January 19, a great number of Russian mass media wrote that the government of Latvia had allegedly forbidden inhabitants of this state to speak any foreign language, including Russian, at work and in public places – in public vehicles, stores, at factories and offices.
RT in Russian, Gazeta.ru, Newsru.com, Russian Courier, ridus.ru and many others wrote about this. St. Petersburg Diary went even further and entitled its news “You Cannot Speak Russian in Latvia Any More”.
But this is not true. The government of Latvia did not forbid the use of foreign languages. This news with loud titles was made up by Russian mass media from the ordinary recommendation of the Latvian Center of the National Language. This was mere an appeal, a reminder that had no legislative power. The Center of the National Language urged state officials and service workers to respect the national language. For example, officials are recommended to give an interview in Latvian. In any case this appeal is merely a recommendation, not a demand. It has nothing to do with legislative initiatives of Latvian authorities.