Latviski English По-русски
Ceturtdiena 24.08.2017 | Name days: Boļeslavs, Bērtulis

Opinion: in search of threats to Latvia's national security

(+3 rating, 3 votes)

Following the rise in tension in Ukraine after the resolution with Crimea, many Latvian politicians hastily provide their voters controversial statements. Some support the situation in Crimea, most condemn it. There are also politicians that try to provoke society, take part in controversial events and present propaganda of both opinions on this matter, according to deputy of Ventspils City Council Aivis Landmanis.

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU‘There is no doubt – aggression should be condemned. But why do politicians remain silent when we attempt to discuss the causes of this situation? I am certain – the causes of this situation lie in corruption of all government levels, which degraded Ukraine and ultimately cost the country some of its territories. Is Latvia all that different? Unfortunately, no, it is not. Like in Ukraine, corruption has infiltrated all government management levels in Latvia,’ – he says.

He notes that some of Latvian political decision makers also often take part in questionable monetary transactions and act as though they are blind and deaf when someone raises the topic of cleaning up corruption in the government and getting rid of those who misappropriate state funds and steal resources from the country.

A politician of Russia’s opposition – Vladimir Kara-Murza – describes Russia’s political system the following way: ‘All types of mafia organizations are structured similarly – the ”boss” is always ahead of everyone else. Members of this system are allowed to steal, carry money over the border and do anything they want as long as they provide political loyalty to the regime and Putin personally. This provides political loyalty for all members of the regime.’

Commenting this statement, Lanmanis notes: ‘Similarly to Russia, Ukraine had a boss of its own – Yanukovich. Latvia has multiple bosses – local oligarchs. The influence of one of them reaches to all levels of government. This man is, of course, the criminally accused Aivars Lembergs, who is the sole reason why the country is unable to stop systematic extravagance (including in freeports), introduce better management of municipalities, their subsidiaries and owned companies and put an end to his illegal activities, which includes influence over the minds of the population and indirect pressure on judges and witnesses involved in the criminal case against him.’

Who and why wants to paralyse the introduction of the good management principle in freeports and prevention of money squandering?

Landmanis notes that the current Saeima and previous government coalition share on specific priority – improvement of management of Latvia’s sea ports. ‘Unfortunately, reforms aimed at putting an end to money squandering and pressure on investors in freeports were uncomfortable for all political parties present in the government – For Latvia and Ventspils, Union of Greens and Farmers, Unity, National Alliance, Harmony Centre, Honour to Serve Riga and Liepaja’s Party.’ According to him, the current coalition, PM Laimdota Straujuma and Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss at the helm, is doing everything it can to stop the initiated reforms.

‘What I mean is on February 26th, 2014, the Latvian ports, Transit and Logistics Council supported Transport Ministry’s proposed initiative that provides for having 90% of port dues in the State Treasury be returned back to ports. The argument that was used in favour of this was the following – it is necessary to divert revenue generated by ports to the development of Latvia’s ports. Very well, but tell me, ladies and gentlemen – why isn’t this argument applied to all port costs? Why aren’t the Cabinet of Ministers. Transport Ministry and the Latvian ports, Transit and Logistics Council concerned about Ventspils Freeport Board, which is already used to diverting millions every year to port unrelated things?

Do our politicians truly believe expenses listed in Ventspils Freeport Board’s budget for 2014, including advertisements using sports organizations (approximately EUR 1 million), marketing using associations and agencies (approximately EUR 447,000) and other expenses that are clearly unrelated to actual port activities are meant to improve port infrastructure and development? Is it really necessary to remind supervisory authorities about the regulation stated in the Law on Ports regarding the use of port finances only on port infrastructure and development needs?

As usual, our politicians act blind and deaf. This is quite expected. Who would go up against ‘the boss’? It is best to silently agree and take the much needed money from pensioners, teachers and police officers,’ – says Landmanis.

Why has it not been possible to introduce good management principles in Boards of state and municipal enterprises?

‘The structure of Latvia’s political environment is made in a way that allows only political fanatics, altruists or political mafia supporters to be able to work there. It should be said, however, that the latter represent the majority in Latvia’s case. The political tone in Latvia is dictated by political mafia. The goal of this organization is to live at the expense of our residents. This mafia benefits from a weak and deeply corrupted state government. This is why it does all it can to make sure that normal, educated and respected people cannot take part in politics.’

One of the instruments used to achieve this is low level of remuneration and bad publicity for unlikable individuals. This means that if a person wants to get into politics, he or she should keep in mind one simple rule – if you are honest and fair, you will likely starve. If you want more, join the robbers of the state, says Landmanis.

‘Unfortunately, this applies not just to a couple of dishonest politicians. Our country has been taken over by robbers, their supporters and the indifferent. In order to realize their schemes, they willingly interfere with the state, municipalities’ and their subsidiaries’ attempts to introduce good and democratic management principles. They act as though they do not see authoritarian management regimes, they do not care about sorting out state enterprises and Freeport managements, because that would result in no room for “their” people. You might say “NOT TRUE”, but explain then why the Cabinet of Ministers, Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja city councils protest against making Freeport activities transparent and thereby prevent misappropriation of funds and other illegal activities? Why can’t the Saeima approve amendments to the Capital Enterprises Law to limit the approval of political representatives in management Boards? Why can’t the sort out the Law on Municipalities and prevent political lawlessness? Why do we continue to entrust the organization of municipal elections to municipal politicians in power? Most importantly – why does the state allow criminally accused individuals remain in posts in the government, municipalities and state enterprises?’

Landmanis reminds – when then the minister Edmunds Sprūdžs tried to dismiss still the criminally accused Mayor of Ventspils, Latvia’s highest ranking officials – Andris Bērziņš, Valdis Dombrovskis and Solvita Āboltiņa – turned away from Sprūdžs.

‘It seems that there are no political parties in Latvia that would defend the interests of the people. Those who attempt to “rebel” against the ruling mafia are immediately put down by the political mafia clan. In Ukraine’s case, however, this resulted in the loss of many lives and territories. Our politicians teach others, but they also seem to forget how they terrorize their own people. They seem indifferent even about the annual report of the U.S. Department of State, where it is stated that corruption in all levels of state government is considered the biggest problem for human rights in Latvia. Last year’s survey results clearly demonstrate that the population of Latvia does not believe the government does anything to reduce corruption. But the political mafia does not care,’ – says the Ventspils deputy.

He adds that if this situation persists, there will be nothing stopping any aggressor who decides to attack Latvia’s sovereignty. A country is only as strong as the solidity of its population.

‘Unfortunately, most of our politicians serve their bosses, not the people. This is why I believe only when politicians start actually combating corruption and start managing the country in accordance with principles of good management, Latvia will be able to increase its level of welfare and strengthen its population’s loyalty to a country, which are the main conditions for the preservation of a country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,’ – says Landmanis.

‘It will not be enough to increase the defence budget by simply condemning Russia. Stop supporting mafia bosses and their corruptive system,’ – Landmanis says to Latvia’s politicians.

Leave a reply

People’s gathering: criticism of president Vejonis causes loud applause

The New Conservative Party’s organized people’s gathering at Town Hall Square this Wednesday, 23 August, gathered more than 400 people. JKP representatives said that people should gather for such meetings every month, because this is how democratic society is formed.

Expert: pressure on cost increase in the near future will be enormous

Pressure on the increase of costs in the next several years will be enormous, and there are worries about the government’s ability to withstand that, said Fiscal Discipline Council’s member Andzs Ubelis in an interview to 900 seconds programme.

Lithuanian President kicks off initiative to bring Lithuanian emigrants home

In another attempt to stem high emigration, Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė along with Jurgis Didžiulis, a hip Lithuanian singer of Columbian descent, launched a new initiative, «Choose Lithuania», aiming to slow down exodus.

NMPD Director Sarmite Villere to step down

Sarmite Villere, director of Latvia’s Emergency Medical Service, has decided to step down from her post, says NMPD representative Inga Vitola.

Antane admits the situation with Latvia’s transit industry is tragic

Baltic Association – Transport and Logisics President Inga Antane describes the situation with Latvia’s transit industry as tragic. Cargo volume decline has been continuing since 2012. Antane also mentions that, looking at the recent past, 2016 was one of the worst in Latvia’s transit history, Antane said in an interview to RigaTV24.

Daugavpils party decides to leave coalition shared with Harmony

Daugavpils political party Mūsu partija, in which Rihards Eigims is the leader, has decided to leave the established coalition with Harmony in Daugavpils City Council.

Pulks: lunches in Riga’s kindergartens should be free

Riga City Council’s Unity faction leader Olafs Pulks has sent a letter to the city council’s Education, Culture and Sports Department’s Director Guntis Helmanis, asking him to immediately perform calculations and prepare proposals for Riga’s budget project for 2018 to secure free lunches for all children of the capital’s kindergartens.

Study: poor households will gain very little from the tax reform

Poor households will gain very little from the recently approved tax reform. There is a large number of unemployed people who will not the change with PIT, according to results of a study performed by Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and economic policy research centre Biceps.

Puce: either Kucinskis has a memory like a goldfish, or he doesn’t take his own words seriously

Political party For Latvia’s Development invites Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis to prove the promise he once gave to Latvian taxpayers to not change taxes in the next three years. This invitation was extended, considering information that was voiced at the 22 August meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers in relation to the search for ways to expand fiscal space.

Brivais vilnis: grey economy’s presence in fishing industry may be 40%

The total proportion of grey economy in Latvia’s fishing industry may be around 40%, says fish processing company Brivais vilnis chairman Arnolds Babris.

SRS: violations uncovered at restaurants mostly associated with illegal employment

Most of the violations uncovered by Latvian State Revenue Service during inspections at restaurants in Riga and Jurmala are associated with illegal employment and non-declaration of revenue, said SRS Director Ilze Cirule in an interview to Rīta Panorāma this morning 23 August.

Europe commemorates victims of Nazism and Stalinism

Nine years ago, MEP Inese Vaidere and four of her foreign colleagues accomplished that the European Parliament officially approved and issued a written declaration on declaring 23 August the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of European Stalinism and Nazism.

FCMC allows Latvian Central Depository to function as service provider

Finance and Capital Market Commission has decided to allow Latvian Central Depository to start providing services as a central securities depository starting from 18 September.

Without cheap labour, Liepaja prison construction may take a while

Because projects submitted by different construction companies for Liepaja prison exceed the funding that is available for the project, it is planned to cease the procurement. A new one will be announced soon, said Justice Ministry’s state secretary Raivis Kronbergs after a government meeting on Tuesday, 22 August.

Sudraba claims KNAB investigated oligarch case to the maximum extent

Investigators of the so-called oligarch case, which continue working at the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, performed their work responsibly. Information leak during the investigation, on the other hand, had impacted the investigation considerably, said head of the parliamentary investigation committee Inguna Sudraba as a visit to KNAB.

Survey: 43% of internet store users purchase something once a month

Overall, Latvian consumers are satisfied with the purchases they made on internet stores. 65.3% of respondents believe internet stores are safe and reliable. 44.7% of respondents say they have never had any problems when shopping on the internet, according to results of a survey performed by

Government establishes prohibition to wear face-concealing clothes in public

On Tuesday, 22 August, Latvian government supported Justice Ministry’s proposed legislative draft on restrictions for face-concealing clothes, which prohibits residents from wearing such clothes in public places.

Experts explain why a teenager’s «I don’t know» is so dangerous

Most often we say things like «I don’t know» because we are afraid of making choices. Reaching their teens, youngsters become more independent, and the inability to make responsible decisions and say «no» can have serious consequences, says psychologist Sabine Vilcina and youth motivation programme «MOT. Izvēlies drosmi!» manager Ilze Paidere-Stake.

Traders: following VAT decline, prices of goods will decline as well

Latvian Association of Food Traders supports Agriculture Ministry’s proposal to reduce VAT rate for food and separate food product groups. Traders confirm that this step will also reduce food product prices in stores.

The most major risks and solutions for real estate purchase and rent with option to buy

To acquire housing in one’s property, often residents use rent with an option to buy. Sworn attorney Zanda Zaluma of Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns shares advice resident should keep in mind when signing real estate contracts.

Finance Minister: businessmen will be forced to pay larger wages

The current market situation shows that Latvia should speed up its education reform and think about attracting additional human resources from other countries, said Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Latvia to procure Stinger anti-air missile launchers

A mutual contract has been signed between Latvian Defence Ministry and Danish Defence Ministry for the procurement of anti-air missile launchers used by the Danish armed forces, as confirmed by Latvian Defence Ministry.

Oil prices and stock exchange indexes decline in Europe

On Monday, 21 August, oil prices declined. Exchange indexes in USA increased slightly, whereas exchange indexes in Europe declined because of concerns over the policy implemented by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Terrorists in Barcelona were planning three explosions

Terrorists, who performed two attacks in Catalonia last week, were initially planning to blow up three shuttle buses in crowded areas in Barcelona, as reported by El Espano.

Lawyer: Maxima wants to earn by reducing compensations for the tragedy

Maxima Latvija and Zolitude 21.11 have reached an agreement on payment of EUR 900,000 to support victims of Zolitude tragedy – EUR 5,000 to EUR 75,000 to each person, as reported by Maxima Latvija.