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Lithuania Hails Neighbor Latvia's 'No' Vote On Russian

Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius
Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius has praised voters in neighboring Latvia for rejecting a measure to make Russian a second state language in that fellow Baltic state.

Kublius said in a statement that Latvian voters “have demonstrated the high maturity of their civic society and self-awareness."

The Russian-minority sponsored referendum was rejected on February 18 with an overwhelming 75 percent "no" vote.

Latvia, along with neighbors Lithuania and Estonia, experienced Russification during nearly five decades of Soviet rule that ended in 1991. The issue of the Russian-speaking minority in the Baltic region has remained a sensitive matter during the past two decades of independence.

All three of the so-called Baltic states were occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940.

Compiled from agency reports

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