Monsters and
Europe News
December 3, 2007

Riga – Local media in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Monday were divided along ethnic lines over the outcome of Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Russia.

‘They stood for Putin,’ read the headline in the Russian-language Telegraf broadsheet, which covered the Russian elections in the Baltic European Union member states.

Commentators on the Latvian newspaper website Diena called the Russian President ‘Czar Vladimir Putin.’

‘Czar Vladimir’s personality cult is the same as Stalin’s,’ commentator Karlis Streips said.

Mostly older and middle-aged Russian citizens living in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania formed long lines outside embassies in Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius on Sunday to vote in the Russian parliamentary elections, casting more than 30,000 votes across the three small countries.

‘Russia’s image on the international arena is very important for us,’ Latvian MEP Tatjana Zdanoka was quoted as saying by the Neatkariga newspaper.

‘Without a strong Russia, our children won’t preserve their national identity,’ Zdanoka said at the Human Rights for United Latvia party congress.

In Lithuania, the Russian embassy bussed voters more than 150 kilometres to Vilnius from the predominantly-Russian town of Visaginas, the home of the Ignalina nuclear power plant, the Delfi news portal said.

When the Baltic states regained their independence, some Russians in Latvia and Estonia chose Russian citizenship after both countries made them go through a series of tests on local language and history.

Then, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Russians became non- citizens, with no right to vote in national or, in Latvia, local elections. After 15 years of state-sponsored naturalization, over 500,000 remained ‘resident aliens’ while others became Russian citizens.

© 2007 dpa – Deutsche Presse-Agentur