ABSTRACT

The Russian compatriot policy in Latvia is one of its most effective instruments of influence, because it uses compatriot NGOs to achieve the goals of Russian foreign policy in Latvia. Compatriot policies as such are a normal part of foreign policy and public diplomacy, however, in the case of Russia, they are used to distort Latvian democracy and influence the election process. Several of these Russian compatriot policies conflict with Latvia’s education, citizenship and language policies and increase tension between Latvians and Russian speakers. The Russian compatriot policy hinders the integration of Russians living in Latvia and alienates them from social and political processes in the country. The concept of the ‘Russian World’ cultivated by compatriot policy makers is a geopolitical project, the destructive consequences of which are especially clearly visible in Ukraine.