Latviski English По-русски
Friday 28.10.2016 | Name days: Ninona, Ņina, Antoņina, Oksana

Opinion: unfathomable how UGF could nominate Lembergs as its Prime Minister candidate

(+1 of 1)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU‘An experienced Latvian politician and mayor of a large city speaks of our choice to join the European Union and NATO as though one of Kremlin’s ideologists, outcompeting even Putin’s partner party Harmony Centre’s politicians in his statements,’ – said MEP and Chairman of For Fatherland and Freedom/ LNNK party Roberts Zīle in his interview to BNN in regard to Aivars Lembergs recent statements about NATO’s role in the defence of the Baltic region.

‘I have been working in politics for 25 years. I believe Latvia’s admission into NATO and EU are also a result of my work. So I feel rather disappointed to hear such things,’ – as the politician expresses his disappointment about the recent statements of the Ventspils politician.

BNN had previously reported that Aivars Lembergs’ friendly attitude towards Russia, including his announcement that the only ones who would benefit from the deployment of NATO troops in Latvia would be the prostitutes, has been noted by Russian media.

With that Lembergs managed to ‘express his views’ on Russian television.

According to what Lembergs told the Russian channel, some American soldier could launch a rocket towards Moscow, and this can be done without Latvian government knowing about it, because Americans are the ones order around NATO. As a result, the counter-strike may fall on Latvia. ‘We all know how Americans behaved in Japan, Iraq, Vietnam and many other corners of the world. Latvia has a treaty with USA that states that American soldiers are to be stand trial in USA for any offences they perform in Latvia. This is why I believe it is very dangerous to have foreign military forces present in Latvia,’ – says Lembergs.

It is not the only criticism Lembergs mentions in his interview to Russian media in regard to NATO: ‘Who occupied Gibraltar? NATO member state UK. Who occupied Cyprus? NATO member state Turkey. With that, looking at Europe’s practice in this, NATO member states present the highest threat level.’

Lembergs words have caused concerned talks in Latvia. Deputies of the ruling coalition in Latvia are also baffled by his opinion. They await explanations from the Union of Greens and Farmers as to the thoughts behind their decision to nominate this person as the party’s Prime Minister candidate numerous times.

‘It is unfathomable how the Union of Greens and Farmers could propose a person with such views as a possible candidate for the post of Prime Minister of Latvia. We can only imagine Latvia’s fate if he had become Prime Minister at some point,’ – says Zīle.

He believes UGF should decide whether they, as the political party responsible for Defence Ministry and Latvia’s ties to NATO, represent Latvia as a country tied to Western values or a country turned towards Kremlin’s Eurasian Union ideology.

‘These two political vectors cannot meet. This is why we expect this political party to provide a clear opinion and make a political choice – either such statements are acceptable for them or they are not. If UGF remains silent, then there is a high probability that this party may form a coalition with Harmony Centre or any other pro-Kremlin party that may end up in the Saeima after the elections. This scenario is very dangerous, because it may lead to Latvia’s exit from NATO and notable increase of Russia’s influence,‘ – believes Zīle.

Both Zīle and Reform Party’s deputy Sandra Sondore-Kukule believe Lembergs’ statements are completely unacceptable.

Sondore-Kukule notes that UGF should present a clear position on actions of its partners.

‘I was more surprised not by the absurdity of Mr Lembergs’ words, but by the fact that he seems to actually believe in what he says,’ – said the deputy.

She adds unlike many other countries in the world, there is freedom of speech in Latvia. And the freedom of speech is among the values defended by NATO and European Union. ‘I hope Mr Lembergs can appreciate that.’

Unity’s representative, member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Inese Vaidere told BNN in an interview that Lembergs’ statements came as surprising and equally absurd to her.

‘NATO is the only guarantee of Latvia’s security at the moment. Mr Lembergs might not have noticed what is currently going on in Ukraine and what happened in Moldova and Georgia after Russia’s attempts to create the Eurasian Union or even restore the Soviet Union, hoping to include these countries in it,’ – said Vaidere. At the same time, the MEP said Lembergs does not have the kind of influence to pose an actual threat to Latvia’s security.

Lembergs’ loyalty towards Russia was demonstrated by him several times. He had mentioned once: ‘I know only Russian language. I often tell my son: if you want to do business, you don’t have to know any foreign languages, but you absolutely must know Russian language.’ During the recent event in Ukraine, Lembergs had said it a number of times that Latvia should keep quiet and not try to ‘teach Russia how to live’. One of his latest comments implied the introduction of NATO forces in Latvia would mean a military occupation, similar to the one Latvia suffered in 1940.

Public figures express deep concern over the fact that Kremlin’s main television channel shows how the most popular politician of the Union of Greens and Farmers – Lembergs – openly says NATO is a threat to Europe and Russia. They add that Lembergs’ party For Latvia and Ventspils should be expelled from UGF.

Lembergs’ opinion has not gone unnoticed in Latvia. Social networks are filled with a furious storm over this kind of opinion. High-rank Latvian officials express their thoughts on this as well. Former Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks condemned Lembergs’ statements on his Twitter page; rhetorically asking if anyone in Ventspils would like to follow the example set up by Donetsk – request independence and join Russia.

Latvia’s current Defence Minister Raimonds Vejonis distances himself from the matter, referencing his previous decision not to dwell on such statements. In spite of this, he continues to receive angry comments from society. According to the people, such a position of a minister sounds more like ‘I don’t care’ or ‘leave me alone’.

Ref: 102/

Leave a reply

  1. mike walsh says:

    “She adds unlike many other countries in the world, there is freedom of speech in Latvia. And the freedom of speech is among the values defended by NATO and European Union. ‘I hope Mr Lembergs can appreciate that.’… the irony is that she is indignant and critical of his free speech.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Ilmars says:

    The solution is simple. Kick all the UFG Ministers out of the current government, and dont vote for them at the coming election.
    A vote for the Union of Farmers and Greens (UFG) is a vote for Putin.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

KNAB selection process concludes with no results

Members of the committee responsible for selecting the new head of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau decided not to pick any of the available candidates, Martins Krievins, director of the state Chancellery and chairman of the selection committee, announced on Friday, 28 October.

Retail trade turnover up 0.5% in Latvia

Compared to September 2015, total retail trade turnover rose by 0.5% in September 2016. Turnover of retail trade in food products decreased by 1.8%, whereas the turnover of retail trade in non-food products increased by 1.6%.

16+1 business forum in Riga to gather around 300 businessmen from China

As part of the upcoming summit of leaders of state of countries participating in the 16+1 cooperation format between China and countries of Central and Eastern Europe in Riga there will also be a business forum. Participation in this forum has been confirmed by 150 high-rank state and business representatives from seventeen countries.

Moldova up for polarising presidential election

Voters in Moldova will on October 30 go to ballot boxes in order to express their support to the country’s foreign policy direction towards the European Union or to closer links with the Kremlin, by electing a president.

Latvia’s banking sector earned 374 million this year

In the first nine months of 2016, Latvia’s banking sector functioned with profits worth EUR 374 million. All sixteen Latvian banks and three out of seven foreign bank branches in Latvia worked with profits in this nine-month period.

Sakharov Prize awarded to Yazidi women activists

The European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize has been awarded to Yazidi activists Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar, victims of sexual slavery under the rule of terrorist group «Islamic State».

Russian opposition: Putin has few supporters and just as many opponents

Russia’s weak spot is President Vladimir Putin’s built system, in which everything depends on a single person, said coordinator of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia foundation Vladimir Kara-Murza at a discussion organized by Konrad Adenauer.

Countries agree to establish world’s widest marine protected area in Antarctica

The European Union and 24 more countries have reached an agreement to declare Ross Sea in Antarctica a marine protected area – largest in the world.

Belgian regions agree on CETA changes to support EU-Canada free trade agreement

The political leaders of Belgian regions and communities have on October 27 agreed on a consensus to support the free trade agreement between the EU and Canada, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel stated.

Post-election flare-ups emerge in Lithuania, as winners build new government

Nearly a week after the second round of Lithuania‘s general election, the Lithuanian Peasant and Green Union, the holder of 54 mandates in the141-member Lithuanian Parliament, has not gotten a step closer to agreeing with other political parties on a new Cabinet.

Antane: we still need Russia in order to work with China

«There is nothing good I can say about the current state of Latvia’s transit industry – cargo volumes handled by the country’s ports continue to decline. The volume of coal cargoes transshipped by Ventspils port, for example, has dropped to 40%. The overall decline last year, when compared to 2014, reaches 20.5%. This decline has been continuing since 2012,» – Inga Antane, president of the Baltic Association –Transport and Logistics, said in an interview to

Construction costs in Latvia up 0.1%

Compared to August, the level of construction costs in Latvia increased by 0.1% in September 2016. Prices of building materials, as well as maintenance and operational costs of machinery and equipment did not change significantly, whereas labour remuneration of workers grew by 0.5%.

Think tank forum to assess the state and development of 16+1 format

Latvia’s Foreign Policy Institute will organize a forum for international think tanks for countries taking part in the 16+1 format in the Foreign Ministry in Riga on 4 November.

EP: 2017 budget should allocate more money to jobs and youth

The European Parliament has carried out a plenary vote to request more money to help young people find jobs, enhance economic growth and help third countries deal with the migration crisis. According to MEPs, the opinion of the EU Council in regards to budget cuts should be changed in the opposite direction.

EP approves million-euro assistance to Estonian laid-off industry workers

The European Parliament has backed the allocation of 1.1 million euros to assist people in north-eastern Estonia, who lost their jobs in mass lay-offs in shale oil production and chemical industry.

NATO confirms entry of two Russian warships into Baltic Sea waters

On Wednesday, 26 October, NATO confirmed the entry of two Russian warships into the waters of the Baltic Sea.

Italy hit by earthquakes again

A pair of powerful earthquakes have shaken central Italy on October 26, causing damage to buildings.

Changes to Handling of Alcoholic Beverages Law and other matters viewed by Saeima

On Thursday, 27 October, the Saeima will gather for a meeting to decide on the new legal draft On Public Procurements. New regulations for procurements provide a number of changes and additions to the current regulations.

Study: Wildlife populations have globally decreased by 58% since 1970s

The numbers of wildlife in the world have since 1970 decreased by 58%, it has been found in a study.

Fine applied to two Knauf Group plasterboard suppliers

On 30 September, Latvia’s Competition Council made the decision to punish Knauf and Knauf Group’s Norgips sp.z.o.o. from Poland for using a loyalty system that considerably restricted competition, thereby breaching the prohibition on abuse of market dominance.

Pharmacies in Sweden restrict sale of paracetamol

Restrictions should be put in place in the sale of paracetamol setting forth a ban to sell more than one pack of the drug to minors, decided Swedish pharmacies on October 26.

Ambassador: we are beneficial to the Chinese, but we can be even better

On 5 November, Latvia will not only be the host for the 16+1 format, but also the destination for the first official visit by the Chinese prime minister, said Latvia’s ambassador in China Maris Selga.

UK pledges to send drones and tanks to Estonia

British defence minister has this week outlined the country’s plans of its involvement in NATO’s push to increase the defence capabilities of Estonia.

Not all Roma happy about Lithuanian firm making tours to largest Roma village in Baltics

Lithuanian Roma representatives have been critical about a tour agency organising sightseeing tours to the village of Kirtimai promoted as «an extreme challenge» having a former drug addict as a guide.

Fifteen Syrian refuges arrive in Latvia from Greece

On Tuesday, 25 October, fifteen people, including nine children, arrived in Latvia from Greece as part of the European Union resettlement programme.

Newest comments