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Saturday 19.08.2017 | Name days: Melānija, Imanta
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Šlesers links his failure in elections in Latvia with the conflict in Ukraine

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUUnited for Latvia political party gained only 1.81% of votes during the 12th Saeima elections because the armed conflict in Ukraine and the potential danger for Latvia seemed more important to Latvian residents than the party’s proposed national reconciliation, says the party’s leader and businessman Ainārs Šlesers.

He says he now understands that the party’s proposed national reconciliation was voiced in the wrong time, because the developments that started to unfold in Ukraine in spring put the proposal, which invited Russians and Latvians to build a political nation based on Latvian language as the only language, was put on a permanent hold.

Šlesers believes the threat to their security seemed more important to voters than national reconciliation. The previous pre-election topics «Latvian, do not surrender!» and «Russians come!» were replaced with the question «Do you support Putin or are you against Putin? Do you support Russia or are you against Russia?», – said the businessman. He believes people became afraid of the armed conflict in Ukraine of the «green men» and the annexation of Crimea.

Many people with whom Šlesers had met asked him when Russia would attack, when it would occupy Latgale. «I do not blame anyone for that. Although there were reasons for concern, I did not want to change the work order prior to elections. I believed it was vital to propose the topic of national reconciliation as the main one regardless of results of elections. I don’t think one election event is enough for people to turn away from the idea of national reconciliation.»

Šlesers believes voters always have the right to make a decision that seems right to them. United for Latvia is neither for nor against Russia. «We speak of economic matters: things that should be done and areas that should be developed. It is possible that even economic topics did not seem as important to voters and the matter of security. We do not partake in populism – whether or not Latvia will be safer with or without Russia. Our voters were caught between choices and United for Latvia ended up crushed in the middle of it,» – admits the businessman.

According to him, Ukraine now pays in blood to make sure Latvia and Europe are safe. Before the Ukrainian crisis, such a scenario did not seem possible. «I think even Russia did not anticipate that there would be armed clashes in Ukraine. It was not Russia that organized the riots of Maidan. USA realized its policy there,» – believes the businessman.

According to him, Washington gained a victory in Kyiv, but Russia could not allow USA to deploy NATO bases in Ukraine, right next to its borders. This is why there was the annexation of Crimea.

In regard to Latvia’s security, Šlesers says Russia does not have the capacity for another conflict, which is why Latvia can feel safe. «I am certain that Russia does not want to wage war; it has been forced into an armed conflict. I believe it is important for Russia and USA to reach a solution in Ukraine. If Russia comes down to a military conflict with NATO in Baltic States, not Article 5 would help – we would simply be erased from the surface of the Earth,» – concludes Šlesers.

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