As Latvia works to make Russian its second language, Estonia is now enforcing a different belief. According to RT, a Russian news source, Estonia is forcing citizens to speak Estonian or face consequences.
To help fight the use of Russian in Estonia, a group was formed to police language called the Language Inspectorate. They go to official meetings and make sure proceedings are occurring in the native language.
“The language inspection has the legal right to conduct spontaneous checks on anyone working in any sphere,” writes RT. “And should a person fail the Estonian exam, the body then may initiate the sacking of this employee. Human rights activists say this has turned the language inspection into a punitive body.”
We have also struggled with this issue, as the United States has no official language.
English may be used for all government affairs, but in personal lives, America remains a melting pot of languages and ideas. This has prompted some in congress to want to pass laws similar to those in Estonia, but they usually act as more political sideshows than addressing real issues.
In Estonia, citizens now have to fear for their job if they speak Russian. This can be a major issue, as some regions of Estonia have high pockets of Russian speaking residents.
Latvia is in much the same situation. Nearly 80% of the country speaks Russian, with 37% of the country speaking it natively. Instead of disallowing it like Estonia, Latvia is working to adopt it as a second official language, which is causing the opposite effect, causing some citizens to fear the country is loosing its identity.