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Monday 21.08.2017 | Name days: Linda, Janīna

Is Latvia Russian enemy No 5?

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Former President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers and Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev

Despite comparatively small territories and population of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania versus Russia, the Baltics still rank in the TOP 5 Russian enemies – right next to such countries as the U.S., Great Britain, China and Georgia, according to the Russian media RBK.

The study analysed historic, social and economic factors. The key apple of discord is the Russian speaking community’s living conditions, the prevailing fascist mood in Latvia and Estonia as well as different perception of historical events. The Baltic countries’ close relationship with the U.S. and intervention with the North European gas pipeline construction also pose a threat, according to the study.

Both Russian and Latvian representatives of national associations based in Latvia point out Latvia is its huge neigbour’s bridge to Europe. However, Latvians criticise the Russian government and vice versa.

Latvia should be proud of its influence

Eriks Jekabsons, politician and ex Justice Minister, thinks there is still «soft power» in Russia and it is aimed at recovering influence not only in the Baltics but also the whole eastern region.

In terms of Russia’s enemies TOP, Jakobsons points out «rasputinism» is still popular in Russia. It means the historical person Rasputin is attributed honesty, dignity and holy powers. But at the same time he is also believed to have been demonic and cruel.

«The same also characterises the Russian politic mentality, which reminds schizophrenia,» he says.

Russian citizens are willing to claim residential permits in Latvia as they feel very comfortable here, according to the Latvian First Party founder, who is currently not in active politics.

Positioning Latvia as an enemy might suggest the Kremlin propaganda. Based on «Rasputin» traditions, the Baltics are usually characterised as being fascist and violating the rights of Russian-speaking communities.

The question is whether this «soft power» is really that soft. It could as well been «hard power» but with a more appealing facade.

However, Jekabsons is not surprised at the Baltics ranking among the top Russian enemies. He ironizes Latvia has also been named the second right after the U.S., so the 5th position could even signal progress.

«What might be threatening them could be the fact Latvia can be regarded as the new Silk Road, a bridge or a window to Europe, bringing new winds to Russia, even draft. We should be proud that such a huge country as Russia really considers that small territory as Latvia,» he says.

Russians doing not so well in Russia

Imants Paradnieks, leader of the politic association All for Latvia!-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK, points out the TOP reveals a very primitive standpoint.

«It is rather weird to call an enemy a state that is not willing to yield to an ideology someone is trying to bestow upon it,» he says.

He also adds people who move to Russia face worse conditions. Upon returning to Latvia, they have changed their mind and the Russian-speaking community is ready to add to a consolidated society. «Then they also think different of national values», Paradnieks says.

He calls talks on Latvia being an enemy the Kremlin’s policy, as it benefits from such an image of an enemy.

«If an enemy goes hand in hand with a state that refuses to yield to a forced ideology, yes, we can say the survey is precise. Otherwise, it is absurd, as all the nations and states in the world have the right to equality,» Paradnieks adds.

De-stability in Latvia undermines «Russian bridge» to Europe

Victor Guschin, head of Latvian Center of the International Russian Compatriot Council, points out such a survey should be perceived skeptically, as often they serve merely to reflect opinion of different wings and mass media.

He believes there are serious issues in Russia-Latvia relations, however, a clear line should be drawn between the residents’ friendly attitude and the government’s standpoint, which is not that friendly at all.

Already since 1991, there is a policy of transmitting certain interests of the government, including, Russian phobia rhetoric and the outcome of the Second World War. Latvia is still at an informative and psychologic war against the Russian-speaking community.

«Such a policy is dangerous not only for Russia, but also for Latvia,» he says.

Guschin adds that any bid to distance from experience accumulated during the Soviet Union means elimination of business, science and culture. He calls the invasion of western interest – massive.

«What worries the most is whether the approach Latvia advocates will not hit Latvians themselves», he says, adding that any signs of destabilization in Latvia, either economic or demographic, endanger also Russia, because Latvia serves as its bridge to Europe.

Nevertheless, the official representative of the Russian Embassy to Latvia refrained from commenting to BNN the ranking of Latvia in Russia’s list of TOP 5 enemies. He adds that the Embassy does not comment on any information that is not Russia’s official standpoint.

However, it must be noted that in general information published by RBK in the Latvian mass media during the pre-election period could leave a strong impact on voters’ choice on the basis of national issues.


Leave a reply

  1. Hi says:

    Again misleading, provocative heading – bad journalism ! How can the reader take BNN seriously with such style.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. lotus says:

    Why misleading? It’s a question, not a statement. I think this is a serious theme for Latvia and Russia, and it’s good to have as many analytic articles as possible.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. USALATVIA says:

    The World needs people like Eriks Jacobson’s. He’s reminiscent to the equivalent of Ron Paul in America. The one honest Politician left in America. Luckily Latvia has him, one true and honest man!

    In years to come you will watch his World wide popularity grow. We just need the old people and hatred of the Former Soviet Union die off … Once things cool down again and less pressure comes from the Kremlin. It is likely people will be seeing much more of him. God knows the World needs it!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Bub says:

    It is a pity this war never ends between these two nationalities…

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. not important To USALATVIA says:

    Jekabsons – true and honest man (?)
    Are you serious?
    Judgement day coming

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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