Latvians deny Savisaar's claims about doctoring census results

29.01.2013, 10:32

Local government officials from the Latvian town of Aluksne are unhappy with the claim made by Mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar in his new book "The Truth About Estonia" that Latvians manipulated their population census, writes Postimees.

In his book, Savisaar wrote that Estonia is not the only country that manipulated its population census and said, as an example, that a similar census fraud took place also in Latvia and Lithuania.

Savisaar wrote: "For instance, through manipulation the Latvians were able to prevent their population from dropping below the psychologically significant 2-million boundary in their census [...] There were numerous cases when mayors or leaders of Latvian small towns urged the residents of their local governments to contact their relatives who had moved abroad and register as Latvian citizens. The mayor of Alūksne, for instance, told people to tell their family members in Norway to register.”

Savisaar wrote that Latvian state had even extended the deadline for the census because they had not managed to squeeze out the desired numbers by the deadline as that would not have been tolerable for the general public nor positive for the ruling politicians.

The chairman of the Alūksne regional council, Aivars Fomins, sent a letter to Savisaar asserting that the claim is false, adding: “Many Latvians have left for work abroad, but Aivars Fomins who has been council chairman of Aluksne region  since 2009 has never made such a public statement with regard to current residents of Aluksne or former residents who are now living abroad. We also emphasis that Mr Fomins has never met Mr Savisaar in person or indirectly nor discussed such issues,” said the letter signed by Aivars Fomins who also requests that the Tallinn mayor publicly renounces his claims.