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Friday 18.08.2017 | Name days: Liene, Helēna, Elena, Ellena, Liena
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Opinion: weakening Latvia is in Putin’s interests

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIf there is someone who is working hard to divide the population of Ukraine, it is not someone among local Russians and Ukrainians, this task is being performed by Putin and his policy. The majority of the work aimed to divide people and pit them against each other is performed by Kremlin propaganda and information war. This applies to Latvia as well, believes member of Unity, deputy of Riga City Council Sarmīte Ēlerte.

‘Kremlin’s policy and their puppet-organizations such as the Non-citizens’ Congress, MEP Zhdanok, Gaponenko and their support groups are aimed at dividing Latvia’s society,’ – she said in an interview to Latvijas Avīze newspaper.

According to her, modern warfare does not necessarily include the advancement of armed forces somewhere from the woods. She says Russia makes due with a couple of hundred people in its war against Ukraine. These people take over administrative buildings and their authority. She believes Latvians should not be surprised if such acts of provocation are performed in Latvia. According to her, the risk of this is low, because Latvia is a member of NATO. Nevertheless, Ēlerte weakening Latvia is in Putin’s interests. According to her, ‘a weaker Latvia means a weaker European Union’.

The politician also adds that the country’s regions should be strengthened based on results of recent surveys. This especially applies to Latgale. There have been investments in infrastructure over the past several years. There have also been investments in support of Latvian language courses in border regions with Russia and support for regional media. Aside from that, it is no less important to address the side of non-Latvian residents. The region would benefit from specific programmes, especially in regard to matters of cultural identity in Latgale. Language alone cannot stand by itself without any cultural backing.

It is also clear that it is not enough to close Russian television channels – it is also necessary to give something back. Ēlerte says: ‘We should not be naïve, because the amount of money Russia invests in its propaganda is so high, we simply cannot afford to compete. Hopefully, we will be able to create a Baltic channel or “European voice”. The problem with such an undertaking is that agreements between many countries take time. It is possible to provide immediate support for regional information channels. This especially applies to Latgale, because regional information may prove to be the most competitive.’

According to her, results of the European Parliament elections will allow politicians to predict what happens next. The situation will become clearer after the upcoming Saeima elections as well.

‘It is possible that a tramway ticket was more valuable to some people than Latvian language as the only state language before the events in Crimea. Saeima elections will be a very principled choice: political parties that will end up forming the next government in these not too safe times will also compile Latvia’s geopolitical allegiance and Latvia’s existence as an independent state. Member of the Board of Harmony Centre Krivcova, who had recently expressed joy for yet another statement from Kremlin that was aimed at Latvia’s reputation, even aims to participate in the European Parliament elections! If HC and its satellites – Sudraba’s or Repše’s party – manage to gain the majority in Saeima elections, it will be a serious threat to Latvia’s future.’

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  1. michael walsh says:

    Playing the devil’s advocate, if this is the case, is Russia doing anything that the West isn’t doing 1,000 fold? When Vladimir Putin spoke of the situation with the Russian Foreign Agents Law in his interview with A.R.D., he also noted a huge disproportion in the number of foreign Non-Government Organisations (NGO) in Russia and Russian NGOs abroad.
    He pointed out that there were 654 foreign-funded groups operating in Russia, while Russia sponsored only two foreign NGOs – one in France and one in the United States.

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