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Friday 18.08.2017 | Name days: Liene, Helēna, Elena, Ellena, Liena
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Colonel: economic state and lack of cohesion among residents are a threat to Latvia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU‘The only major difference between Latvia and Ukraine is our membership in NATO and the EU. However, like Ukraine, we are a post-Soviet country, we have multiple religious confessions, residents speak several languages and society shares diametrically opposing opinions about history and foreign policy. It seems we do share some problems,’ – says researcher of Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Colonel Raimonds Rublovskis.

‘Ukraine’s example demonstrates how quickly it is possible to destabilize the situation in an unstable society. I agree that internal security is an absolute priority for Latvia. The scenario of an attack coming from outside of Latvia is unrealistic. It is clear that the goal of such actions would be not just the conquering of the Baltic States, but also Russia’s attempt to challenge USA as a superpower and NATO’s main engine. Does Russia actually want to do this? NATO would have to respond in such a situation. A lack of response would mean the end for NATO. Article 5 – collective security and defence – is the core of NATO. Failing to comply with it would dissolve NATO. This is why I am very sceptical about talks that we should hastily strengthen our defences and protect ourselves from Russia. Our main threats are the lack of cohesion in society and the current economic state. People who live in poverty, cannot find jobs and are forced to leave the country also lose their idea about Latvia as a state. These people can be easily manipulated. I doubt they think of safety of the state all that much. If there are too many of such people and no actual middle-class, the country will have problems. Now – demography. If we do not have anyone to recruit to serve in the army or the police, there can be no such things as improving state security. Latvia is not populated all that much. Belgium and Holland have populations that reach nearly 30 million each. We only have roughly 2 million,’ – he told Latvijas Avīze in an interview.

‘In regard to threats: nowadays there is a larger emphasis on information war than there is on actual armed conflicts. Both Russia and USA are engaged in information wars. Latvia’s information and psychological campaign is rather weak, to be perfectly honest. We do not talk a lot about how the state valuable and that it should be defended. Instead, we have long talks about macroeconomic indexes and other complicated things that just alienate society. People are tired from these “stories of success” that they do not even feel in their daily lives.

It is the 21st century. There is no longer such a thing as “rear”. I am very sceptical about people who think and talk about delaying tactics, border skirmishes and other strategies popular in World War II. We just need to carefully analyse the situation in Ukraine and predict how Latvia would act in the same situation – what would armed forces, police and other security services do under similar conditions? […] Future warfare will be carried out in cities. There will no longer be frontlines, trenches or other things that were common for warfare some 50 years ago,’ – he said.

According to him, Latvia should not fear a possible military threat similar to one experienced in 1940, because Article 5 of NATO Treaty will defend Latvia. Not a single NATO member state can afford to ignore it. At the same time, the increase of NATO presence in Latvia is a double-edged sword. Geographically speaking, Baltic States are in the same position the German Federal Republic was during the Cold War. Everyone knew at the time – is there were to be armed clashes in Europe, they would take place in Germany. If NATO increases its presence in Latvia, Russia will increase its military presence by the border as well,’ – said Rublovskis.

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