Kremlin’s useful idiots continue mocking Latvian nation

04.07.2020 Off By Redaktor
Kremlin’s useful idiots continue mocking Latvian nation

The Kremlin’s media continue playing the same old record and actively inform the public about the scary “dogma” of the Latvian nation that allegedly is the foundation of everything Latvian – total discrimination of Russian-speakers.

For instance, in early June pro-Kremlin media outlets eagerly cited several of the Kremlin’s useful idiots who fiercely defended the poor, segregated and discriminated Russian-speakers not only in Latvia, but in all of “Pribaltika”.

It is no secret that the Kremlin’s fake news agency Sputnik regularly spreads lies about the discrimination of Russian-speakers in Latvia, particularly in the context of state language policies and the 9 May “celebrations”. And one of the hot topics in early June was the ban of the potato beetle ribbons (ribbon of St. George). Naturally, the self-proclaimed and notorious “human rights” activist – whom the State Security Service knows quite well – Vladimirs Lindermans was one of the first who felt the need to speak up about the ribbons, as well as language-related issues. He tried to comfort his peers by stressing that it is crucial for Russians to protect this ribbon because historic memories lie not in the heart, but in symbols. He was able to tie this together with the decision by the Latvian National Electronic Media Council (NEPLP) to cease broadcasts in the Russian language on the TV channel LTV7 starting with 1 January 2021. Lindermans believes this is done with the sole purpose of driving Russian-speakers out of the country – first, by denying them education and work opportunities and now by isolating them from the media.

During an online meeting, Russia’s Permanent Representative in the OSCE Aleksandr Lukashevich confidently announced that the Russian-speaking communities in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are regularly facing discrimination. He particularly stressed children, who no longer have to opportunity to acquire education in their native language. Lukashevich believes that Latvian authorities did not do anything to ensure homeschooling in the Russian language, despite requests from parents. He also noted that during the Covid-19 pandemic children not only had to engage in distance learning, but also had to face the fact that tuition took place in the Latvian language, thus negatively affecting the quality of education for those who speak Russian.

Lastly, another of the Kremlin’s propaganda mouthpieces stood out with “special analytical skills” when in early June it published an article saying that the discrimination of Russians will turn the Baltic states into the US. The author of this article is none other than political expert, international journalist and analyst at the Russian Baltic center for social and political research Aleksandr Nosovich (Александр Носович). His work includes numerous publications that discredit the Baltic states, comparing them to the US, Ukraine and other nations that are not among Putin’s circle of friends. He expressed that the repressions against Russians in the Baltic states since the nineties can be compared to the worst periods of racial segregation in the US. He, just like the long-time customer of the Latvian State Security Service Vladimirs Lindermans, also spoke about the decision by the NEPLP to cease broadcasts in the Russian language on the channel LTV7. He believes Russian-speakers would watch broadcasts in Latvian if these broadcasts featured something actually important instead of Latvian propaganda, but since Latvia is an “ethnocratic” state he believes that communication between Russians and Latvians is impossible. He stressed that Russian-speakers are a separate social group that is being regularly pushed aside and isolated from the privileged part of the Latvian society. The Kremlin’s useful idiot continued to repeat that just as “blacks” in the US, there are also non-citizens in the Baltic states [specifically meaning Russians] who are second-class people by law. He also couldn’t resist repeating the old statement that non-citizens cannot acquire jobs in specific positions [well, you can’t work as a Latvian language teacher if you don’t know the Latvian language], that they are banned from acquiring education in particular educational institutions, they cannot carry firearms [that’s exactly what we need] and they cannot count on the state aiding them if they get into trouble abroad. Nosovich added that those who have naturalized are facing draconic language laws, language exams and the language police. But what language problems could there be for people who have naturalized – only in the case of being too stubborn to actually speak Latvian, that’s all. I will also add that there is no such institution as the language police in Latvia.

It seems that the Kremlin’s idiots are running out of ideas. They keep on saying: “As years pass, nothing really changes. The Baltic states, including Latvia, are still Nazi establishments that repress and torture the poor Russians. People in Syria too are looking for refuge in other countries, aren’t they?”

If it really was so bad in Latvia as these three useful idiots say, the majority of Russian-speakers would have long emigrated to the “prosperous and opportunity-filled” Russia.

So, why isn’t that the case? Perhaps it is so because the circumstances there are far worse. What concerns the narratives about discrimination, these have long been disproved, but repetition is the mother of learning.

At first, it may really seem that the decision by the NEPLP to stop broadcasts in Russian on the channel LTV7 has something to do with radical nationalism. Upon reading the fairytales by Lindermans and Nosovich it feels like the only justification for this decision is Russophobia. Of course, it’s not. In the best traditions of the Kremlin’s disinformation, they fail to talk about the essence of the issue and instead choose to yell about discrimination, censorship and Russophobia.

However, the reason for this decision is quite simple – funding. Head of the NEPLP Ivars Āboliņš explained that he believes that public broadcasting should definitely have content tailored towards ethnic minorities, but due to the drop in ratings of LTV7 and a shift in the viewers’ habits, the NEPLP has decided to move ethnic minority content online where an ethnic minority platform will be established on the basis of (Public Broadcasting of Latvia).

Therefore, no part of the society is being isolated, and information is available to everyone. Moreover, the new platform will provide more comprehensive content in the Russian language. It was also explained that already the audience of the Russian-language version of consists of roughly 500,000 people.

And Aleksandr Lukashevich’s criticism regarding education being provided only in the Latvian language is wrong at its core. According to amendments to the education law, Latvia is transitioning to tuition in the Latvian language. The law passed in 2018 on transitioning to education in the state language stipulates that while general education subjects in high school will be taught in Latvian, ethnic minority students will be able to learn subjects – or modules – concerning their language, literature, culture and history in their native language.

Nosovich worked extra hard to mix-up different unrelated topics – from language issues in the “ethnocratic Latvia”, to comparing Russian non-citizens to Afro-Americans and the language police that persecutes naturalized Russians.

I must admit that this Kremlin’s professional useful idiot doesn’t lack creativity, and those who have no knowledge of these topics could actually read about the “draconic” laws against non-citizens and truly believe everything. But the truth is always simple – all non-citizens can naturalize and apply for posts in state institutions; there is no such thing as a language police that would aggressively turn against Russian-speakers in Latvia. The rights and obligations and the status of non-citizens are stipulated in the law “On the Status of those Former USSR Citizens who do not have the Citizenship of Latvia or that of any Other State”. According to this law, non-citizens are granted human rights in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia. They also have the right to acquire Latvian citizenship. What concerns the false statements regarding “apartheid” policies, they are disproved by the internationally-binding International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid ratified on 30 November 1973.

And the ban on wearing the bug beetle ribbons – the law is still being reviewed, and as our always-discontent Russian human-rights activist Lindermans said himself, the possibility of the law being passed is 50/50.

It is important to note that since 2014 Putin’s “little green men” have been using the potato bug ribbons in the occupied Crimean Peninsula as signs of recognition. Considering that Latvia has not and never will recognize Crimea as being part of Russia, as well as the painful experience of Soviet occupation, it is understandable why the ban was suggested. Despite the plans to ban the St. George’s ribbon, citizens and non-citizens disloyal to Latvia will still be allowed to gather on 9 May near the pole of shame in the Victory Park in Riga to allegedly “remember” those who fell during the war and “grief” while sitting at abundant celebration tables in their homes.

Baiba Zile