Latviski English По-русски
Sunday 25.03.2018 | Name days: Māra, Marita, Mārīte

LTV: UGF ministers looked naïve when having lunch with Russia’s Vice-Prime Minister

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIt is possible that Latvia’s representatives at the informal lunch with Russian Vice-Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich looked rather naïve, as concluded by De Facto programme of LTV. They asked Dovrkovich – do decisions made by Russia’s railway and gas industry have a political or business context?

Latvian Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs, who was the organizer of the informal lunch from Latvia, will have to explain himself at the upcoming coalition parties meeting on Monday. He will also have to tell coalition partners about the results of those talks. Currently, there is no clarity about the outcome. The Russian embassy only provided general answers to the programme’s questions, saying that the two sides had discussed «perspectives for economic cooperation».

Transport Minister Uldis Augulis says that «the first and foremost matter is the volume of cargoes sent by railway, the potential indexes, is it a political or business decision?» The claim is that there was no political influence and that everything is done in the context of business development. Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola was asked a similar question: «There were certain concerns that Gazprom had given some signal that our gas storage facility may not receive gas this winter. I did use the opportunity to ask as to whether or not that was a political position or not. The reply I was given stated that there was no political statement or statement of any kind. I was told Gazprom makes its own business decisions.»

The secret meeting between UGF’s minister and Russian Vice-Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich in August did not take place at a fish processing plant. It took place in a restaurant in the centre of Riga. Aside from the three politicians, the lunch was also attended by the Russian ambassador in Latvia Aleksandr Veshnyakov and fish processing businessmen. The main curator of this meeting – Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs – had not told Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics that the government at this meeting was also being represented by Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola and Transport Minister Uldis Augulis. Officials of the two countries have had their chat. We can only guess as what kind of after taste this lunch has left.

Dvorkovich can be considered an associate of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Dvorkovich was his deputy when Medvedev was President of Russia. Even now he is Vice-Prime Minister of Russia. In addition, Dvorkovich has been the chairman of the council of directors of Russian Railway since 2015. It is nothing unusual that Dvorkovich spends his vacation in Jurmala. According to information from Russian media, Dvorkovich’s office manager Viktor Dmitriyev owns multiple real estate objects in Latvia. Nevertheless, a meeting with officials of another country at the same table in the same restaurant can hardly be called a coincidence.

Relations between Russia and Latvia remain tense. Sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia have been extended until next year. At the same time, more and more often officials discuss the possibility of restoring exports of goods previously banned for import in Russia.

Some time before Dvorkovich’s vacation, Russian ambassador to Latvia Aleksandr Veshnyakov had offered to meet with Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs. Apparently Duklavs decided to use the opportunity and offer Dvirkovich a taste of Latvian sprats – the same kind banned for imports in Russia. «The Agriculture Minister called by on the phone and said we had two hours, that we could not go anywhere far. We had a chance to show one or two production plants, show how we work and what technologies we use,» – Didzis Smits, head of Union of Latvian Fish Processing Industry, recalls the events of that day. He says «it was a classic viewing of production plants Karavela and Gamma A in Vecmilgravis and Mangalsala. Neither finance nor transport minister had taken part in excursions of the production plants. We had the agriculture minister, Russia’s Vice-Prime Minister and the Russian ambassador with us.»

After having a look at the machinery used by production plants, the good sirs departed for Old Riga. They were joined by Transport Minister Uldis Augulis and Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola. The biggest uncertainties surround this hour-long meal. «I had known about Duklavs’ meeting and that he’d invited someone else with him,» – says Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis. He also says Duklavs had informed the Foreign Affairs Ministry about the meeting. «It was no secret meeting,» – he said. Nevertheless, Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics was not told everything. Rinkevics is currently on vacation. «The foreign minister was informed of Duklavs’ plans to speak with Russia’s representative about matters related to agriculture and industrial fishing. The minister was not informed of a more large-scale meeting, however. If this meeting was attended by the Russian ambassador, which is the highest rank of this country’s representative in our country, this meeting cannot be considered completely informal,» – says Foreign Affairs Ministry’s state secretary Andrejs Pildegovics.


Leave a reply

MEP: operations of certain banks in Latvia ruin the country’s reputation

Money laundering is a problem in Latvia, because the activities performed by certain banks ruin the country’s reputation, said member of the European Parliament Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to Rietumu Radio.

Harmony believes education only in Latvian language is discrimination

Members of Harmony’s Saeima faction have turned to President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis with a request to halt the parliament’s newly approved amendments to the General Education Law and Education Law regarding education only in Latvian language.

Opinion: UFG and For Latvia and Ventspils were in favour of Vejonis congratulating Putin

Latvia’s President Raimonds Vējonis sent his congratulation to the newly-elected President of Russia Vladimir Putin in order to secure political capital for himself during next year’s presidential elections, says Assoc. Prof. Ojārs Skudra from Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Latvia.

Commissioner: Latvia should provide a clear response to situation in its financial sector

The scandal in Latvia’s financial sector has been reported far and wide in the European Union. This is why it is highly important for Latvia to provide a clear reaction to all this, said Vice-President of the European Commission for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Market Union Valdis Dombrovskis.

Don't joke about bombs at Tallinn Airport, they take it seriously

Estonia's largest airport in Tallinn has from early 2017 received 14 threats of the presence of explosives in the air-travel hub, most of which have been discovered to be just jokes said at the wrong place.

Minister: learning in a single education system using state language is only obvious

Education using state language is our way of ensuring sustainable development of our nation, says Latvia’s Education and Science Minister Kārlis Šadurskis.

Estonian banks close foreigner accounts in wake of ABLV closure

In the wake of the closure of ABLV Bank in Latvia and alleged money laundering via the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, lenders in Estonia are closing the accounts of foreigners, but this threatens the country's successful e-Residency programme aimed at attracting foreign investors.

Latvian Saeima conceptually supports limiting the Bank of Latvia governor’s authority

The Saeima has supported amendments to the Law on the Bank of Latvia in the first reading. Amendments provide that the term of the bank’s governor, his deputy and council members will be five years, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Baltic shareholders agree to keep Baiba Rubesa in charge of RB Rail

RB Rail CEO and board chairperson Baiba Rubesa will keep her post. This was decided by shareholders during the 22 March meeting. «The supervisory council had previously mentioned the CEO’s contribution to the company’s development. Still, we intend to find solutions and continue realizing Rail Baltica project,» said RB Rail Supervisory Council chairperson Riia Sillave.

Syrian rebel groups in eastern Ghouta announce ceasefire

In the besieged eastern Ghouta territory in Syria, which has been under heavy air strikes and artillery fire for about a month, several opposition rebel groups have agreed to ceasefire.

EU member states on Skripal attack: «Highly likely» Russia was responsible

The European Union has stated it would recall its ambassador to Moscow for consultations after heads of member states and their governments agreed it was very likely that Russia was responsible for the attack with a chemical weapon on a Russian-British double agent.

Weather to remain cold in Latvia until Easter; more snowfall expected

Weather in Latvia is expected to become cold again after a brief period of warmth. Air temperature will drop again at the beginning and the middle of next week; some areas may experience frost again, as reported by Latvian State, Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Farmers in Latvia dissatisfied with resolution of electricity-related problems

Two months have passed since farmers in Latvia had received unjustifiably large electricity bills. Countless meetings and discussions have taken place in those two months. Unfortunately, no decisive measures have been undertaken to resolve the problem. Farmers are confused with decision-makers’ incisiveness in a matter important to the national economy, as noted by the Farmers’ Saeima.

Life after 25 May: is this the end for free publication of photo galleries from events?

Many of us like to check out photos from concerts, conferences or sport events on gallery portals and social networks to have a look at guests of those events. However, after 25 May, when General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, the situation will no longer be the same.

Saeima to establish legal framework for Baltic cooperation in disaster prevention

On Thursday, 22 March, Latvian Saeima supported a legislative draft, ratification of which will help create legal framework with other Baltic States in prevention of disasters, as reported by the parliament’s press-service.

Number of complaints with postal services on a rise in Latvia

Public Utilities Commission has compiled information about complaints submitted by residents in regards to postal services in 2017. The number of complaints has increased alongside opposing views about package terminals – the regulator has received 37 complaints in total.

Output of livestock products in Latvia increased in 2017

Compared to 2016, output of meat grew by 4.6 % and output of milk by 1.4 % in 2017. In 2017, in Latvia 91.2 thousand tonnes of meat were produced, which is 4.0 thousand tonnes or 4.6 % more than in 2016. The most significant increase was observed in the output of poultry (of 11.3 %) and pork (4.7 %).

Turkey's offensive in Syria condemned by NATO ally Germany

Angela Merkel, the head of the German federal government has stated that Turkey’s military offensive in the northern Syrian town of Afrin was unacceptable and she blamed Russia for simply watching, while attacks by Syrian government forces on besieged eastern Ghouta continue.

Finance minister still believes tax reform in Latvia has brought results

«The tax reform has given us the results we had expected, especially in regards to combating envelope wages,» said Latvia’s Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

Planned hospital reorganisation in Lithuanian regions irks both mayors and patients

If the plan of the Lithuanian Ministry of Health to overhaul treatment services in the provinces does not hit a snag, the rural hospitals will be soon providing only essential care and nursing, the focus will be on out-patient care and treatment will be available only in larger county hospitals.

Ventspils beach high in popularity this week; Lembergs gets spotlight time as well

Ventspils ended up in the spotlight in an unusual way this week: seals washed up on the beach there. Animal Freedom emphasizes that human contact with baby seals would hurt them. Residents are asked to maintain at least 50 m distance from them. However, the suspended Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs decided to take photos with baby seals and publish them on his Facebook profile.

Ombudsman: problems in nursing homes and social care centres are associated with lack of funding

Problems in nursing homes and social care centres are largely associated with lack of funding, because it is not possible to perform high-quality work using currently available resources. This is the responsibility of ministries and the government, as ombudsman Juris Jansons mentioned in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Estonian music authors receive record royalties for 2017

The organisation, which is tasked by collecting royalties for local and foreign music in Estonia, the Estonian Authors' Society, has received six million euros in royalties in 2017, which is its record level.

Facebook sorry for permitting exploitation of 50 million user data in politics

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for the social network failing to ensure enough privacy to its users that allowed for data on about 50 million of its users to abused by a political consultancy firm.

Zhdanok’s replacement to promote non-citizen matter in European Parliament

Miroslavs Mitrofanovs, who has taken Tatyana Zhdanok’s place in the European Parliament, plans to promote the matter of non-citizens in the institution.

Newest comments