For the first time in many years, Latvia has taken a step towards Russia, offering to discuss measures to strengthen trust in the military sphere. More recently, anything like Latvians did not want to hear. One of the explanations for what is happening it’s hard to call banal: it appears that Riga really believe that will be the first victim of world war III.
This week the Ministry of defence suggested the Russian colleagues to send their experts to meet in Riga to discuss the possibility of reducing the tensions on the border and the growth of the degree of mutual trust. This is the first initiative of its kind from the Baltic States. In his letter, the Latvian side admits the anxiety from building military infrastructure close to its borders and expressed the hope that the parties can agree on greater transparency of their actions. It is definitely a positive initiative can be explained by the fact that Riga lost his nerve.
“Putin’s next step is more dangerous than the previous one”
“If the US got Latvia into a “war of sanctions” with Russia, we should help her. This is roughly the same as in the case of a decent man who after the first night with a girl is obliged to marry”
Over the past six months, the leadership of the Latvian army has taken a number of measures of a defensive character. For example, staged a “roll call” of troops and increased surveillance of the border and airspace. Relations between Moscow and Riga now is really worse than ever, the concern of the Latvians obviously fueled “stuffing” of the Western press. If you believe it, in the last three years there is nothing that does not interest the Kremlin, as the possibility of seizure of the Baltic States.
Alarming signals and provide, in particular, The Washington Post is one of the leading U.S. Newspapers, pay attention to Riga, and found that the Ministry of defence prepared itself to defend against Russia “to the last”. The MEP from Latvia Artis Pabriks confirmed – Latvians fear that the new US President will make an Alliance with Vladimir Putin, so I hope that the Americans will rescue Latvia, is no more. Lithuanians Latvians solidarity – at the end of October the authorities of the Republic issued a memo about how people should behave under occupation.
In turn, the magazine Foreign Politics published an article by employee of the administrations of George Bush and Barack Obama Paul Miller under the ominous title “How the Third world war may start in Latvia”. “Putin’s next step is more dangerous than the previous because it might direct view on the Baltic States that are NATO members. He will not send large military units in uniform, because even the most cautious members of NATO in that case will not ignore the open conventional invasion. Instead, Putin within the next two years will invoke it with the help of his henchmen militarized crisis,” Miller scares. According to his drawing of a scenario, “non-citizens” of Latvia and Estonia, organize the “popular front for the liberation of the Russian Baltic”, which will start in the format IRA – by attacks. Russia wants to stand up for their compatriots, and Poland try to use the 5-th item of the NATO Treaty (mutual assistance), stating that the Baltic States were attacked by Russia. “And then US President, Trump will have to decide whether protection of Latvia, to begin her Third world war,” says Paul Miller.
Latvian publicist Ilya Kozyrev about this is surprised: “In the same Northern Irish terrorist war has been stopped, including the political wing of the IRA in government. It turns out, the developments described in the article, it is possible to prevent exactly the same way. It is clear that the Latvians in any case do not want to share power – itself is not enough. But Americans enough to send the order on the letterhead of the Embassy, backed by his promise of sanctions for the disobedient. And believe me, it will be solved within a couple of days – “Consent” (the opposition party for that vote of Russian – approx. OPINION) will be in the coalition. Why is a country that is bombing for the sake of democracy the remotest countries, does not want to establish the democracy among its allies and vassals? The explanation can be only one thing: the Americans are satisfied, the presence in the Baltic States, the conflict potential is just what they need.”
“Shot out” on the subject and Bloomberg, published an article by Leonid Ragozin that in Latvia, the growing fear of Russian military exercises, but Moscow deliberately escalates the tension. The article even named the names of some Latvian “sympathizers of the Kremlin” – the mayor Rezekne Alexander Bartashevich and local government Deputy Daugavpils Yuri Zaitsev. In guilt imputed Zaitsev serious sins: not only that he believes that the US was responsible for the Ukrainian crisis, in March 2014 he traveled an observer at the referendum in Crimea and did not see there anything illegal.
For its part, the birds complained to the newspaper VIEW on working methods of Western publications. “I had spent the last hour explaining to the representative of “economic”, as he assured, the journal of the harm the “war of sanctions” between Russia and the EU in General and the confrontation between the West and Russia. Specific examples explained – our Daugavpils locomotive repair plant, meat processing plant, local milkman, tranzitchiki and representatives of many other industries are suffering huge losses from the loss of the Russian market, the company bankrupt and closed. I suggested to the Americans to open in Daugavpils factory – ironically explained that they, as representatives of the “governing and directing of the regional Committee”, after the imposition of sanctions are obliged to do so. If the US got Latvia into a “war of sanctions” with Russia, now, from a moral point of view, have to help her. This is roughly the same as in the case of a decent man who after the first night with a girl is obliged to marry. But I understand, it’s not about Americans… Journalist Bloomberg didn’t want to ask how America and other pioneers of this adventure can help to reduce the impact of sanctions – well, let’s say, for the same locomotive repair plant. He did not want any words to write about Daugavpils investment opportunities of the free economic zone! But this “friend” turned out perfectly to paint my trip to the Crimea in the referendum… Here I sit now and think, and where this log is economic?” – the politician is perplexed.
“Lips or cheek?”
This series of horror stories about the impending Russian attack on the Baltic States, of course, not the first. So, last winter, came the acclaimed film of BBC “the Third world war: the command post” (World War Three: Inside the War Room). Under the proposed scenario, the Russian-speaking residents of Latvia rise up in support of same Russian in Tallinn, entered into clashes with Estonian nationalists. In the centre of riot – Daugavpils, the largest city of Latgale. An unknown from nowhere, armed with Kalashnikovs, the citizens seized the building of the city Duma, drop and burn the flag of Latvia, declare the creation of a “Latgale people’s Republic” and are calling on the help of Russia. The local mayor by the name of Dimitri Vorslav (in reality, the mayor’s name is Janis Lachplesis and he is a loyal adherent of the ruling party), declares a referendum on secession from Latvia. In response, the Riga authorities declare mythical Vorslav and his supporters outside the law and trying to neutralize them, but the uprising erupted even hotter – insurgents captured twenty kilometers of the border with Russia, through which Moscow was preparing to send humanitarian convoys. After much hesitation (sounds sacramental phrase “are we Ready to die for Daugavpils?!”) NATO enters to Latvia’s rapid reaction forces, Russia says largest exercise in the Pskov region. It follows a series of tragic coincidences – and the forces of the Russian Federation and Alliance enters into direct clashes, and there to a nuclear exchange in the neighborhood.
In the Daugavpils this film has caused a painful confusion. In recent years, the town was almost deserted – much of the working population left for more prosperous countries. For the rebellion needed people with drive, and in Latgale those are almost gone, the bulk of the local population are retired people. However, the rumors that Latgale “is about to rise up”, apply for that year. In the region regularly travel to Western journalists disguised as representatives of the security services – sniff, scout, testing the waters. So, at the beginning of 2014 in London’s The Telegraph published a sensational article “the Ukrainian crisis has caused concern in the Latvian “Crimea”. Visited Daugavpils, the journalist Colin Freeman stunned reader: even though the membership of Latvia in NATO, “Mr. Putin wants to be your foothold.”
Six months later, in the edition of Polityka has published a scandalous article by Polish journalist Ziemowit of Shereka also swept in Daugavpils. In his article he paints a grim landscape: excavated tram track, sparse, dimly luminous lights, sulky Park low houses, cars with St. George ribbons. The population is suspiciously refuses to be afraid of “aggressive Putin”, and in the car the cab driver putting pan Mereka, is “Radio of Russia”. “Even the head of the Latvian Union of poles, a native of Daugavpils Ryszard Stankiewicz almost fell over laughing when I asked him if he was afraid that Russia will begin to implement in Latvia the “green men” – surprised Derek.
And here is the testimony of the inhabitant of Daugavpils Sergey Alexandrov: “Communicate with a group of active Russian-speaking young people (flash mobs, children’s camps, evroproekt). Their three – three! – of times over the past six months interviewed the staff of the American Embassy with the special questionnaires. For the first time over the questions together, we laughed. There were listed some “Partisans of Ludza”, “Local Russians” and other unknown organization and was asked about the attitude to them – and, of course, to the possibility of different “separatism” in Latgale. The second time he stiffened. The third time was troubled…” It confirms a resident of Rezekne Vadim Gilis: “Over the last two years for me in Rezekne came four journalists’ groups from different European publications. The climax was the visit of the Director of the European Bureau of the New York Times, Mr. Andrew Higgins. And the main questions they all had: well, when you immediately begin the Donbass and how are you going to kiss the armor of Russian tanks – lips or on the cheek?”
In February, the party “Russian Union of Latvia” held in Riga protest against the demonstrations in the television of the mentioned film World War Three: Inside the War Room. The activists said: “the Film is shot as a documentary investigation, but in fact it is a naked lie, which do not have the slightest grounds. British propagandists have created it in order to justify the increase in military spending”. However, the protests of Russians in Latvia who are not ready to become a “pasture”, few people are interested. And if earlier rumors about “the Third world war in Latvia” were used to justify the buildup of NATO troops along Russian borders, now they have a new focus that is associated with the name of Donald trump. Not so long ago he made a sensational statement that NATO countries need to worry about their safety, and not to shift that responsibility to Washington. “Any President will confirm that the NATO countries don’t pay relying with their share (of military contributions – approx. OPINION)”, – added the colleague of trump, newt Gingrich. He called Estonia “the suburbs of Saint-Petersburg”, recognizing that they did not dare to get involved in it in a nuclear war.
In principle, nothing new in this approach there (of course, if you display the brackets atypical for American elites frankness Gingrich). All NATO countries have increased their defence budgets to at least 2% of GDP, and insisted the Obama administration. And the Baltic States to this listened. Estonia has met the standard of one of the first. And the Latvian Saeima, as it became known on Thursday night, despite financial problems, increased spending on defense by 98 million euros to 1.7% of GDP. But you need to understand that the defense of the Baltic States as “the last frontier” was used actively in the election campaign in the United States, and it is possible that the hysteria around the “Third world war” – a direct consequence of this. In late August the Baltic States called for the outgoing Vice-President of the USA Joe Biden. Upon returning home, he told voters that the Baltic countries are mortally afraid of Russia, and that the President will be trump. And still the Great opponents of Donald trying to discredit him on this line, claiming that he can “throw Putin at the mercy” of “our great allies in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.”
But there is a silver lining. Or really believing in this propaganda approach, if judging that the increase in bilateral tensions, in any event, will not bring the country any good, the Ministry of defence of Latvia has sent the Russians offer to negotiate.