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Friday 25.05.2018 | Name days: Junora, Anšlavs
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Magonis’ case may affect Russian transit policy

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAccording to the head of Latvian Logistical Association Normunds Krumins, the arrest of the now former Chairperson of LDz Ugis Magonis can be one of the causes for changes in Russia’s transit policy, as reported by lsm.lv.

«My personal opinion is that this case [the sudden decision to carry out repairs of Russian railway lines in Latvia’s direction] is related to what happened in Latvia [Magonis’ arrest],» – said Krumins in an interview to Labrīt programme of Latvijas Radio. He said it would be best to maintain good relations with Russia and not avoid mixing business with politics.

Krumins says it is very hard to say what the true reasons for the sudden repair plan are.

One of the best indexes that will demonstrate Russia’s true attitude will be the fate of transit that runs through Belarus. Some of Russia’s cargoes are carried through Belarus. If that transit stops, it is most likely that Russia has certain political reasons behind its transit policy against Latvia. If this particular transit branch remains untouched, then it will be certain that Russian services are carrying out railway repairs.

Latvian Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss is of a similar opinion. He believes a halt of transit through Belarus would demonstrate political reasons. However, there are currently no reasons to believe the number of cargoes going through Belarus could decline in the near future. Matiss noted that the situation is being exaggerated for no reason.

BNN had previously reported that Russia plans to carry out repairs of its railway lines in Latvia’s direction, and that because of this there will be limited train flow in the next couple of months. Representatives of Russian Railway have informed their partners in Latvian Railway about this.

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  1. MBI says:

    I have been a pretty vocal critic of Russia and Putin over the last several years, and for good reason in my opinion, but I now feel, that Europe should be more open towards Russia.
    I feel, that there has been a positive shift taken place within the Russian Elite, and they have become more humble and less arrogant. They know, that relations, especially culturally and also economically, with Europe, can never be replaced by China.
    Russia and Putin have always asked for respect, but I feel it is their turn to show respect for Europe first, its borders and culture, and then Europeans will be more than willing to respect Russia, and welcome her with open arms.
    Trust can be restored in my opinion, but it will be a slow process, and the majority of effort for this has to come form the Russian side. Europe and Germany will play its part, but Russia and Russians have to be more humble and respectful of the liberal traditions of Europe, and then there will be no problems.
    Over the last several years Europe, and especially Germany, has become more independent form the United States and more self-confident. This is a good thing. Europe can serve as the bridge and ambassador between Russia and the United States. If either Russia or the United States, try to control Europe and have her do their bidding, this will backfire and not work out and just create conflict, that benefits nobody, not Europe, Russia or the United States.
    I am more optimistic now, than I have been in quite a while about Europe and Russo-European and American-European relations.
    Europe and Russia are the key. Europe is the ambassador between Russia and America and Russia is the ambassador between China and Europe. What and how China and America figure things out between them is their issue.

    We need to focus on and make sure, that the Trans-Atlantic Alliance, NATO, etc., is in harmony with Russia. This will lead to peace and prosperity globally.
    I hope President Putin uses the last remaining year of the Obama Presidency to calm down relations between the United States and Russia. President Obama has a positive view towards Russia and therefore this effort can succeed more easily. The next American President might not be as cooperative, and so we have to use this next year especially, to solve the conflict in Ukraine and get our economic and cultural relations back in harmony.
    I wish all people involved in this effort much success, and I feel, that Latvia can play a very constructive role in all this.

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    • Linda says:

      We’d all like to believe Russian government & her president have grown softer but that is unlikely given Putin’s presidential lifelong wish is to return Europe to the size of the Tsarist empire regardless of the wishes of the sovereign nation states that managed to chuck off the shackles of Russian imperialism, and to this aim Russian President and his entourage work by whatever means possible. If Russia wants to show benevolence, etc., then set the kidnapped Estonian policeman free! And stop posteuring on the eastern borders of EU.

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  2. MBI says:

    Thank you for your feedback and your suggestions, Linda.

    It would a very effective and symbolic gesture of good will to set political prisoners free, I agree.

    Let us hope the Russian leadership is listening and seriously considering these steps to start a new dialogue and approach between Russia and Europe, especially the Baltics.

    I am confident we will see movement and softening on these hardened fronts soon.

    Best wishes

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