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Wednesday 19.09.2018 | Name days: Verners, Muntis
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MEP about Riga Mayor’s desires: maybe all three of his wives should be given jobs?

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«One of the rare mistakes admitted by Nils Ušakovs as the head of Harmony is picking journalist Andrejs Mamikins as a candidate for a spot in the European Parliament. Harmony’s leader announced as much during the last congress in December. The conflict between the two started shortly after Mamikins made it to Brussels in 2015. In an interview to Nekā Personīga, Mamikins said the reason for the conflict was Ušakovs’ attempt to force him to accept the mayor’s ex-wife Jeļena Ušakova as an employee in his office in Brussels,» the programme reports.

Mamikins: «Let’s start with this – belief that it is necessary to condemn Crimea’s annexation, terminate the deal with United Russia, shake hands with John McCain and make selfies with American tanks in the background and that these are pro-European steps is a big mistake. It is not Europe. Europe has many beliefs, and even socialist family has parties that have deals with United Russia, and I don’t know why it was done.»

«Now for the formal portion – usually European parties are managed collectively. There are councils and councils have their territorial offices. Here, on the other hand, everything is decided by one man. And if he says something to territorial offices, they will comply. And this is where democratic principles end. Questions people do care about, such as the education reform, are not discussed. Do we or do we not support Russian schools? People accidentally find out from internal correspondence that they should not participate in protests. Why not? Who prohibited that? Likely they all understand who it was. Ušakovs said as much – he confirmed he was the one,» says Mamikins.

Nekā Personīga: «You say the party in not democratic. Is this movement towards western values a façade?»

Mamikins: «It is a façade, yes. It’s there mostly to demonstrate that we are the same as you, Germany, Luxembourg, and France. But let me repeat myself: socio-democratic parties in France and Germany and managed completely differently.»

Nekā Personīga: «What was your conflict? Why did you leave the party?»

Mamikins: «I am one of the few people in Harmony who refused to unquestionably complete all of Ušakovs’ orders. Every now and then I told him ‘no’. I know how to say no, which is something many respectable people cannot if they want to keep their seat in the party. I said no very often. At some point I realized he will simply refuse to speak with me eventually. If I’m not mistaken, this happened in 2015.»

Nekā Personīga: «And what was the reason?»

Mamikins: «Well, we did discuss many questions, including employment of people in my office, which I didn’t like. I said no, and he told me: ‘Then expect problems. You will be ignored by all party members. You will be ignored by journalists because you are pompous in politics even though you are an ex-journalist.’ It was the last phrase Nils said to me. We said our goodbyes, I told him: ‘Happy Easter!’ it was April, the Easter week. Since then we’ve not communicated. I decided not to toss away trash; I stayed quiet and continued working. I tried fixing the façade in the EP, I told Harmony as much. I met with colleagues from European Socialist Party, invited them to Riga – I did what I could. Until December, when Ušakovs officially announced at a congress that Mamikins was his mistake. His mistake as the head of the party. That’s nice, life goes on.»

Nekā Personīga: «When you mentioned employing people in your office, did you mean Jeļena Ušakova? Did you employ her?»

Mamikins: «It included her, yes. There were three assistants who previously working in Riga City Council as Ušakovs’ assistants. At the same time, they were also fictive assistants for me. At one point, I wanted to end it. Assistants are needed, especially for a deputy. Unfortunately, there is this style I cannot accept. It is said that all Latvian parties – all Latvian parties in Latvia – have their own, but Harmony has its own style to put their people in posts: in municipalities and state structures. I think something similar happened in Germany and France. It was also accompanies by corruption scandals. But I doubt such things do not happen on the same scale in France, Germany, and Luxembourg.»

Nekā Personīga: «Would she actually perform her duties or would she just look as if she is an assistant and be paid a wage for that?»

Mamikins: «It was about her working in the Brussels office as an accredited parliamentary assistant. A Brussels assistant. I had no room for more employees. I would have to fire an actually working person, and I wasn’t prepared to do that, because people had been selected, accepted and had already worked for me for a year. And now I would have to say goodbye to them because someone wants to get their wife a good job? I wasn’t ready for something like that, so I decided to defend my people. And so this conflict went on. Some people are lucky, you know? I have only one wife, but he has three. Maybe he wants to get good jobs for all of them, you know?»


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