Latvia–Russia relations

Latvia–Russia relations



Latvia–Russia relations (Latvian: Krievijas—Latvijas attiecības or Latvijas—Krievijas attiecības, Russian: Российско-латвийские отношения or Латвийско-российские отношения) is the bilateral foreign relations between Latvia and Russia. Latvia has an embassy in Moscow and two consulates general: in Pskov and Saint Petersburg. Russia has an embassy in Riga and two consulates general: in Daugavpils and Liepāja.

Both Russia and Latvia are members of UN, OSCE and Council of Europe. They have recognized each other since 1991.


From 1920 to 1940, relations between the countries had existed, too (but in 1922 USSR had been founded, which took over the foreign affairs of its member states, including Russia).

The Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940, which included deportations to Siberian Gulags (June deportation), created a large degradation of Latvian-Russian relations. Nazi Germany then occupied Latvia in 1941 German occupation of Latvia during World War II, until the USSR returned in 1944 to resume occupation, resulting in further deportations. During this period many Latvians fled with the retreating Germans or to Sweden.

The Soviet occupation dramatically increased the number of Russians living in Latvia in a short space of time, often replacing those who were deported. The high influx of Russians and the removal of Latvian as the official language caused further deteriorations in the Latvia-Russian relations between citizens.

In 1991, Latvia gained independence from the USSR through the Latvian independence and democracy poll, 1991.

In 2007, the border treaty between the two states was ratified, after the Constitutional Court of Latvia found it constitutional.

Withdrawal of Russian troops and the decommissioning of Skrunda-1

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation maintained its military presence in Latvia. It had troops stationed there and it continued to run the Skrunda-1 radar station. As early as 1992 [1] Russia agreed to start withdrawing its troops from Latvia. Following a 30 April 1994 agreement, Latvia allowed Russia to run the Skrunda-1 radar station for four more years in exchange for the full withdrawal of the Russian troops.[2] Russia adhered to this agreement and withdrew its remaining troops from Latvia in August 1994 (except for the troops stationed around Skrunda, who received permission to stay longer). One of the towers of the Skrunda-1 base was demolished with the help of the United States in May 1995.[3] In August 1998, Skrunda-1 suspended operations. Russia eventually dismantled the equipment and withdrew its remaining military personnel the following year.[4] These steps marked a symbolic end to the Russian military presence and World War II on the territory of Latvia.[5]

Violation of minority rights

Russia often criticizes Latvia for discriminating against the Russian-speaking population.[6][7][8][9][10][11] Russia has also participated in a number of cases of complaints against Latvia in the European Court of Human Rights as a third party. These cases also dealt with the violation of the rights of the Russian minority in Latvia. Such cases included Slivenko v. Latvia, Kononov v. Latvia, Vikulov and others v. Latvia,[12] Sisojeva And Others v Latvia, and Vasilevskiy v. Latvia.

Bilateral agreements

While some agreements have been signed by representatives of Latvia and Russia, not all have been passed by their respective legislatures and are therefore not in force. This list is limited to agreements in force.[13]


Ambassadors of Latvia in Russia


  1. RUSSIA, LATVIA AGREE ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL Deseret News. 3 February 1992. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  2. "Latvia takes over the territory of the Skrunda Radar Station". Embassy of the Republic of Latvia in Copenhagen. 21 October 1999. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  3. U.S. EXPERTS DEMOLISH `MONSTER' TOWER IN LATVIA Deseret News. 4 May 1995. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  4. The Weekly Crier (1999/10) Baltics Worldwide. October 1999. Retrieved 19 June 2013
  5. SKRUNDA SHUTS DOWN. The Jamestown Foundation. 1 September 1998. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  6. Assessment for Russians in Latvia Minorities at Risk. 31 December 2006. Retrieved 19 June 2013
  7. Latvia criticized for abuse of minority rights Voice of Russia. 25 August 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2013
  8. Latvia: Treatment of ethnic Russians; whether ethnic Russians face discrimination; availability of state protection (January 2004 - December 2005) UNCHR (originally published by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada). 19 January 2006. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  9. (Russian) МИД РФ: Латвийский закон о СМИ ущемляет интересы русскоязычного населения Rosbalt. 15 July 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  10. EU concerned over discrimination against Russian communities in Latvia, Estonia Pravda. 9 January 2003. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  11. 1999 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Latvia US Department of State. 23 February 2000. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
  12. (Russian) Россия выступит третьей стороной в деле "Викуловы против Латвии" RIA Novosti. 15 January 2004. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  13. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia: Bilateral agreements Originally retrieved at the Embassy of Latvia in Moscow web site. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
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