Polls open in historic Latvian language referendum

Voting stations in Latvia have opened in a historic referendum on whether to make Russian the nation`s second national language.

Riga: Voting stations in Latvia have opened in a historic referendum on whether to make Russian the nation`s second national language.

Latvia`s minority Russians, who make up approximately one-third of the Baltic country`s 2.1 million people, believe that according official status to the Russian language will reverse what they claim has been 20 years of discrimination.

For ethnic Latvians, the Saturday referendum is a brazen attempt to encroach on Latvia`s independence, which was restored two decades ago after the country split from the Soviet Union.
The vote is expected to fail but widen the rift in Latvian society.

Bureau Report