Latvian state language agency head denounces academic to Security Police

The following blog entry has been republished here courtesy of Free Speech Emergency in Latvia.

Based on media published excerpts of an interview by Sergejs Kruks, an academic researcher, the head of the Latvian State Language Agency (Valsts valoda aģentūra/VVA) Jānis Valdmanis, denounced the researcher to the Latvian Security Police, who summoned Kruks for questioning last week.

Kruks told the Latvian news agency BNS that his research indicated Latvians had to change or abandon some of their traditional values and give up the idea of preserving the country ” as an open-air museum” where poets and artists can make a living and where national costumes, the language and traditions are preserved.”

Valdmanis apparently interpreted this as a violation of laws against inciting ethnic hatred and asked the Security Police to investigate.

Kruks, an associate professor at the Riga Stradiņa university, is the second academic in recent years to be investigated by the Security Police for statements made to journalists and published in the media. Dmitrijs Smirnovs, a lecturer in economics at a college in Ventspils was arrested, taken to Security Police headquarters in Riga and held for two days after suggesting that people should not trust Latvian banks and the Latvian lat at a round-table discussion published in a local newspaper.

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