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Sunday 17.02.2019 | Name days: Konstance, Donats

Opinion: Lembergs is not deserving of the 1991 Barricade Participant’s Commemorative Badge

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«It still remains unclear where Chairman of Ventspils Executive Committee Aivars Lembergs was during the January 1991 barricades. He has yet to provide a clear answer. However, in spite of that, Lembergs is not shy to mention in his biography that he was awarded the 1991 Barricade Participant’s Commemorative Badge,» BNN was told by Ventspils City Council opposition deputy Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis.

He explains: «Like every year, commemorative events were organized in many parts of Latvia this January. Unfortunately, no such events were held in Ventsils, even though during the January 1991 barricades period this city was home to the United Self-Defence and Coordination Council, which helped organize and coordinate participation of hundreds of Ventspils residents in efforts to protect Latvia’s independence in Riga.»

«Aivars Lembergs’ participation in the 1991 barricades remains unknown to this day»

Without a doubt these historic events and Ventspils residents who stood guard during this decisive period of Latvia’s history deserve respect. Unfortunately, commemorative events in Ventspils are left with no attention year after year. It is possible the commemoration of 1991 Barricades and Ventspils residents who took part in it is forgotten because nothing is known about the activities of Aivars Lembergs during the 1991 Barricades period.

Considering the aforementioned, as well as the fact that to attract attention to and properly evaluate the participation of Ventspils residents in the January 1991 barricades need to be determined. Evaluation is also needed for certain facts about the involvement of Aivars Lembergs during this sensitive period of Latvia’s history.

As it is known, Aivars Lembergs, as the chairman of Ventspils Executive Committee, did not participate in the Unified Self-Defence and Coordination Centre’s work. Moreover, members of the Unified Self-Defence and Coordination Centre, Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia, Cabinet of Ministers and the heads of Latvian People’s Front had no idea where the chairman of Ventspils Executive Committee was at the time. Nevertheless, Lembergs is not shy to openly state in his personal biography that he was awarded with the 1991 Barricade Participant’s Commemorative Badge.

Discrepancy in facts

The only officially available information about Aivars Lembergs’ location during the January 1991 barricades is found in the 2 February 1991 issue of Ventas Balss – the article on A.Lembergs’ visit to Belgium written by E.Melngalve.

The article mentions: «Over the course of 15-22 January the chairman of Ventspils Executive Committee Lembergs was in Belgium. He visited Brussels and Antwerp. The visit was outlined primarily by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia, which had also provided several objectives in relation to the complicated situation in Latvia. Secondly, Ventspils businesses preferred to use Antwerp port for their economic interests. Lembergs held several meetings with journalists, public and business representatives. He also met with the mayor of Antwerp. Belgian news articles mentioned several interviews with Lemberrgs (the biggest one was reported by Antwerp’s largest newspaper HET NIEUWS BLAD 18.01.), in which he informed Belgian society about the situation in Latvia. After his return to Riga, A.Lembergs submitted a report to the Supreme Council.»

On 3 May 1991, Latvijas Jaunatne magazine journalist Ināra Egle, in her article «Aivars Lembergs: stop annoying me!, was not shy to question the activities of the chairman of Ventspils Executive Committee, because it was a rather unclear topic. The journalist wrote – ‘Before the bloody Sunday in Lithuania, he had suddenly departed on something like a vacation, but it was later revealed in Ventas Balss article that he was in Belgium this whole time’.»

Unfortunately, no further clarity was achieved during 1:1 debates organized by LTV in 2017, when the illegitimate Ventspils City Council chairman and holder of 1991 Barricade Participant’s Commemorative Badge, Aivars Lembergs mentioned for no reason that during the 1991 barricades period was, in fact in Rotterdam, not Belgium.

It is common knowledge that Rotterdam is a city in Netherlands, not Belgium. This discrepancy with the facts reported in the 2 February 1991 article written by Ventas Balss puts the author of the article Edīte Melngalve in an uncomfortable position. Unfortunately, according to the facts reported by the illegitimate chairman of Ventspils City Council Aivars Lembergs, E.Melngalve is the one who had maliciously misled Ventspils residents by coming up with false facts.

«Aivars Lembergs offered no reliable information»

There are no doubts that Aivars Lembergs, as a state official, did not, in fact, visit Belgium, did not visit Brussels and Antwerp, did not perform any tasks entrusted by the Supreme Council, did not represent Ventspils’ economic interests at Antwerp Port, did not meet with journalists, public or business representatives or the mayor of Antwerp during the aforementioned period of time.

Additionally, there are no doubts that state official Aivars Lembergs not only had no way of giving interviews to Belgian newspapers in 15-22 January 1991, which was wrongly reported by Ventas Balss editor Melngalve, but also had no reliable information about the situation in Latvia during the sensitive period of Latvia’s history.

Considering the aforementioned, Ventspils City Council opposition deputy wants to know what Aivars Lembergs was doing during the 1991 barricades period and why there is such a major discrepancy in reported facts. He also wants to know why there are no records left from the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia or any other state institution that would confirm the claim that Lembergs was given objectives in relation to the complicated situation in Latvia.

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