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Tatyana Zhdanok

Tatyana Zhdanok

Tatyana Zhdanok (08.05.1950, Riga) (born Hesina) - the first Russian deputy of the European Parliament, Latvian political leader. Co-chairperson of the Board of the political party «Latvian Russian Union».

Tatyana Zhdanok was born in Riga in the Russian-Jewish family and considered Russian as her mother tongue.

Her grandparents were doctors and worked in Riga.

Her parents for a long time lived in Leningrad, her father was the II nd World War participant and the military officer of the Baltic fleet, mother -  a teacher of maths.

In 1952 Zhdanok's parents moved to Riga where T.Zhdanok graduated from the faculty of physics and mathematics of the University of Latvia and did post-graduate programme. T.Zhdanok  had traineeship in France and as a result mastered the French language.

In 1980 Tatyana Zhdanok gained the scientific candidate degree in physics and mathematics. From 1972 to 1990 she taught maths at the University of Latvia in Russian and Latvian groups. In 1992 T.Zhdanok became the doctor of maths.

During the Soviet times T.Zhdanok was a member of the Communist party, but when the so-called “perestroika” occurred in 1988 she joined the People's front of  Latvia which condemned the Soviet regime and occupation. However, when the activities of the People's Front became diverted to nationalism and restoration of the independence of the Republic of  Latvia in 1989 she got involved in the activities of the so-called “International Front”, which contrary to the People's Front called for the preservation of the Soviet Union including Latvia as its constituent part.

In 1989 T.Zhdanok was elected deputy of Riga Council and next year-deputy of the Supreme Council of  Latvia. This Parliament functioned till 1993 implementing the historic mission -  the transition to the state independence of Latvia.

Nevertheless, Tatyana Zhdanok criticized the nationalistic trend of the Declaration of Independence aiming at ethnocentrism and denying other nationalities civil rights and citizenship.

In 1992 T.Zhdanok became one of the founders of  Latvian committee on human rights which rendered legal service to Latvian residents deprived of their legal rights and forced to leave Latvia though it was their native land.

T.Zhdanok herself suffered from unfair citizenship laws and had to assert her lawful right to Latvian citizenship through legal proceedings in court.

The Committee prepared reports to international organizations and advocated the idea of social integration.

Tatyana Zhdanok participated in the shooting of TV series “We” created in the framework of the project of the Council of Europe, designed to the involvement of Russian speaking people in the process of mastering Latvian.

In 1993 T.Zhdanok became one of the founders of the movement “Equal rights”. She and her associates founded the party “Equal rights” in 1997 which advocated the interests of the Russian Community of Latvia, social justice and human rights and became its co-chairperson.

In 1998 party “Equal rights”  joined the political unity “For Human Rights in United Latvia” initially consisted of 3 left-wing parties. In 2003 there was a split in the unity due to political incongruences.  After the split  T.Zhdanok established a new unity “For Human Rights in United Latvia”.

Tatyana Zhdanok as a leader of the unity rendered the utmost support of the movement for the protection of  Russian schools which conducted mass protest actions against the transformation of  Russian schools into Latvian as the only language of instruction.

In 2004 T.Zhdanok was elected deputy of the European Parliament from the unity and became the first Russian deputy of the Europarliament. There she joined the left wing and centrist coalition of the Green and European free alliance.

One of the main achievements of  T.Zhdanok's activities in Europarliament was promotion of the introduction of free movement of  Latvian and Estonian non-citizens to the European Union.

Situation with non-citizens in the Baltic States has become one of her priorities.

In 2005 was created European Russian alliance - unity of  Russian public organizations leaders of the EU states.

In 2009 T.Zhdanok was re-elected into the Europarliament as its deputy and was awarded the Order of  Friendship for great contribution into the development of cultural links with Russia.

Tatyana Zhdanok is highly esteemed in Latvia, Russia and Europe for her  activities for human and civil rights.

Элина Чуянова. «Наш русский удар по двойным стандартам»