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Sunday 17.12.2017 | Name days: Teiksma, Hilda

Lembergs “enlightens” Russian ambassador about Latvia's political state

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Aivars Lembergs

Aivars Lembergs

Ambassador of Russia to Latvia Aleksandr Veshnyakov visited Ventspils official Aivars Lembergs on Wednesday, April 17. Relations between the two are so old that the Russian ambassador has gotten used to talking with Lembergs. The fact that Lembergs no longer legally represents Ventspils did not seem to affect the tone of the conversation.

Because of criminal charges against him, Lembergs has not been able to perform the duties of Chairman of Ventspils City Council for five years now. Usually when an official foreign representative or foreign delegation visits Ventspils, Lembergs’ deputy – Janis Vitolins – is the one to hold talks with them. Veshnyakov, on the other hand, said these formalities are unnecessary, and proceeded to talk with Lembergs as though he was the legal owner of Ventspils, Nekā personīga (Nothing personal) programme of TV3 reports.

Veshnyakov has been to Ventpils several times in the past. According to Veshnyakov, he visits Ventspils every year. Nevertheless, Lembergs had instructed Janis Vitolins to meet the honoured guest at the city’s border.

Even though the door was closed tight, the conversation could still be heard. First of all, Lembergs told the Russian official about the city’s development progress. He said that he had instructed the municipality to regulate education institutions in order to have the education level meet international standards.

Lembergs then turned to political topics. He especially noted Einars Repse’s party’s chances. Lembergs mentioned that Edgars Jaunups is a very valuable addition to that party. The ex-Mayor said Unity is non-uniform. He mentioned that the party has a pragmatic edge to it, something that can help reach an agreement. Lembergs also said the Nationals can hold constructive talks. The official also said that the Saeima could employ some nasty law that would prevent officials from carrying out their duties if criminal proceedings are initiated against them. Achieving this will not be easy.

When the two started to talk about the green farmers, the topic had shifted to Lembergs’ chances in the municipal elections. The two had concluded that the chances are impregnable. Lembergs proved this by showing the SKDS, which showed undivided support of the townspeople. After an hour-long conversation, Lembergs had finally allowed Vitolins to enter the room. To the press representatives that had gathered there, Veshnyakov told how much he values Lembergs’ work in Ventspils. Relations between Russia and Ventspils are generally a lot better than those with Latvia. The two politicians did mention anything about their political consultations.

Veshnyakov was also interested in Lembergs’ opinion about the situation in the gas market. The Russian ambassador was satisfied with the reply, because Lembergs had found faithful supporters for Gazprom. The liberalization of the gas market was forced by the European Union and is not beneficial for Latvia.

After having dinner at the Ukraina restaurant, Vitolins was sent to show the trio Ventspils’ companies, including those partially owned by Lembergs through offshores or relatives. The Russian ambassador told the programme that Russia wants to expand its transit through Ventspils.

BNN previously reported that, based on the information provided by different sources, it can be concluded that Repse’s new party is likely to target Unity and other right wing parties, calling to economically active residents and trying to convince them that Latvia’s political life requires a new approach in order to achieve a good level of welfare – something current politicians are unable to offer, according to the association.

The goal of the millionaire-founders of the ‘Repse’s association’ is to keep Unity in a ‘state of starvation’, convince its ‘economically thinking’ politicians that the party needs to split, its so called ‘protectors of the law’ to be let go and be left without resources.

Among Repse’s supporters are: official of Riga City Council Edgars Jaunups, manager of the Latvian Non-Banking Creditors Association Baiba Fromane and the former supporters of Unity – millionaires Valery Belokon, Donat Vaitaitis and Olaf Berkis.


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