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Latvian, Russian or multi-ethnic?

Identities and culture do not recognise border checkpoints. In the town of Rezekne, only an hour’s drive from the physical border with Russia, five young Latvians tell the Körber-Stiftung about their identity and everyday reality. Their answers open up a world of competing and overlapping identities, of mixed languages and stark rifts.

On 14 September 2017, the Latvian Parliament debated a draft law designed to buttress the use of Latvian as sole state language and extend penalties for non-compliance with official-language regulations. When looking at Latvia from the outside, the county seems to be divided along ethnic lines: the Latvian majority, and the Russian minority, in which people speak their own language and fail to integrate into the Latvian State. When speaking about their daily experiences to people who live along the border, however, the impression of a clear distinction between “us” and “them” somewhat fades.

Five young people give answers

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