Note: Repost from the old blog.
It looks like a big Latvian site. Took me a little while to figure this linguistic puzzle out.
Click here and you get the Latvian version of the page, and click here and you get the Russian version of the same page. What I found very interesting was the very large number of commenters on the Russian version of the Latvian page.
It’s well known that all of the Baltic states have been hostile to the Russian population (unfortunately seeded in the Baltics as settler-colonists in order to flood out the native Baltic peoples and water down Baltic nationalism) and the Russian language.
I believe that upon independence, Latvia was as much as 40% Russian and Russian first language speakers. No doubt it’s declined since then, but this dual webpage implies that Russian-speakers are still pretty common in Latvia, no?
Wikipedia to the rescue. Looks like Russophones and native Russians were 40% at independence and only down to 28% now. That’s a great big fat demographic that can’t be ignored by any major website. Interesting fact – in Latvia, 81% know Russian, and only 79% know Latvian!
Wow. No wonder Latvian nationalists are pissed. Obviously this goes back to the USSR when Russian was the national language of Latvia and a lot of native-Latvian speakers also speak Russian too. With 80% of the population speaking either Russian or Latvian, damn right you better make that website in both languages! The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says:
“The Russian language is robust in Latvia, as Russian-speakers are a majority or plurality in many cities, almost all Latvians speak Russian as well as Latvian and culture and media from Russia have a strong presence in Latvia. Indeed, the legacy of Soviet Russification policy was still evident in the results of the 2000 census in Latvia, which showed that knowledge of Russian is still more widespread than knowledge of Latvian in Latvia: 81% of all inhabitants know Russian, while only 79% know Latvian.”