Novosti Press
April 25, 2006


The media are disappointed over Russia’s reluctance to make big investments in the Estonian railroad. “Russia wants to increase the amount of goods shipped in Estonia but does not want to deal with our railroad business, said an influential businessman from our Eastern neighbor… Vladimir Yakunin, (head of the Russian Railways), predicted that the growth of transit business in Estonia would be five times less than in Lithuania, and ruled out any opportunity of investment in the Estonian railroad.” (Erileht, April 12)

Analysts write that the West has adopted a strictly pragmatic approach to problems in relations with Russia. “News about Russia… is often negative. They are talking about the geopolitical power methods of the Eastern neighbor. Yet, Russia is a market, which is of much interest to investors because of its rapid development… Speaking pragmatically, political freedoms in Russia are important for investors insofar as they influence the operation of businesses. In general, the Kremlin allows businesses enough freedoms.” (Erileht, April 12)


The Russian-language press is arguing with national publications, which are actively disseminating rumors about the efforts of Russian security services to discredit the Latvian president. “The expulsion of a Russian diplomat may become the peak of the new anti-Russian hysteria… Sources name two major reasons for another attack at Russia. First, on the eve of elections it is necessary to distract the Latvian electors from real domestic problems. Secondly, the last two months saw positive changes in Latvian-Russian relations – preparations are underway for the meeting of the two prime ministers in Reykjavik, the sides are discussing possible conclusion of an economic treaty, the foreign ministers of the two countries are planning to meet in the near future and establish a group on the problems of migration… Many Latvian politicians do not like these developments, because ‘the enemy concept’ is the only capital of the radicals.” (Vesti-Segodnya, April 18)


The parliamentary crisis in Lithuania, as a result of which Speaker Arturas Paulauskas had to resign, caused a markedly negative response from the media and politicians of the national conservative camp. They fear that this situation plays into the hands of the Russian authorities. “This week they were most probably drinking champagne in Moscow. In just a couple of hours Lithuanian politicians managed to do what all Kremlin residents failed to achieve in several years – oust a Lithuanian diplomat who kept reminding Moscow about the Soviet occupation, and the need to pay for it, about legal action against the participants in the coup and state criminals, that is, about those things which the Kremlin did not want Vilnius to talk about and won’t want to hear this for a long time to come.” (Lietuvos rytas, April 15)

The media saw “the Kremlin’s hand” in a letter sent by the Russian Ministry of Justice to Lithuania, demanding restrictions on the purchase of shares of the Mazeikiu Nafta oil company from Yukos. “The government has missed an opportunity for buying Mazeikiu Nafta shares from Yukos and reselling them to other investors. Moreover, it has come under the Kremlin’s influence… At present, events are developing in line with the Kremlin’s scenario – Yukos will become bankrupt, Mazeikiu Nafta shares will be arrested, and be given to Moscow as payoff for Yukos’s debt.” (Lietuvos rytas, April 14)