On Thursday, 12 May, Russian ambassador to Latvia Aleksandr Veshnyakov was called in to Latvian Foreign Affairs Ministry. The ambassador met with Latvian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s state secretary Andrejs Pildegovics. The point of the talk was to address the matter regarding the ambassador’s recent interviews.
Pildegovics mentioned that the ambassador has exceeded the accepted limits of diplomatic practice most recent public statements. The state secretary particularly mentioned that that the Russian ambassador’s criticism of Latvia’s realized internal and external policies is particularly unacceptable, especially the criticism of Latvia’s alleged lies regarding the compliance with Minsk Treaty and accusations about falsification of history. The Russian ambassador’s statement about the Latvian government’s alleged restriction of the freedom of Latvian residents to receive alternative information about developments in the world was mentioned by the ministry as particularly absurd, as reported by Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Pildegovics also expressed his disappointment that, in spite of the ambassador’s experience of working in Latvia, he has failed to fully comprehend processes that transpire in Latvia and its society. The Russian ambassador was asked to refrain from making statements aimed at fracturing Latvia’s population.
The ministry’s state secretary also expressed his confusion about Veshnyakov’s attempts to create an impression that Latvia’s political choices allegedly impede Latvian-Russian cooperation. Pildegovics reminds that Latvia has always been in favour of good relations with Russia. However, Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the provoked conflict in Ukraine have seriously impacted relations. Nevertheless, even in such complicated international conditions, Latvia continued maintaining a dialogue with Russia in areas like economy, culture and cross-border cooperation.
In his interview to Vesti Segodnya, Aleksandr Veshnyakov claimed that Latvia carries out the demonization of Russia and multiple other countries. He added that Russia is being unjustly hated in hopes of making the country weaker, adding that an entire propaganda campaign is being realized against Russia. As an example of this, he mentioned the recent documentary by BCC, in which authors tried to analyse possible scenarios of Russia’s attack on Latvia.
Good relations between Russia and Latvia are impeded by attempts to falsify history and the commission responsible for analysing «alleged losses from the Soviet Occupation». «Such work is destructive and disrespectful,» – said Veshnyakov.
«Hopefully, Latvia will not have to count the losses from missed cooperation opportunities in the end. Unfortunately, Latvia has missed many opportunities for cooperation throughout its recent history, especially in regards to cooperation with Russia,» – he added. The Russian ambassador believes that improvement of relations depends on Latvia, «on the kind of relations Latvia wishes to have with Russia: confrontation on all sides or cooperation».
Veshnyakov also criticized the sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia. He said that «any rational human being» would know that those sanctions do not benefit the EU in any way. «Russian business goes where it is welcome. It may happen that when sanctions end and Latvia extends its hand for cooperation, it will be difficult for Russia to turn back to your country,» – said the ambassador.