Russia, President Putin fears illegal deportations of his compatriots: “Threat to security”

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By John

The Russian president Vladimir Putin instructed the government, together with the Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Council on Human Rights, to develop proposals to “protect the rights of compatriots abroad and to take measures in case of illegal deportation by July 1.”
Yesterday, the Kremlin leader warned that the expulsion of Russians from Latvia and other Baltic countries represents «a threat to Russia’s security». The reference is to Latvia’s decision, from September 2023, to require Russians and Belarusians to provide a certificate of knowledge of the Latvian language to renew their residence permit. Latvia’s Office for Citizenship and Migration announced last month that it will deport around 1,200 Russian citizens who failed the test. One of the most striking cases was that of the expulsion from Latvia on January 12 of the 82-year-old Russian war veteran Boris Katkov, with an “indefinite return ban”. The man was defined as a “threat to national security”. Moscow Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called this step a provocation aimed at intimidating the country’s Russian-speaking residents.
Putin’s words about his compatriots abroad, pronounced yesterday at a meeting with the mayors of the Federation, were interpreted by the British think tank Institute of Study of War (ISW) as proof of “aggressive intentions towards the Baltics”. “Putin has intensified the Kremlin’s long-standing efforts to create an information base for future escalation against the Baltics, probably as part of his broader attempts to weaken NATO,” ISW claims in his report.