permanent residence. The conference stated: “We are deeply convinced that this decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Latvia grossly violates human rights and directly violates Article 2 of the agreement between Latvia and Russia of 1994 on social protection of military pensioners of the Russian Federation and their family members residing in the territory of the Republic of Latvia”. The agreement explicitly states that “individuals who, according to article 1, are subject to this Agreement and who permanently resided in the territory of the Republic of Latvia as of January 28, 1992 (…) retain the right to unimpeded residence in the territory of the Republic of Latvia if they wish.”

The petition issued by the conference was supported by representatives of the “Russian Community of Latvia”, the Latvian Committee for Human Rights (FIDH), the public organization “Latvian Association of Fighters of the Anti-Hitler Coalition”, the society of former juvenile prisoners of Nazi concentration camps “Memory for the Future”, the society of the blockade of Leningrad, the public organization “Children of War” and the Russian Society in Latvia.

The document was also sent to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Volker Frobart, the representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to the Latvian-Russian Commission on Military Pensioners.

“The massacre committed in Riga over an elderly sick person is outright shocking. This is a violation of all generally accepted moral, ethical, and humanitarian norms”, said Maria Zakharova, spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry. In her speech, she stressed that “the provocative action against one of the representatives of the national movement has clearly demonstrated the inhuman cruelty of Latvian nationalism. Riga can be sure that this incident will not be left without consequences”.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation expressed its strong protest to the Latvian authorities: “Contrary to the generally accepted consular practice, the country of citizenship represented by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Latvia has not been made aware of the intentions and actions of the Latvian authorities in relation to the Russian citizen, as well as the motives for these steps”.

In my own turn, I appealed to the Ombudsman and the official bodies of the Republic of Latvia to reconsider the decision to deport Vladimir Norvind and allow him to reunite with his family.

I called on the Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia to distance himself from politics while considering the case of a person who had a residence permit and spent most of his life in Latvia.

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