This study is a follow-up to the study "Citizens of Bolderāja & Pļavnieki Neighbourhoods in Riga: Between active citizen participation & fatalism", published in late 2022 and available on the Providus website.
The previously published study contained a number of intriguing insights into the manifestations of civic apathy and activism among Latvia’s Russian-speaking population, but it did not answer the question of to what extent the insights that emerged from focus groups with just two neighbourhoods in Riga (Plavnieki and Bolderāja) are generalisable to Russian-speaking residents living in other municipalities in Latvia.
That is why the study “Is the civic apathy of Latvia’s Russian-speaking population a myth or a reality?” aims to continue research to further understand and offer solutions to the causes of civic apathy among Latvian citizens, especially among Russian-speaking people in their families.
The findings of the focus groups in Plavnieki and Bolderaja are complemented by insights into the civic activism of residents of Daugavpils, Rezekne and Liepāja, as well as an analysis of the causes of civic apathy – the disbelief that citizens can influence decisions made by their municipality, government or parliament. Particular attention was paid to the Russian-speaking population of Latvia. The reason is that this part of the Latvian population does not trust Latvian institutions, has little faith in their ability to influence their decisions, and rarely engages in civic activities.
The study also included a survey of the heads of Latvian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to understand the extent to which different groups in Latvian society (e.g. ethnic minorities, foreigners, regional residents) are represented in these organisations and/or attend events organised by them. This survey also focused specifically on the Russian-speaking population.
The study “Is the civic apathy of Latvia’s Russian-speaking population a myth or a reality?” was created with the support of the British Council Latvia.