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Latvian Russian Union

The Latvian Russian Union (Latvian: Latvijas Krievu savienība, Russian: Русский союз Латвии) (LKS) is an ethnic minority, left-wing political party in Latvia, supported mainly by ethnic Russians and other Russian-speaking minorities. The co-chairpersons of the Latvian Russian Union are Tatjana Ždanoka, Jurijs Petropavlovskis and Miroslavs Mitrofanovs.[3]

Latvian Russian Union

Latvijas Krievu savienība
Co-chairpersonsTatjana Ždanoka
Jurijs Petropavlovskis
Miroslavs Mitrofanovs
Founded1998 (electoral alliance)
2007 (party)
Merger ofEqual Rights,
Free Choice in People's Europe
IdeologyDemocratic socialism[1]
Russian minority politics[1]
Political positionLeft-wing
European affiliationEuropean Free Alliance[2] (observer)
International affiliationNone
European Parliament groupThe Greens–European Free Alliance
ColoursBlue, red
0 / 100
European Parliament
2 / 8

The party emphasizes issues important to the Russian minority in Latvia. It requests the granting of Latvian citizenship to all of Latvia's remaining non-citizens and supports Russian and Latgalian as co-official languages in municipalities where at least 20% of the population are native speakers of such a language. It supports stronger ties with Russia and was the only major political organization to oppose Latvia's membership in NATO. The Latvian Russian Union is very socially conservative, as is its voter base. Economic issues are less emphasized but the party's economic positions tend to be left-wing.



The party originated as the electoral alliance For Human Rights in a United Latvia (ForHRUL) (Latvian: Par cilvēka tiesībām vienotā Latvijā, PCTVL; Russian: За права человека в единой Латвии, ЗаПЧЕЛ) that was established in May 1998 by three political parties: the National Harmony Party, Equal Rights and the Socialist Party of Latvia (despite the name a hardline communist organization), all of which were mainly supported by Russophone voters. The alliance won 16 out of 100 seats in the 1998 parliamentary election and 25 seats in the 2002 parliamentary election, as well as 13 out of 60 seats on Riga City Council in the 2001 municipal elections. After the municipal elections, ForHRUL became part of Riga's city government and National Harmony Party member Sergejs Dolgopolovs became the vice-mayor of Riga.

During this period, ForHRUL's most prominent leaders were Jānis Jurkāns, Alfrēds Rubiks and Tatjana Ždanoka. Jurkāns was a leader of the Popular Front of Latvia and founder of the National Harmony Party; Rubiks and Ždanoka were prominent as leaders of the Interfront movement, the Latvian branch of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the federalist movement in Latvia in the early 1990s. They are fairly popular in the Russian community but very unpopular among ethnic Latvians. ForHRUL therefore remained in opposition, because other parties would have faced a backlash from ethnic Latvian voters if they entered into a coalition with Rubiks or Ždanoka.

ForHRUL partially broke up in 2003. The National Harmony Party was the first to leave the alliance and the Socialist Party followed half a year later. The remnant of ForHRUL consisted of Equal Rights and Free Choice in Peoples' Europe (Latvian: Brīvā izvēle tautu Eiropā, BITE). The latter was composed of dissident Socialist Party and National Harmony Party members, like Jakovs Pliners, who opposed the decision to quit the alliance. This reduced grouping had only 6 members of the Saeima (out of 25 that the alliance had before the breakup). ForHRUL was the main force supporting Russian School Defense Staff activities from 2003-2005.

At the first Latvian election to the European Parliament in 2004, ForHRUL gained one seat, held by Tatjana Ždanoka, who sat with the Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament.[4] It also proposed the idea of a Europe-wide party of ethnic Russians. ForHRUL supported a federal Europe, with a "common economic and political space from Lisbon to Vladivostok".

In 2007 ForHRUL was transformed into a single party that retained the name and identity of the old electoral alliance. In recent years the party's support has declined as ethnic Russian voters have switched allegiance to the Harmony party, successor to the National Harmony Party. At the 2010 parliamentary election, the party lost its representation in the Latvian Parliament.

In 2011, the party launched an unsuccessful popular initiative on amending the law governing Latvian nationality. The Central Electoral Commission considered the proposed amendment to be incompatible with the Constitution of Latvia and the process of collecting signatures for a referendum on the proposals was suspended. This decision was eventually upheld by the Constitutional Court of Latvia and the Supreme Court of Latvia. It also supported the 2012 initiative to make Russian a co-official language in Latvia.

In January 2014 ForHRUL changed its name to the Latvian Russian Union. At the 2014 European Parliament election, it retained its single seat in the European Parliament. The party supported the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and has taken a pro-Russian stance in the subsequent War in Donbass. In August 2014 the party signed a cooperation agreement with the Crimean branch of Russian Unity to "strengthen the unity of Russian world". Russian Unity was instrumental in making the annexation of Crimea possible.[5][6][7][8]

In 2018 Ždanoka resigned her mandate in the European Parliament and was succeed by Miroslavs Mitrofanovs.[9][10]

Election resultsEdit

Parliament (Saeima)Edit

Election year # of
% of
# of seats won +/− Notes
2002 189,088 19.1
25 / 100
2006 54,684 6.1
6 / 100
2010 13,845 1.47
0 / 100
2011 7,109 0.78
0 / 100
2014 14,390 1.58
0 / 100
2018 27,014 3.20
0 / 100

European ParliamentEdit

Election year # of votes % of votes # of overall seats won +/− Notes
2004 61,401 10.66
1 / 9
2009 76,436 9.66
1 / 8
2014 28,303 6.38
1 / 8

Riga City Council (Rīgas Dome)Edit

Election year # of votes % of votes # of overall seats won +/− Notes
2005 27,728 13.68
9 / 60
2009 6,519 2.7
0 / 60

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Latvia". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 2012-03-12.
  2. ^ "Member Parties". Archived from the original on 2014-09-21.
  3. ^ На съезде РСЛ звучала критика в адрес "Согласия" Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine. (in Russian)
  4. ^[permanent dead link][permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Pro Russia party signs major deal with Crimea group". Archived from the original on 2014-08-25.
  6. ^ (in Ukrainian) Court banned the party of Aksenov Archived 2014-09-10 at the Wayback Machine., Ukrayinska Pravda (2 April 2014)
  7. ^ Stay informed today and every day. "Russia and Ukraine: Edging closer to war". The Economist. Archived from the original on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
  8. ^ Putin signs order appointing Aksyonov interim head of Crimea Archived 2014-05-02 at the Wayback Machine., ITAR-TASS (15 April 2014)
  9. ^ "Ždanoka quits Brussels to run Saeima campaign for party". 2018-01-15. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  10. ^ "13th Saeima elections: The parties (Part 1)". 13 August 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.

External linksEdit