Vladimir Linderman was born in Latvia and has lived there almost his entire life. He is also able to speak latvian fluently. Yet he is not a citizen of Latvia and he does not have full political rights in Latvia. What is the reason for this situation? Below, an interview with Vladimir.
Vladimir, a non-citizen in EU
Vladimir Linderman is a European non-citizen. Thanks to an accident of politics and in sharp contrast to one of the most basic human rights, he belongs to no nation and is a citizen of no country.
Although he was born and has lived all his life in Latvia, when the country regained independence in 1991, Vladimir, along with hundreds of thousands of residents of the Baltic States, was not granted citizenship.
In fact, all people, families and children who moved there between 1940 and 1991 and their descendants, as if this part of the history was erased as a side effect of regaining sovereignty, saw their nationality erased too.
18% of the population of Latvia are “non-citizens”, and although they pay taxes, they are deprived of political rights and do not have equal job opportunities with the real citizens of the Baltic countries. They cannot, for example, be firemen or captain or many other professions in a list of special restrictions tailored for them.
Vladimir has been an active citizen, demanding the simple thing that even the less privileged people enjoy — nationality.
Vladimir has been persecuted, accused for crimes he did not commit, forced to leave the country, sent to prison until acquitted, and recently, when returning from Finland where was on the invitation by politicians, even not allowed passage through Estonia as persona non grata, and had to return to Finland.
This is when we met, introduced by Oksana Chelyseva, a Russian journalist and human right activist.