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Ukrainians in Latvia
15 August 2012 23:23

General information

Organizational design of modern Ukrainian community in Latvia started in 1991 after regaining independence Latvia and registration of the first Ukrainian cultural and educational society "Dnipro" in Riga. According to 1989 census, at that time in Latvia lived over 92 thousand Ukrainians. However, there are historical facts establishing the first Ukrainian Organizations in Latvia back in 1901.

During the first half of the 90s there was very intense leaving the national minorities of Latvia, mainly to Russia, among them was also a significant number of Ukrainian people.

Today the Ukrainian community in Latvia is one of the largest ethnic groups (the fourth largest after the Latvian, Russian and Belarusian), Ukrainians forms 2.5% of all inhabitants of Latvia. The total number of Ukrainian - 55,199 people, of which almost 60% do not have Latvian citizenship. A characteristic feature of the Ukrainian diaspora is that it was formed after WWII. According to statistics in Latvia before 1940 lived almost 1.5 thousand ethnic Ukrainian. Thus, the vast majority of Ukrainian arrived in Latvia within 50-80 years. First of all, young people, who after studying in Ukraine received the appointment to work in the transport industry and Latvia, in educational and training institutions, etc.

The second group - the military retirees who, after completion of service in the ranks of the former Soviet Army remained in permanent residence in locations of military units.

Third group is formed by those Ukrainians (usually men) who arrived in 1960-70 mainly from Western Ukraine to seasonal work (agriculture, wood processing, etc.) and eventually married and remained a permanent residence in Latvia.

The fourth group consists of ethnic Ukrainian, who in 50 years were deported from Ukraine to Siberia, and in 60-70s after returning to the European part of the former Soviet Union have settled in the Baltic republics, including in Latvia.

The mentioned conditions define a number of differences from the Ukrainian diaspora in other ethnic groups.
Firstly, only a small part of the Ukrainian diaspora has the status of citizen of Latvia. Under current law after the restoration of independence in 1991 only the person (their descendants) who had citizenship of Latvia in 1941 received Latvian citizenship automatically. Harassment by the authorities on the acquisition of citizenship based on nationality is not observed. Moreover, even the Latvians (their descendants) who until 1940 lived outside the Republic of Latvia, as well as representatives of the category of minorities had to sit the exam with knowledge of Latvian language and history for citizenship after 1991.

Second feature of the Ukrainian diaspora is its heterogeneity, in particular, the high proportion of retired and former military.

Over 30 thousand immigrants from Ukraine living in Riga, that half of the total number of Ukrainian Latvia. About 5 thousand Ukrainian living in Liepaja. This is mainly a family of military pensioners, who once served there at the navy of the former USSR. The third largest concentration of Ukrainian center in Latvia is Daugavpils, which has about 2.5 thousand Ukrainian, most of them during the Soviet era came to work in the chemical industry in the city. High concentration of Ukrainian in Ventspils, which is home to approximately 2.3 thousand, due to their participation in the creation, operation and development Ventspils oil terminal and the Commercial Port.

Certain proportion of Latvian Ukrainians live in the regions and villages. Unlike major cities in Latvia, they demonstrate a higher level of linguistic and family integration into Latvian society.

Latvia is a place of their birth for almost one third of Ukrainians, and they associate their future with it. At the same time they try to preserve their ethnicity, reinforce the desire for knowledge of the native language, get acquainted with Ukrainian culture.

 

 

 

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