Latviski English По-русски
Saturday 23.09.2017 | Name days: Vanda, Veneranda, Venija

Latvian municipalities have cooperated with NGO’s with ties to Russian special services

(No Ratings Yet)

Latvian Constitution Protection Bureau has uncovered that Russian intelligence services often work under cover of state and municipal companies and NGOs. One such organization calls two municipalities in Latgale as their cooperation partners.

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUSummer and winter schools organized for matters related to Russian foreign and security affairs, visits of journalists to Russia and scientific conferences. These are only some of the events organized by four Russian NGOs: Kaliningrad public-political research center, Russkaya Baltika, St Petersburg International and Regional Policy Centre, Russian-Baltic Media Centre and Russian Strategic Research Centre. IN the opinion of Latvian Constitution Protection Bureau, all of these organizations ‘are being used as platforms for activities of Russian special services’. Intelligence services use them to establish contacts with Latvian representatives, as reported by De Facto programme of LTV.

For example, Russian-Baltic Media Centre calls the management board of Ventspils Freeport as one of its cooperation partners. As part of Baltic Forum Conference, which mostly gathers those loyal to Kremlin’s policy, had organized a visit of Russian journalists to Ventspils Freeport. «It is possible that this visit could have been the reason for them to add the management board of Ventspils Freeport to their list of cooperation partners. I do not have any information regarding any former or existing cooperation examples with this organization,» – notes Ventspils Freeport public relations manager Inga Ieviņa.

Russian-Baltic Media Centre calls two municipalities in Latgale as its cooperation partners. One of them is located in Rezekne. Rezekne City Council’s public relations specialist Sanita Aizupiete says that «it was two or more years ago. They had organized media conferences here. They’ve not done so in the past two years.» There had also been several events in Daugavpils – film shows and participation of journalists in a tourism conference. Daugavpils City Council had had difficulties with recalling any cooperation with Russian-Baltic Media Centre. The organization’s website does not help either. «I cannot comment at all. We have no contracts whatsoever!» – said Daugavpils City Council public relations department manager Inese Andiņa. After speaking with colleagues, Andiņa recalled that representatives of this organization were brought in by co-owners of Owners of the portal do not deny the fact that they are still working with Russian-Baltic Media Centre. The organization’s alleged ties with Russian intelligence services owners of the portal call «absurd». However, it is the head of this centre Igor Pavlovski and activist Modest Kolerov who are included on the blacklist. After their visit to Latvia, which was organized by, they have been denied entry to the country.

Co-owner of Yelena Kuranova says that they had «organized a meeting in a Polish community. Then there was a visit to the Russian consulate and city council. It was like this – we came in, greeted everyone, exchanged a few words and left. We then went to our summer home, where we rested. Igor Pavlovski had come with us solely to spend time in a good company, because Modest would have been bored coming here alone. This is why he has taken the fall for us as well. Because of this, I am afraid of what’s happening in our country. As far as I’m aware, residents who leave the country are also afraid.»

Nevertheless, Kolerov is not as guiltless as Kuranova makes him seem. In his articles about Latvia and Baltic States, he describes them as enemies of Russia. In addition, after Daugavpils, Kolerov had been carried to Riga using Saeima service car, which was registered behind Harmony Centre at the time.

Russian-Baltic Media Centre also works closely with the Baltic Forum. Its president is Harmony’s politician Jānis Urbanovičs. Prior to the gathering of signatures for Russian language to be made second state language in Latvia, Igor Pimenov took part in an event organized by Russkaya Baltika. The main topic at the time was whether or not Russian language and culture is an opportunity or a problem in Baltic States. «I do not know anything about this. I do not know what centre you mean,’ – said Pimenov. However, when told a specific time and place, he recalled that he had attended an event in Kaliningrad: ‘Yes, I participated in that conference. Definitely, absolutely! I do not remember, however, who organized it.»

But it is not as though events organized by people with ties to Russian intelligence services are attended solely by activists and supporters of Kremlin’s ideas. Foreign policy expert Andris Sprūds has also taken part in them. In a telephone conversation with the programme, he revealed that a summer school that discussed matters related to security, economics and energy nine years ago was the last for him: he is no longer given a visa to enter Russia. «If I am no longer allowed to enter Russia, it is possibly because it is hard to convince me or because I am not liked there. Our neighbours are what they are. Like it or not, but we have to form relations in the fields of business, energy, diplomacy and academics,» – said Sprūds.

Professor Juris Rozenvalds, who had attended such events in Russia, notes that there is no competition for propaganda slogans. He says actual scientific talks held there.

Latvian Constitution Protection Bureau mentions the possibility of Russian intelligence services to contact Latvian citizens during such events. «It is possible that there is some form of personal interest. I also assume that whatever I may say about the situation in Latvia may end up being used by one of my colleagues there as a citation, and this is another things altogether,» – says Rozenvalds. What is interesting is that the event that was attended by Rozenvalds was organized by Russkaya Baltica in Kaliningrad. The invitation Rozenvalds received was sent from the university where the conference had taken place. This makes it difficult for participants to know the exact organizers of different events.


Leave a reply

Kariņš: Unity started drifting when Valdis Dombrovskis left is management

Unity should seriously consider the option of starting in Saeima elections alongside other parties, said MEP Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

CSP: average size of agricultural areas increases in Latvia

In 2016 the average size of agricultural holding constituted 43.2 ha, which is 15.5 % more than in 2013 when the average land area per holding accounted for 37.4 ha. The total standard output has risen by 24.5 %. Nevertheless, the number of economically active farms has reduced by 14.5 %.

Antāne forms a new political party in Ventspils with more than 350 associates

A new political party was founded in Ventspils this Thursday, 21 September. The name of this new party is Laiks Pārmaiņām (Time for Changes). The initiator of the founding of this new party is Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics President Inga Antāne.

NATO: suspicions about Zapad 2017 were justified

NATO views its suspicions about Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2017 military exercises as well-justified, because their scale and geography were larger than what was officially stated.

Expert: Latvia’s electronic industry productivity index on a rise

Electronics industry is the most rapidly growing processing industry in Latvia. This industry’s turnover growth in Latvia has been more rapid than that of Europe and the rest of Baltic States, says manager of wholesale trade company Lemona Latvija Sergejs Nikiforovs.

Video: How to make white-water rafting more dangerous?

If you think white-water rafting is a piece of cake, you can try getting over some rapids on six rafts.

Kaimiņš: Lembergs is Latvia’s biggest misfortune

It is no secret to anyone that the parliamentary committee in charge of investigating Oligarch case has so-called experts that are closely associated with infamous Ventspils politician Aivars Lembergs or his family. In an interview to BNN, Saeima member Artuss Kaimiņš shared his opinion about the latest scandalous development associated with Oligarch talks. He calls Lembergs Latvia’s biggest misfortune.

EC: Money for Rail Baltica in next period will be negotiated

Funding of the Rail Baltica railway project after the year 2020 will be negotiated upon as part of the EU's financial plan for the next period, has stated the European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport.

Sudraba published «false information» on parliamentary committee’s website

Parliamentarian Andrejs Judins asks to evaluate Inguna Sudraba’s possible breach of ethics with the publication of ‘false information’ on the website of Saeima’s parliamentary investigation committee responsible for the investigation of oligarch case.

Estonia plans to direct 300 million euros to healthcare

With the aim of improving the quality and access to Estonian healthcare, the country's government has backed amendments, which set forth increasing healthcare funding by 300 million over a period of five years

HTC agrees to sell part of its innovators and intellectual property to Google

U.S. computer technology firm Google has reached a deal with Taiwanese smartphone-maker HTC so that the latter would share part of its product development team and allow using HTC intellectual property.

22-year sentence for Imanta paedophile comes into force

With the Supreme Court of Justice abandoning the review of Riga Regional Court’s ruling, the 22-year sentence for the man prosecuted in the so-called Imanta paedophile case has come into force, as reported by the court.

Weekend in Latvia expected to be warm and sunny

The sky in Latvia will become clear during the day on Friday, 22 September. Rain is only expected to come to certain western areas. Air temperature will likely reach +16° C… +20° C, whereas air temperature at night will drop to +9° C… +14° C, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

UK to offer EU 20 billion euros, if it can remain in single market

British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to offer a transitional agreement with the European Union that would concern a two-year period until the country leaves the bloc in 2019.

Number of bankruptcies down in Latvia and Estonia but up in Lithuania

Last year, the number of bankruptcies declined 12.4% in Latvia and 10.9% in Estonia. Lithuania, on the other hand, had experienced a 35.2% increase in the number of bankrupt companies, according to information compiled by Coface.

Lithuania sets off alarm bells over quality of international brands' foods

What Lithuania‘s State Food and Veterinary service announced last Tuesday was big news in Lithuania, but not so of a discovery to the majority of Eastern European consumers - food of international brands sold in Western Europe and in Eastern Europe, and Lithuania, are not just the same.

Saeima forms a group to support HIV and tuberculosis patients

On Thursday, 21 September, Latvia’s Saeima agreed with deputy Hosams Abu Meri’s proposal to form a deputy group to support HIV and tuberculosis patients, as confirmed by Abu Meri’s assistant Edgars Ikstens.

Politologist comments whether Vējoņis’ authority is at risk or not

Saeima’s vote in which Latvian President Raimonds Vējoņis’ proposal on the status of non-citizens’ children was not pushed forward was as though a strike against the president’s authority, comments Filips Rajevskis.

In pictures: Mexicans rush to find quake survivors

A massive rescue effort is continuing in Mexico City and other areas in Mexico to find possible survivors caught under buildings that collapsed in the September 19 earthquake, which has killed no less than 237 people.

Producer prices in industry grew 0.1% in August

Compared to July, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry rose by 0.1 % in August 2017. Prices of products sold on the domestic market, as well as those of exported products grew by 0.1 %.

Saeima supports simplification of investigation of less serious crimes

On Thursday, 21 September, Latvia’s Saeima conceptually supported changes to the Criminal Process Law that provide for simplification of investigation procedures of less serious crimes.

Ozoliņš: transit and logistics industries should communicate more actively

Mutual communication and information exchange among businesses working in the industry is the pre-condition for improvement of Latvia’s transit industry, said Transport Ministry’s state secretary Kaspars Ozoliņš at a meeting of the Logistics Council.

As Estonia mends ID cyber vulnerability, officials recommended mobile ID

As Estonia tries to solve potential security risks found in the chips of 750,000 national ID cards, state officials using e-services have been recommended to Mobile-ID in addition to ID cards.

Vējonis: peaceful resolution of Ukraine’s conflict is Latvia’s priority

«Russia’s unjustified aggression towards its neighbours is a serious breach of international law. Any aggressor who begins and continues such conflicts should be brought to justice for breach of international law,» says Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis.

Authorities apprehend criminal group that caused 1.7 million euros worth of damage to the state

Latvian State Revenue Service’s Finance Police in cooperation with State Police anti-terrorism unit Omega neutralized a criminal group that specialized in VAT fraud and money laundering, as confirmed by SRS representative Evita Teice-Mamaja.

Newest comments