Language in a Multicultural Community: the Case of Daugavpils

Miroslav Mitrofanov

Published in 1998 by Forum Eastern Europe,

88 Bowhill Avenue, Nepean, Ontario K2E 6S7, Canada



The city of Daugavpils provides for ethnology what the Drozophylla fly does for genetics: a small and handy research object. The main difference is that experiments on the fly are carried out by scientists, while it is history itself that has conducted experiments on Daugavpils.

1. Characteristics of the Region

The Daugavpils region is located in the southeastern comer of Latvia. With a popu­lation of approximately 120,000 people, the city of Daugavpils is a natural center of the region. According to official data, Daugavpils is inhabited by members of more than thirty ethnic communities, the largest of which is Russian (55.7 per cent), fol­lowed by Polish (15.7 per cent), Latvian (14.9 per cent). Belarusian (9.4 per cent), and Ukrainian (2.4 per cent). The Jewish and Lithuanian communities both account for about 1 per cent of the city's population.[1] The same ethnic groups predominate in the rural region surrounding Daugavpils, but the share of Latvians and Belarusians is higher in the countryside. To provide the reader with a comparative perspective. Daugavpils (together with its surrounding towns and rural areas) is roughly equal to Malta in terms of the size of its territory and population.

2.  Ethnic Diversity in Daugavpils

Ethnic diversity is typical in Latvian society. The multi-ethnic profile of the Daugavpils region has been shaped by two types of factors: (1) country-wide factors, that is, factors that have operated in all of Latvia and (2) region-specific factors. We can begin with those typical of Latvian society as a whole.

Up to the late thirteenth century, the eastern shores of the Baltic sea remained an enclave of paganism and traditional tribal society. In terms of social and political development, the region lagged behind its neighbors to both the East and the West.

No sizable independent states emerged on its territory.[2] The Baltic region resembled a small piece of America or Siberia in the heart of Europe. Only Lithuania managed to close this civilizational gap, and escape the foreign conquest and colonization that left a lasting imprint on the history of other Baltic lands.

The Slavic lands of Pomerania and the Baltic lands of Eastern Prussia were colo­nized by German settlers, who opened these regions to a strong German cultural in­fluence. Russia, on the other hand, colonized the Ingermanland, a Finnish populated region surrounding St. Petersburg. The territory of Latvia and Estonia fell under the control of German feudal lords. For centuries, this territory led a colonial existence, as various European powers took turns exercising administrative control. Although the original native population remained in place, it emerged as independent actor in European politics only in the nineteenth century. For seven centuries, the Baltic re­gion served various European states as an object of military robbery, economic ex­ploitation and missionary activity. It also played a role of an important military-strategic bridge-head and a trade route between West and East.

Accordingly, foreign soldiers, feudal lords, priests, merchants, officials, and crafts­men migrated at different times from neighboring states, forming what would later be termed ethnic minorities.[3] Despite centuries of close coexistence, these groups did not mix with the aboriginal population, due to the ethnocratic character of authority and insurmountable, caste-like social barriers. The natives were excluded from the settlers' occupations, and remained artificially confined to agriculture and unskilled work in the cities. Only occasionally would immigrants of peasant back­ground assimilate into the local environment. For example, the absence of noticeable social barriers allowed for some mixing between Latvians and Belarussians in East­ern Latvia. The second peasant group were the Old Believers,[4] who settled in Latvia after fleeing religious persecution at home. Religious barriers prevented Old Believ­ers from assimilating into Latvian peasant society.[5]

Several region-specific factors also shaped the development of Daugavpils society. Of crucial importance was the city's location on the periphery of Latvian ethnic territory. During its seven hundred year history, the city was subjected twelve times to complete or partial destruction.[6] Military operations cost many lives and forced many city dwellers to leave town. Several epidemics decimated the population. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, a plague diminished the population so se­verely that local authorities (at that time Polish) responded by promoting the immi­gration of Belarusian and Russian peasants. Daugavpils entered a period of fast economic growth last century, as a result of massive railway construction in Russia. All of a sudden, the city found itself at the crossroads of busy transport routes, and became (for a very short time) one of the largest urban centers of northwest Russia. During the nineteenth century, the urban population increased by more than 20 times. Obviously, local human resources were insufficient to sustain this rate of growth fueled by the inflow of people from Russia, Belarus and Poland. By the end of the nineteenth century, Russians made up 28 per cent of Daugavpils" population; Belarussians made up 2 per cent, Poles 16 per cent, Germans 4 per cent, and Jews 46 per cent.

As the indigenous population began to break out of centuries-long confinement to agriculture, its urbanization progressed very slowly. In 1897, Latvians made up only 2 per cent of Daugavpils' population.[7] Riga developed more evenly, due to the early abolition of serfdom in Western Latvia. As a result, the Latvian community grew much larger in Riga than in Daugavpils: by the turn of the century. Latvians made up 45 per cent of Riga's population.[8] Up to the First World War, Daugavpils and the surrounding rural country remained an island of alien culture and language on the otherwise rather homogeneous ethnic map of Latvia.

The main languages spoken in Daugavpils were Russian and Yiddish. In rural, east­ern Latvia, the position of Polish was consolidated by the successful missionary and educational activities of Polish Catholic priests. The expansion of Polish language and culture was not only due to their prestige (enhanced by the authority of church), but also to the abolition of caste barriers between Catholic nationalities in Latgalia, an ethnocultural region in eastern Latvia. At that time many Polish settlers (including even some impoverished noblemen) became peasants, as did most Latvi­ans and Belarusians. One additional factor in the progress of Polonization was the dissatisfaction with the prohibition on using the Latin alphabet in Latgalian printing.[9]

Born after the First World War, the independent Latvian Republic quickly began actively to implement its own ethnic policy. The war brought about a massive depopulation of Daugavpils, whose population decreased five times. According to the population census of 1925, Daugavpils' Russian community decreased by 11 per cent. The share of Germans and Jews dropped by 1 and 31 per cent, respectively. The share of Poles and Belarussians went up by 19 per cent for the Poles and 3 per cent for the Belarussians. But most importantly, the proportion of Latvians increased by 27 per cent. [10]

Two basic factors caused this sharp increase in Latvians' presence in Daugavpils. One was the replacement of the old urban population by Latvian immigrants from the nearby villages. The second was an active colonization policy pursued by the young Latvian state that involved resettling Latvians from western regions to the eastern provinces. The purpose of this population transfer was promoting ethnic homogenization of the country by strengthening the Protestant cultural influence in the east. Both measures were meant to consolidate Latvian statehood. Latvian settlers from the west arrived in Daugavpils as government officials, teachers, military men, and farmers resettled on lands expropriated from German and Polish landlords.[11] By 1935, the proportion of Latvians in Daugavpils reached 35 per cent, making them the largest urban group. However, these figures shed little light on the actual status of various languages which, up to the mid-1930s, was marked by the inertia inherited from the past and new state policies.

Yiddish. Polish, German, and Belarusian retained their functions as languages of family life and everyday social interaction. Russian remained the language of inter-ethnic contacts, trade and municipal administration. Two reasons explain its strong standing. First, the older generation of state employees, politicians, businessmen, public figures and cultural workers was educated in Russian. Second, a Russian cul­tural orientation prevailed in the city's large Jewish community which, together with the Russians, accounted for an absolute majority of Daugavpils' population. The young Latvian state could not build overnight an information network and education system in Latvian which could successfully compete with the Russian environment inherited from the Russian Empire. Prior to the coup d'etat of 1934, even sessions of the Dome[12] were held in Russian with the consent of its Latvian deputies. For some time the visual information in the streets remained very varied: signs and advertise­ments in Latvian coexisted with those in other languages spoken in Daugavpils.

In the first decade of it existence, the policy of the First Latvian Republic struggled to reconcile two elements. First, it sought to increase of the role of the Latvian lan­guage through its inclusion in school curricula and gradual switch to Latvian as lan­guage of public administration. Second, the state promoted the preservation and development of minority languages and cultures. Accordingly, state-funded secon­dary schools with Latvian. Russian, Polish, Yiddish, Hebrew and Belarusian as lan­guages of instruction operated in Daugavpils.[13] There were also Jewish schools with Russian as the language of instruction. The climate of tolerance for ethnic minorities and cultures that existed in Latvia had no equivalent in Europe during that period. Latvian ethnic policy was not a policy of multiculturalism, based on the notions of pluralism, cross-fertilization of cultures and mutual enrichment of ethnic groups.[14] The Latvian state simply refrained from directly intervening in the life of its national minorities, instead concentrating its efforts on shielding the Latvian majority from the cultural influence of minority groups. With the achievement of independence, this influence - dating back to the times when minorities were dominant nations in the region - became both obsolete and undesirable in the eyes of Latvian policy makers. In western Latvia, the main challenge for the state was to overcome the con­sequences of the centuries-long German cultural domination. In the eastern part of the republic, its activities centered on neutralizing the influence of Polish culture.[15]

In the 1930's, Latvia's policy toward national minorities grew tougher. Signs in lan­guages other than Latvian disappeared from Daugavpils streets after the state changed the language law in 1932. The number of non-Latvian schools was reduced, and large numbers of non-Latvian children were compelled to study in Latvian.[16] As a result, many Latvian-language schools had student populations with few if any Latvian pupils. Moreover, the new educational policy eliminated all, even optional, minority language classes in these institutions. The new generation of public ser­vants in the state bureaucracy was tainted - as was Latvian society at large - by the radical-national ideology of Nazism which, spreading out of Germany, was gaining ground all over Europe.[17] After the coup d'etat of 1934, sessions of Daugavpils Dome were held in Latvian only. State administration officers switched to using Latvian exclu­sively in their contacts with the public. One should keep in mind that only one-fifth of Russians and Belarusians and half of Poles in Latvia could use the state language. In Daugavpils, Russian gradually lost its function as the language of inter-ethnic con­tacts, and became simply a means of private communication for a national minority. In 1934, the Jewish community of Daugavpils accepted the Latvian authorities' offer to change the language of instruction in Jewish schools from Russian to Hebrew. Although the principle of choice between non-Latvian and Latvian schools remained in force, in practice the choice was considerably reduced, directly benefiting educa­tion in the Latvian language. The history of the First Latvian Republic came to an abrupt end in 1940. By the time it was violently annexed by the USSR, the process of Latvianizing ethnic minorities was far from complete. In Daugavpils, conditions created by the First Republic encouraged further growth of diversity (exemplified by the appearance of a large Latvian community), and redefined the functions of the many languages spoken in the region.

During the Soviet period, a drive toward ethnocultural homogenization became the main trend in Daugavpils" ethnopolitics. The Second World War depopulated the region again, and brought a radical change in the balance between ethnic communi­ties. At the beginning of the war, Baltic Germans disappeared from the ethnic map of Latvia as a result of forced "repatriation" to Germany.[18] The entire Jewish commu­nity fell victim to the "final solution."[19] The vibrant Yiddish language culture of Daugavpils' Jews was lost forever. After the war, a new Jewish life took root in Daugavpils, due to influx of Russian-speaking Jews from the USSR. In 1959, the community reached 3 per cent, but began to shrink again in the 1970s because of mass emigration to Israel.

As a result of war losses, deportations, and emigration, the relative weight of the Latvian community was reduced to 13 per cent of the city's population. The share of Latvians in Daugavpils, whose absolute number grew proportionally to the growth of the town's population at large, remained stable well into the mid-1990s.[20] Other important changes included a significant growth of the Belarusian community (from 2.3 per cent in 1935 to 9 per cent in 1994), the establishment of a strong Ukrainian community (2.9 per cent), and of a myriad of small ethnic groups, varying in size from several dozens to several hundreds members, and representing the peoples of the former USSR. For Daugavpils, the incorporation of Latvia into the USSR meant returning to conditions that shaped the city's development in the late nineteenth cen­tury: intense industrialization combined with rapid population growth.[21]

During the Soviet period, Daugavpils' population doubled in comparison with the interwar period. Such high growth rates could only be sustained by a massive influx of the rural population. Comparing postwar developments with similar processes in the nineteenth century, one must remember that during the Soviet period Daugavpils absorbed immigrants from two main sources. One was immigration from the Soviet interior. The second was the influx of predominantly peasant population from the rural Latgalia. The Soviet regime abolished the cultural and economic barriers that had previously prevented mass immigration from the countryside. Latvia was rapidly urbanizing. Daugavpils became a center of gravity for the surrounding rural regions (Daugavpils, Kraslava, Preily) and small and medium-size towns (Ilukste, Kraslava, Preili, Livani, etc.) The Daugavpils region directly borders on Belarus and Lithuania. Before the reestablishment of state borders, the nearest Lithuanian and Belarussian towns (Zarasai, Visaginas, and Braslav) also gravitated toward Daugavpils. Their inhabitants encouraged their young to move in Daugavpils in search of better educa­tion and employment opportunities. The full consequences of this process became evident only after the restoration of Latvian independence and adoption of the controversial Citizenship Law. According to this law, only citizens of the First Republic and their descendants automatically qualified for Latvian citizenship. However, it turned out that two-thirds of Daugavpilers met the necessary requirements. The Russians, the city's largest ethnic community, featured a similar proportion of individuals entitled to Latvian citizenship.[22] The emergence of a significant Lithuanian minority, and the rapid growth of the Belarusian community, are among less studied effects of intra-regional migration which played a substantial role in the demographic growth of Daugavpils.

Table 1

The Changes of the Ethnic Proportions in Daugavpils Population






1. Poles




2. Russians




3. Belarussians




4. Germans




5. Jews




6. Latvians




7. Others






3. Cultural Mosaic in Daugavpils: Myth or Reality?

Thus far, we have emphasized the local origins of the absolute majority of Daugavpils' current residents. This is not accidental. Ignorance of this fact has dis­torted and simplified the understanding of the ethnic processes at work. The main peculiarity of this simplified approach (often exploited by the official Latvian propa­ganda) is the perception of Daugavpils as a collection of separate national commu­nities with clearly-defined internal structures, rigidly adhering to the language, culture and policy of their respective ethnic homelands. Such perceptions are fos­tered by two misleading indicators: (1) the official statistics on the ethnic composi­tion of the urban population, and (2) the activities of a dozen national-cultural associations. Formal records of nationality appearing in Latvian passports, on which all statistics on ethnic structure are based, do not reflect objective cultural and lin­guistic conditions. Rather, they continue a tradition inherited from the USSR, where recording ethnicity in passports served selectively to reward or punish members of certain ethnic groups. In order to draw conclusions on the actual ethnic situation in Daugavpils, the following factors must be taken into account:

1.  The integration of different ethnic groups in the Daugavpils region is a cumulative
result of centuries-long interaction. Of special importance in this respect are the last
five decades, which were marked by intense urbanization, unification of the lifestyle,
standardization of education, and abolition of the remaining social and religious barriers between groups of population. The influx of immigrants from outside the region peaked and started declining in the 1960s, giving even the most culturally
remote newcomers a long exposure to the forces of integration and unification operating in Daugavpils. At the everyday level, there are no obvious cultural differences dividing Daugavpilers of different ethnic backgrounds. On the contrary, formal eth­nic origins appear irrelevant to the local middle class people living in similar houses, wearing similar clothes, cooking similar dishes, celebrating the same holidays, and burying their dead at the same cemetery. Only Latvians from western Latvia stand out somewhat by their more European aesthetics of everyday life. Predictably, cultural homogenization has had little impact on the small Gypsy community. There is no doubt that religion remains the strongest factor preserving ethnic identities. The "who is who'" in modern Daugavpils is usually determined before large religious holidays. However, the influence of all denominations on daily life is very limited, and the largest and most dynamic church - the Catholic Church - caters to several ethnic groups, offering services in Latvian, in Polish and in Russian.

2.  With the abolition of social barriers between ethnic groups, mixed marriages have
become widespread in Daugavpils, further reinforcing the homogenization of the
cultural environment. As a result, it is not only friendship and business relations but
family ties which link most young Daugavpilers to other ethnic communities. A
1994 survey titled "Culture and Language"[23] revealed that the absolute majority of
young people (73 per cent of all respondents) held a positive attitude toward inter-
ethnic marriages. These attitudes are striking when we take into account that they
contradict the clearly negative attitude fostered by the official ideology of the state.

In general, offspring from mixed families made up a very high percentage of the young participants in the survey. 53 per cent of the respondents identifying them­selves as "Latvians" had descended from mixed families. Among those defining themselves as "Russians" 34 per cent were of mixed parentage. No less than 79 per cent of "Poles," and 45 per cent of "Belarusians" were offspring of ethnically mixed couples. It is possible to argue that, as a result of intermarriage and cultural integra­tion, a new community has emerged in the Daugavpils region. This community could possibly be compared with the "natives" of Alaska, the Indians and Aleutians who adopted English as a means of cultural expression.[24] Interestingly, a similar term - tuteyshie (natives, locals) - refers in the neighboring Belarus to such ethni­cally-mixed population with a weakly developed sense of cultural distinctiveness.

  1. For centuries, the main languages of Daugavpils influenced each other. The im­print of Russian on the other languages of the region is particularly strong, due to its
    long-held privileged status. For example, the variation of Polish spoken in modern
    Daugavpils deviates significantly from standard literary Polish, featuring simplified
    phonetics and a large number of borrowings from Russian and Belarusian. Latvian-
    speaking Latgalians use many Russian words in their daily speech, especially Rus­sian   industrial   and   technological   vocabulary.   Although   Russian   spoken   in
    Daugavpils changed less than other local languages, the influence of Polish grammar
    and stylistic borrowings from Latvian give it a unique flavor, distinct from literary
  2. The character of the city's social and intellectual elites changed beyond recogni­tion under the Soviet regime. Daugavpils lost its prewar elites, decimated by war and
    the purges and reprisals of two totalitarian regimes. The old elites consisted of ethnically-oriented activists, representatives of national-cultural  societies,  politicians, priests and public servants. The Soviet period witnessed an exodus of non-technical intelligentsia who could not carve a niche for themselves in en environment becom­ing "one unified large factory." There was also a significant outflow of Latvian intelligentsia to the country's western provinces. With the secularization of society, the influence of all churches declined sharply.

The emergence of a new technocratic, secular and ethnically-indifferent elites militated against the preservation of tradi­tional ethnic communities. During the Soviet period, ethnic ties lost much of their previous importance and were replaced by family and work-related ties. Large enter­prises formed distinct "clans." Recently this structure was additionally complicated by the emergence of groups based on political affiliation and connected to specific political grouping in Riga. In these "clans" formal ethnic belonging plays a significant but hardly decisive role. During Perestroika and the period of national revival, about ten national-cultural societies emerged in Daugavpils. Vigorous efforts were made to transform these bodies into real 'ethnic communities,' centered on issues such as internal autonomy, economic self-help and representation of group interests on a larger political forum. The Daugavpils branch of "Promen" (the Union of Poles in Latvia) and the Jewish community succeeded in taking a few steps in this direc­tion.[25] On the whole, however, efforts to mobilize Daugavpilers along ethnic lines failed, eventually forcing national-cultural societies to limit their role to setting dis­cussion clubs, organizing charitable and educational activities, and building internal structures (sometimes modeled on those of political parties). Their involvement in political struggle, and attempts to consolidate group identity around "the blood prin­ciple," alienated many Daugavpilers. Bonds tying the multiethnic population to the corporate interests of industrial ''clans" turned out to be stronger than affinities based on the ethnicity record inscribed in people's passports. Most Daugavpilers failed to respond to "the call of blood," because their personal value systems did not justify formal membership of ethnic groups, and because the "blood" flowing in their veins was mixed. According to the survey "Culture and Language," young Daugavpilers were 1.5 times more likely to express negative attitudes toward national-cultural organizations than to take part in their activities. In addition, one third of the respon­dents had no clearly defined attitude toward these ethnically-based bodies. This fact also illustrates the weakness of cultural interests in a of Soviet style, technocratic consumer society. Some large national-cultural societies, in particular the Russian Cultural Center, saw a way out of the situation by recruiting members on the basis of specific cultural and linguistic interests, rather than formal ethnic belonging.

5. The school system became the main tool of social homogenization during the So­viet period. After the war, Belarusian schools were never reopened. Polish schools were liquidated shortly thereafter. In this situation, only two languages - Russian and Latvian - faced the prospect of further development.[26] Representatives of all ethnic croups had to make a choice based on the following premises: Russian-language education opened career prospects in any sphere of life and, at least theoretically, anywhere in the Union; education in Latvian, on the other hand, served as a good springboard for an administrative career in the Communist Party, in agriculture, in sciences and arts on the territory of Latvia. Under these conditions not only Latvians (including Latgalians), but also many Poles tended to choose education in Latvian.[27] It is interesting to note that during this period something akin to the policy of biculturalism, namely a Russian-Latvian cultural exchange, was implemented for the first time. Latvians passed thorough intense training in the Russian language and literature, while school children in Russian schools got superficially acquainted with Latvian language and culture. This situation disadvantaged most of all those minorities who, due to their large size, could have continued their cultural development: Poles, Latgalians and Belarusians. It is particularly important to keep in mind the fate of the indigenous population of the region: the Latgalians.[28] The First Re­public adopted a policy of half-voluntary assimilation to the Protestant culture of Western Latvia, which continued into the Soviet period. The Soviets saw cultural Latvianization of the Latgalians was as a way of compensating Latvian culture for the loss of the ideal conditions it has enjoyed in interwar Latvia. As the education of Latgalians in a unified Latvian school entailed a loss of their ethnic identity, many Latgalians pragmatically opted for Russian as a language of instruction in order to take advantage of career opportunities in the industrial enterprises in Daugavpils. The factors listed above did not contribute to the creation or preservation of a multi­ethnic, multicultural society. The final result of Soviet-era regional development was a unified Russian linguistic environment in which only the Latvian linguistic minority managed to partially preserve its autonomy.

4.  Ethnic Relations in Daugavpils in the Second Republic

What has changed in Daugavpils since the restoration of independent Latvia? What is the cultural profile of the city's population today? To answer these questions, we must examine an important indicator of cultural orientation: the linguistic environ­ment.

The native languages of Daugavpils. According to the survey "Culture and Lan­guage," Latvian is considered a mother tongue by 74 per cent of ethnic Latvians, by 1 per cent of Russians and 9 per cent of Belarusians. The Russian language is the native language for 99 per cent of Russians, 24 per cent of Latvians, 79 per cent of Poles and 70 per cent of Belarusians. Polish language is seen as a native tongue by only 16 per cent of the respondents who identify themselves as Poles. 18 per cent of Belarusians have declared Belarusian as their native language. In light of the data on mixed families discussed above, one can conclude that most mixed families have chosen Russian as the language for interaction within the family and for children's education.[29]

Use of languages in inter-family relations. According to the data of the survey "Culture and Language," 64 per cent of the families used only Russian as the lan­guage of inter-family relations, 14 per cent - only Latvian, 16 per cent both Russian and Latvian, and 4 per cent other languages. Taking into account the fact that the ethnic composition of the sample was not an absolutely precise reflection of the ac­tual structure of the town's population (with the share of Latvians in the sample higher, and of Russians lower than in reality), we must conclude that the proportion of "Russian" families was actually higher. Unfortunately, we have no data on the use of the Latgalian dialect of the Latvian language in everyday life. However, it is real­istic to assume that under the impact of the education system, the Latgalian dialect (or language - the disputes continue) is gradually being replaced by standard Lat­vian.

The degree of Latvian-Russian bilingualism. The results of the survey ''Culture and Language" show that young Latvians in Daugavpils now estimate their proficiency in Russian to be rather high: only 1 per cent of respondents not to understand Rus­sian at all, and 64 per cent declared that they can talk, read and write freely in this language. 18 per cent of young Latvians estimate their Russian language skills to be "rather fluent." The assessment by Russian youths of their fluency in Latvian is much lower: 2 per cent of the respondents claim to have no understanding of Lat­vian; 4 per cent state they are able to speak it, read and write fluently; and 19 per cent describe their proficiency in Latvian as "rather fluent." The gray zone between these two extremes is very large. It includes respondents who admit that they experi­ence difficulties in actively using Latvian: 36 per cent declare "some difficulties in speech and reading;" 26 per cent "serious difficulties in speech and understanding," and 13 per cent state that they understand but do not speak Latvian. The latter phe­nomenon, the so-called "dog syndrome" (that is. full understanding combined with inability to speak) is a widespread phenomenon in modern Daugavpils. It is caused by the absence of a natural Latvian linguistic environment in the closed mini-communities the majority of the city-dwellers lives in. On the whole, the survey data suggest that the real, fully-functional Latvian-Russian bilingualism is characteristic of no more than 25 per cent of the urban population.

Language and consumer services in Daugavpils. Some years ago the only language, in which one was guaranteed service in a store, in a cafe, in public transport, or in a hospital, was Russian. This situation was caused not only by the fact that the Latvian language was poorly taught at Russian schools, but also by the low prestige of serv­ice industry employment among graduates of Latvian schools. Now, after the total overhaul of state language policy, the introduction of Latvian language certificates and regular checks by State Language Inspectors, the situation has changed consid­erably. In practically every large shop or cafe, a Latvian-speaking customer can expect, at the very minimum, to be understood and answered in simple Latvian. At the market, the change is less visible. In public transport all announcements (except rare commercial advertisements) are made only in Latvian.

Language in the second economy. During the last few years, because of deep eco­nomic problems, the business activity of the population has taken forms over which the state has only limited control. For example, a large share of essential sales and purchases are made placing individual advertisements and announcements in the newspapers. In the contents of a randomly chosen issue of the newspaper Reklama Piektdienas (dated September 1996), the special advertising edition has a Latvian title, but offers customers free choice in the language of advertisements. Among 1900 announcements in the issue, only 29 were in Latvian. This disparity illustrates the massive prevalence of Russian in daily private business contacts.

Language in the official economy. Manufacturing and the official economy are the spheres of life where functional bilingualism finds its strongest expression. There is a discrepancy between social reality and laws of the state. On the one hand, business documentation, formal correspondence, and bookkeeping are carried out strictly in the state language, Latvian.[30] On the other hand, Russian continues to be the lan­guage of an overwhelming majority of oral transactions and business contacts. The exceptions are contacts with Riga-based control institutions, and small firms where the majority of employees are Latvians. Typical of present conditions is the emer­gence of a post in nearly every enterprise, informally called a "Latvian". The re­sponsibility of the "Latvian" is to ensure compliance with the Language Law in business documentation, and to help managers in their contacts with Riga-based bosses, controllers and state inspectors.

Linguistic policy of the town’s administration. Although Russian in 1997 is the native lan­guage of two thirds of the deputies to the City Council (Dome), its sessions - in compliance with the Language Law - are held exclusively in Latvian. The town's administration accepts written applications from private persons in one of four lan­guages: Latvian, Russian, English, or German. All judicial persons are requested to submit documents in Latvian only. This rule also applies to announcements, notices, work timetables, receipts, and other contacts with the population based on written language. At the same time, a customer is guaranteed an oral answer in either Lat­vian or Russian from high and medium-level municipal employees. Exceptions to the practice of using Latvian as the language of written communication in municipal establishments and services are very rare. No exception is made for medical estab­lishments, which are often visited by elderly people and invalids. The state cannot, and officially does not demand that they speak the state language. However, it is prohibited to duplicate in Russian written information available in Latvian. As a re­sult, many visitors ignore written information in order to take advantage of oral con­versation with the personnel. In general, the linguistic policy of Daugavpils municipality is characterized as the aggregate of two tendencies. (1) Local authorities observe the language laws of the Latvian Republic rigidly, without adjustments or compromises. (2) At the same time, at the personal level, they try to soften the negative psychological consequences that the implementation of these laws gener­ates. In other words, unlike in the rest of Latvia, public officers in Daugavpils do never refuse to serve customers in Russian.

The town's visual environment. According to the Language Law, all non-Latvian inscriptions on objects considered part of the visual environment are forbidden in the Latvian Republic.[31] This law is generally implemented. At first glance, it would seem that there are only Latvian signs on the streets of Daugavpils. Upon closer inspection, however, one notices that street signs, signboards, logos and ads use a mixture of words and symbols of varied origin. We calculated the ratio of Latvian to non-Latvian words in the names of firms, shops, restaurants, and logos, located on Riga's street, the main and wealthiest street in Daugavpils. We discovered that only one-third of the words were Latvian, while the remaining two-thirds were English, German, Latin, Finnish, and etc. Out of a total of about 90 signs, one was in Chinese and one in Russian. The inscriptions in Daugavpils' native languages (excluding Latvian) appear only on the sign of national-cultural societies and religious estab­lishments. Russian-language inscriptions can also be seen on the premises of Russian newspapers (along with their Latvian equivalents which is formally unlawful), and on some Russian schools.[32] A few bilingual Russian-Latvian inscriptions survived on historical buildings. The greatest selection of the city's native languages is found on the cemetery where gravestones bear inscriptions in Polish. Russian, Latvian and Hebrew. For the time being this sector of written information seems to have escaped the attention of state language policy. Generally speaking, the prohibition of non-Latvian visual information has produced two consequences. (1) In practice, only the Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet is banned, while non-Latvian words in the Latin alphabet remain part of the visual environment in Daugavpils. (2) The ban on Russian words in the names and logos has brought about a tendency to replace them with interna­tional words and symbols, rather than Latvian ones.

Languages of the media. Daugavpils' several local TV channels and one radio sta­tion broadcast in both Latvian and Russian. The proportion between the two lan­guages varies, but generally it comes close to meeting the quotas defined by the law, according to which two-thirds of the total broadcast time must be in Latvian, and one-third in other languages. In principle, all written information, subtitles and ad­vertisements on TV is broadcast in Latvian. TV stations' own production in Latvian is not duplicated in Russian and the other way around, but programs in the two languages alternate within one channel. On rare occasions, Daugavpils TV broadcasts short interviews and songs in Polish. However, during the day time, the channel broadcasts a Polish TV program from Poland on the same frequency. The linguistic quotas force local broadcasters to reduce as much as possible the original program­ming in Russian in order to compensate for the time allocated to feature films, the majority of which (including those made in America) are broadcast in Russian.

Daugavpilers have the opportunity to watch not only local TV programs but two Latvian state TV channels (LTV-1 and LTV-2) and one private channel (LNT). LTV-1 broadcasts only in Latvian. LTV-2 broadcasts mainly in Latvian, but also carries a few features in Russian and Latgalian languages. In compliance with state quotas (two-thirds in Latvian, one-third in other languages), LTN does not produce its own programs in Russian (except for brief news and TV games.) Instead, it offers feature films and entertainment programs produced in Russia. The majority of Daugavpilers can also receive several Lithuanian programs. However, their popular­ity is limited by the language barrier. Residents of new housing developments hooked to cable TV (about a half of the city's population) have (at least theoreti­cally) the opportunity to receive three more Russian TV channels. In reality, high fees for cable TV severely limit their availability. Likewise, satellite dishes offer an unlimited opportunity to choose the language and quality of TV programs. Under the current economic conditions, however, satellite TV is accessible only for the most well-to-do in urban areas. In summary, one must conclude that the range of choices in the language of programs varies in Daugavpils, depending on the geographic lo­cation and financial status of TV viewers. It is most limited for poor inhabitants of villages and the outskirts of Daugavpils, who can only choose from 3-4 programs which are usually broadcast in Latvian. Advertisements on the local radio station are broadcast mainly in Russian, while original programs and news are aired in both Latvian and Russian. Paradoxically, due to the overwhelming prevalence of English as the language of popular music on local FM radio, the latter could be mistaken for an English station.

The language of the press in Daugavpils is overwhelmingly Russian: of the five newspapers published in the city, only one appears in Latvian. This can be explained by the fact that the state does not interfere with the choice of language in which newspapers are published; thus the balance between languages is regulated solely by supply and demand. The city's Russian language newspapers show varied socio-cultural orientations. For example, the Russian edition of Latgales Laiks bears a strong resemblance to the Russian edition of Riga's half-official Diena. Materials translated from Latvian make up an important part of its content. A Russian-Jewish spirit per­meates the Million, a paper put together by a team including some ethnic Latvians writing in Russian. The third Russian-language newspaper, Dinaburg, reflects the views of immigrant intellectuals of the Soviet period. Letters and calls to the editors of Russian newspapers indicate that their readers and subscribers include many Latvians. This fact, in addition to the publication of the bilingual Latgales Laiks, pre­vents the creation of an information barrier between the two ethnic communities that is so typical of Riga. Other local languages are seldom used by the newspapers. For several years, a Polish page appeared regularly in Latgales Laiks. It eventually gave birth to a Polish newspaper Czas Latgalii whose publication was discontinued after five issues.[33] The Latgalian-language Lotgales Vords published irregularly in a small number of copies, is intended for distribution in all of Latgalia. The town's newspapers occasionally publish poetry of a Daugavpils poet in its original lan­guage, Belarusian.


Languages of instruction in Daugavpils schools and attitudes toward them. In the city's elementary schools, there are three basic languages of instruction. At present (in 1997), 86.7 per cent of the children are educated in Russian, 11.4 per cent in Latvian, and 1.8 per cent in Polish.[34] According to the survey "Culture and Language," these fig­ures generally match the ethnic composition of young city-dwellers. In other words, there is a direct correlation between these figures and the ethnic structure of the town. Russian is the native tongue for 80 per cent of the population, Latvian ac­counts for 12 per cent. Polish for 2.5 per cent, and Belarusian comprise 2 per cent of Daugavpilers. These data reflect the tendency of Daugavpils parents to choose the language of instruction for their children without regard to their formal ethnic be­longing, but in accordance with their membership in a given linguistic community. It is important to note that the 2 per cent of Belarusians who speak their native tongue at home, and the 3 per cent of the population not belonging to any of the large ethnic groups, do not have an opportunity to receive education in their native languages within the existing elementary schools. However, there is a possibility to open new classes and schools for these minorities as the state encourages them to leave the Russian linguistic community. Taking advantage of the opportunity is very difficult for minorities because it requires (a) an expression of the collective will of the community and the support of various state institutions; (b) teachers who know the language of the community and are ready to work with enthusiasm; and (c) the consent of parents to send their children to new schools whose quality of instruction is unknown. To date, only the Polish community of Daugavpils has succeeded in overcoming these obstacles. Some Lithuanians tried to open a Lithuanian section at a Latvian school, but the experiment failed because of a lack of support among the parents. Of course, any ethnic group can establish its own private Sunday school. However, weak internal organization and teacher shortages prevent most communities from using this opportunity. A Jewish Sunday school works in Daugavpils intro­ducing children into Jewish religion and traditions. Recently, local Muslim commu­nities, mostly Tatar and Azeri, established an Islamic cultural center and a Muslim Sunday school. Upon closer examination of the choices in the language of instruc­tion parents made for first-graders this year, one can see some important changes. Russian education has been chosen by 82.9 per cent of parents, and Latvian by 14.8 per cent (the popularity of education in Polish remained unchanged). These data re­flect the process of growing popularity of Latvian education among Daugavpilers, including families where Latvian is not the native language for at least one of the parents. This indicates a change in the direction of assimilation. During this century this direction has changed four times. Before the First World War. assimilation to Russian and Polish cultures prevailed. Between the two world wars, the First Latvian Republic promoted the growth of the Latvian ethnic community. After the Second World War (under Soviet rule) the Russian community enjoyed the best conditions for cultural development. Finally, the Second Latvian Republic has restored the con­ditions favoring ethnic Latvians.

At present (in 1997). Daugavpils' public school system and the town's linguistic environment enhance the Latvian-Russian cultural exchange which began in the Soviet period. Latvian language training in Russian schools has become more intense (in addition to the usual Latvian classes, several non-language subjects were taught in Latvian in Russian school this year). On the other hand, although Latvian school children can now choose between English, German, Russian, and other languages considered "foreign" in Latvia, Russian language programs have not been completely elimi­nated in Latvian schools. It is obvious that the influence of Russian on young Latvi­ans in Daugavpils has been preserved by the Russian environment of the town, by popular Russian TV channels, Russian technical and scientific literature, and per­sisting economic ties with Russia. This seems to explain the paradox revealed by the survey "Culture and Language." Despite the policy of reorientation toward the West, and despite Russophobe currents in the influential Riga-based mass-media, 70 per cent of Latvian youth in Daugavpils display a positive attitude toward learning Rus­sian, and only 4 per cent express a negative attitude. The Russian community cannot boast the same degree of tolerance toward Latvian: 15 per cent of young Russians negatively view the study of the Latvian. However, this negative attitude can partly be caused by the repressive methods used by the state to encourage the learning of Latvian. A positive attitude toward the study of Latvian is declared by 74 per cent of Russian respondents. A special language policy exists in the town's only Polish school. The training is bilingual (in Latvian and Polish) and English is the mandatory foreign language. The underlying assumption is that standard oral and written Rus­sian is irrelevant to these children future despite the fact that it remains for them a language of social interaction in a majority of vital situations.

Languages of instruction at the universities. Daugavpils has three universities. The first, Daugavpils' branch the Russian Baltic University, is a private educational institution where the language of instruction is not regulated by state laws. The language of instruction is Russian, while Latvian language is studied as separate discipline. For a variety of reasons this private university does not have noticeable impact on the town. Much more serious is the impact of the two state universities: the Daugavpils Pedagogical University (DPU), and of the Daugavpils branch of the Riga Technical University, (RTU). According to the Language Law which regulates the language policy of the state universities, Latvian must be the main language of instruction. In their interpretation of this norm, government officials emphasize that lectures in any language are allowed as long as the teaching is done by a foreign faculty member. However, because of Latvia's current economic problems, foreign professors only rarely visit Daugavpils universities. Therefore, Latvian remains the basic language of instruction in the city's state universities. On the other hand, this legal principle contains no explicit interdiction of the use of languages other than Latvian.

In the absence of clear prohibition, much depends on the traditions of a university and the attitudes of its faculty. As technical education has traditionally enjoyed greater popularity among Russians, a Russian linguistic environment is best pre­served at the RTU. At the first year level, lectures are delivered in Russian, while students work on improving their Latvian to prepare themselves for the following years. By contrast, the influence of Latvian and Latgalian professors and non­technical intelligentsia in general, has been traditionally strong at the DPU, even in Soviet times. Also, the share of students from agricultural regions is higher at the DPU. Both these factors reinforce the university's Latvian linguistic environment whose vitality is best exemplified in social life at the DPU and by the linguistic practices of its administration. At the same time, many faculty members agree to communicate in Russian with their students (the reasons for this may include the faculty's own preference for Russian, their liberal political views, or the prevalence of Russian-speaking students in some groups). When the use of Russian becomes too widespread, the administration intervenes and reprimands the professors. There is no major difference in the educational programs DPU uses to train teachers for Latvian language and Russian language schools. These programs are aimed at meeting the long-term stra­tegic objective of the new Latvian state: the gradual liquidation of the existing state system of Russian secondary education, and its transition from Russian to Latvian as the only language of instruction. The plan also foresees that Latvian will partially replace the languages of instruction presently used in non-Latvian primary schools.[35] For teachers, the only exception from the linguistic uniformity of DPU's programs is the training of teachers of language, literature and culture in either Latvian or non-Latvian schools. The use of Russian in these special programs is legal. The "Russian" chairs traditionally have very good professors, among the best in the former Soviet Union. A few years ago, DPU curriculum included special training for teachers of Polish. It is important to note that the popularity of specialization con­nected with the local languages has stabilized at a low level. For example, in 1996, during the entrance exams for the program "Russian language, literature and German language" 2 candidates competed for each place; for "Polish and German lan­guage translation" – 1.6 candidates per place, for "Latvian language, literature and English language" – 2.2 candidates per place, while the program "English and French language translation" attracted as many as 6 candidates for each place.[36]

Languages of social and cultural events. In the field of spontaneous social interaction on a massive scale, we can notice a pattern similar to that of the mass-media: when the state refrains from interfering in the choice of language, market forces work in favor of the Russian language. Thus, commercial tours of Russian popular singers, musicians, comic actors or entire theaters, are common in Daugavpils. Tours of Lat­vian performers are very rare, as they generate no income. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of initiatives financed or sponsored by municipal authorities have a mandatory minimum of Latvian language content. Local authorities provide active assistance to mass events organized by the national-cultural societies. Con­certs, popular festivals, exhibits, or national day celebrations take place in the lan­guages of the respective ethnic groups - in Russian, Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian and Tatar. Based on folklore and artificially revived traditions, they are perceived as exotic by the modern urban population. Understandably, such cultural events have little impact on the linguistic environment in Daugavpils but they improve the psy­chological climate in the town.

Language of the theater and literature. There are several non-professional theatrical groups in Daugavpils: two of them work in Russian, one in Polish, and one in Lat­vian. But the impact of Daugavpils state theater, established five years ago, is in­comparably stronger. Until last season, the theater had two troupes: one Latvian and one Russian. Recently, the Latvian actors left Daugavpils after having received an attractive offer from Riga. Their decision was at least partially motivated by the weak popularity of the theater in general, and of the Latvian troupe in particular. The Russian troupe was kept. The administration of the theater is actively recruiting young people desiring to study acting and fill the vacancies in the Latvian troupe.

No Daugavpils writer manages to make a living out of royalties, although modest honoraria are sometimes paid to one Latvian author. Serious literary activity can only be treated as hobby requiring constant search for sponsors willing to pay for publications. Therefore, in this case market mechanisms hardly reveal the balance between languages spoken in the city. However, one publication series may serve as an indicator of the policy pursued by the local authorities in supporting literature. Every autumn the municipality publishes Dzejas dienas (Days of Poetry), a collec­tion of poetry written by Daugavpilers. The cover and the title page of the almanac, the foreword, and editorial information are Latvian. However, the volume features poems in Latvian, Latgalian, Russian, and Belarusian languages. This year (1997) Russian-language poetry made up about a half of the collection; Latvian comprised about 40 per cent.

Are Daugavpilers satisfied with the present language situation? The participants of the survey "Culture and Language" were asked to asses the level of their individual discomfort with the linguistic situation in the town. For 34 per cent of Latvian and 7 per cent of Russian respondents, the latter presented no problem whatsoever; minor linguistic problems were experienced by 20 per cent of Latvians and 22 per cent of Russians. A relative majority of the respondents (36 per cent of Latvians and 39 per cent of Russians) reported "average" language-related difficulties. Serious difficul­ties were experienced by 7 per cent of Latvians and 20 per cent of Russians. Finally, 3 per cent of Latvians and 11 per cent of Russians reported that they experienced "very significant" level of discomfort caused by language problems.[37] It is easy to notice that the level of personal linguistic unease matches the language skills dis­cussed in the section on Latvian-Russian bilingualism. The survey data quoted above do not allow us to draw conclusions on the intensity of the stress caused by the lan­guage situation in Daugavpils. However, one question of the survey directly ad­dressed the level of emotional discomfort. Although no ethnic break down of the respondents is provided, responses to this question indicated that 10 per cent of those interviewed were fully satisfied by the current state of inter-ethnic relations. 54 per cent experienced partial discomfort and 13 per cent a total dissatisfaction with inter-ethnic relations in Daugavpils. 22 per cent of the respondents declared indifference or were trying to ignore the problems. The above responses lead us to conclude that language problems were not the only reason for the widespread feelings of unhappiness with the state of inter-ethnic relations in Daugavpils.

The impact of public opinion on language policy. We have already mentioned the technocratic character and ethnic indifference of the city's Russian intelligentsia. In the public life of Daugavpils (and Riga), the interplay of these characteristics with the nationalist ideology of the Latvians has produced paradoxical results: a complete subordination of the numerically superior Russian linguistic community to the Lat­vian minority. In the issues related to the language and culture Latvian authorities take into account and respond only to the opinion of the Latvian ethnic community. To solve controversial problems arising periodi­cally between the two communities, ethnic Latvians always appeal to state institu­tions in an organized fashion. The Russian community, on the other hand, typically avoids taking a collective stand on the issue, transferring the responsibility for the decision making to individuals, or adopting a purely formalistic approach in the de­cision-making process. This tendency is best illustrated by the recent reform of TV broadcasting. Until August 1996, one of the three state TV channels was used by ORT, a Russian public TV station. Its conversion was paid for by Russia. Since Lat­vian TV offers only a few programs in Russian, the ORT channel was extremely important to Latvia's Russians; it gave them permanent access to high-quality TV production in the Russian language. For some reason, Russia stopped paying for ORT broadcasting in Latvia. Abandoned by ORT, the channel was allocated to a private Latvian broadcasting company, LNT. In an attempt to keep its Russian audi­ences, LNT began to air in prime time Russian-language films with Latvian subtitles. This move generated angry reactions in Latvian public opinion. Eventually, yielding to the pressure from Latvian media and politicians, LNT was compelled to adjust its broadcasting program. The Russian press failed to respond to the challenge. Instead, changes on LNT greatly increased the demand among Russian viewers for cable TV broadcasting programs from Russia. The sale of satellite dishes went up, as well.

The reform of the school system provides another example of Russian passivity. Medumi, an administrative center with the population of about 1.5 thousand, is situ­ated in the Daugavpils region, and populated by Latvians, Russians. Poles, Belarusians, Lithuanians, and Germans. The linguistic environment in the village is Russian. For almost five decades Russian remained the main language of instruction in Medumi school, the second language was Latvian, and foreign languages were taught as well. Five years ago, the new director of the school gradually began to in­troduce Latvian as the new language of instruction. At present (in 1996), the situation in the school is as follows. Although grades 6, 7, 8, 9 are considered part of a Russian edu­cational institution, school children use textbooks in Latvian. Grades 2, 3, 4, and 5 have parallel Russian and Latvian streams, but in the Russian stream the training is based on Latvian textbooks. As of 1996, first-graders, a large majority of whom are of non-Latvian background, are taught in Latvian only. In the absence of a natural Latvian linguistic environment, they experience serious difficulties studying in that language. Their curriculum does not even assume a command of written Russian. The regional board of education considers the Medumi school a model for others to follow. Neither the mass-media nor the local government considers this to be a problem. Although parents privately express displeasure at the fact that their chil­dren are compelled to study in a language which is not their mother tongue, they do not protest. The extreme inertia of Russian public opinion in Daugavpils, and especially in the surrounding countryside, stands in no relation to what most Russians perceive to be acute social and political problems. Their passivity is a typical manifestation of an immature civil society.

Prospects for the future. In the final analysis, the main forces shaping the linguistic reality of Daugavpils combine to strengthen a two-community bilingual system, the foundations of which were laid in the Soviet period.[38] The functional Latvian-Russian bilingualism is more typical of Daugavpils society today than it was during the Soviet period. The movement toward a genuine, multi-functional bilingualism is occurring more slowly than the redistribution of the spheres of influence between Latvian and Russian languages. This redistribution benefits the Latvian language, and disadvantages Russian. Sometimes, though not always, this process can be regarded as "positive discrimination" - a psychological compensation to the town's Latvian com­munity for the absence of a natural Latvian linguistic environment in crucial spheres of life in the past. The impact of other local languages on the life of Daugavpilers has been strongly reduced, limited to the family circle and the confines of national-cultural organizations. Far stronger is the influence of the cultures and spirit of small ethnic communities.

The contours of a two-community Russian-Latvian cultural system will become more visible with the gradual consolidation of the Latvian community, and the separation from Russian linguistic community of small groups seeking to restore their nominal ethnic identities.[39] Multiculturalism as a pluralist social system is absent in Daugavpils, despite good preconditions that could have helped it to take root. Mul­ticulturalism is impossible in Latvia as long as it is resisted by an ethno-nationalist ideology and ethnopolitics modeled on the practices reminiscent of the final years of the First Republic. A natural ideological change could come from a generational change in the ranks of Latvian politicians, or from a change in the geopolitical con­figuration in the region. The crucial factor, which in the long run could change the balance of forces in favor of multiculturalism, is the emergence of a civil society as a counterweight to the ethnically-based nationalist ideology and the ethnic character of political power in modern Latvia.


[1] According to the data of the Multinational Cultural Center of Daugavpils.

[2] G. Smirin, Osnovnye fakty istorii Latvii, Riga, 1993. pp. 15-22.

[3] L. Perkone, Latviesu nacijas veidosanas, Riga, 1992, pp. 33-34.

[4] Russian sect that refused to accept the reforms imposed in mid-seventeenth century on the
Russian Orthodox Church by Patriarch Nikon.

[5] Multikulturalisms Latvija: teorija un prakse, Multinacionalas kulturas centrs, Daugavpils, 1996, pp. 33-34.

[6] L. Tajvan, Po Latgalii, Moskva, 1988, pp. 64-72.

[7] Piervaya vseobshchaya perepis' naselenya Rossijskoj imperil, 1897 goda. Vitebskaya gu-bernya, vols. 1, 2 and 3, 1899-1903.

[8] G. Smirin, op. cit., p. 61.

[9] Ibid., p. 20, 79.

[10] Otra tautas skaitisana Latvija 1925. Gada 10 februari. XI sejumus, Riga, 1925.

[11] I. Shteynman, S. Kuznetsov, Nezavisimaya Latvia, Riga 1996, p. 179.

[12] The local government in Daugavpils is called ''Dome." On language use see Multinacion-alas Kultura Centrs, Latgale un Daugavpils: vesture un kultura, Rakstu krajums, Daugavpils, !996, p. 81.

[13] I. Shteyman, S. Kuznetsov, op. cit.. p. 184.

[14] A. Pertikovskaya, Avstraliiskyi multikulturalizm: opyt etnicheskoy politiki. Et-nograficheskoye obozrenye, Moskva, 1993, No. 2, p. 28-44.

[15] Multikulturalisms Latvija: teorija un prakse, Daugavpils, op. cit., p. 32.

[16] Ministerstvo justicyi Latvijsky Respubliki, Natsionalnye i etnicheskye grupy Latvii, In-rormativnyi material, Riga, 1996, p. 12.

[17] I. Shteyman, S. Kuznetsov, op. cit., p. 138.

[18] Ocherki istorii Latvii. C 1940 goda do nashikh dney, M. Birsis (ed.), Riga 1991, p. 50; Ellu Saar, Mikk Titma, Migrationsstrome in sowjetisierten Baltikum und ihre Nachwirkungen aufdie baltischen Staaten nach Wiederherstellung der Selbstandigkeit, Berichte des Bundes-instituts fur ostwissenschaftliche und Internationale Studien, no. 2, Koln, 1992.

[19] Evrei v Daugavpilse. Istoricheskye ocherki, Daugavpils 1993, pp. 287-295.

[20] Ocherki istorii Latvii, op. cit., p. 124; Census of January 1989, Table 6.1.

[21] Ibid, p. 135.

[22] Multikulturalisms Latvija, op. cit., p. 37-38.

[23] Carried out in 1994 by the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Economy of the Daugavpils Pedagogical University in cooperation with Daugavpils' Multinational Cultural Center. Further in the study it is referred to as the survey "Culture and Language."

[24] B. Bromley, P. Podol'nyi, Chelovechestvo - eto narody, Moskva, 1990, p. 289.

[25] Evrei v Daugavpilse, op. cit., p. 6-9.

[26] " Ministerstvo Justitsii, Natsional'noye i etnicheskye grupy, op. cit., p. 16.

[27] Ibid., p. 18.

[28] Latgalians are Catholic Latvians inhabiting eastern regions of the country. According to A. Lieven, "the Latgalian dialect remains almost a separate language," A. Lieven, The Baltic Revolution, New Haven and London, 1994, p. 35.

[29] Multicilturalisms Latvija, op. cit., p. 55.

[30] According to the "Law on Languages," referred to as "Language law" in the next edition.

[31] There are four exceptions from this rule, all of which refer to rather unusual situations.

[32] Recently, all inscriptions on and inside Russian schools were replaced by Latvian ones.

[33] Its circulation totaled 500 to 1,000 copies. By comparison, the circulation of the regular Latvian “Latgales Laiks” is up to 10,000. The regular total circulation of the Russian newspa­pers is up to 35,000.

[34] According to data provided by Daugavpils School Board.

[35] A major step in this direction is the introduction of new programs for grades 4-9 scheduled for September 1997.

[36] According to data provided by DPU administration.

[37] Multicilturalisms Latvija, op. cit., p. 45.

[38] Although this was not an official state policy.

[39] Multicilturalisms Latvija, op. cit., p. 55.