Inga Freivalds, November 13, 2010

Latvia’s greatest concern currently is its position and perception in the international arena. Russia, full well realizing this, has launched a malicious propaganda campaign against the current Latvian government headed by Vienotiba (Unity) and Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis. Moscow’s campaign to try to oust Foreign Minister Kristovskis from office is the most overt and recent example of this.

Russia’s/Putin’s disinformation campaign (w/ the help of the Russian parties in Latvia SC/PCTVL, and their Latvian allies/oligarchs A. Slesers-LPP/LC, A. Skele-TP and A. Lembergs-ZZS) is intended to quash Latvia’s independence and progress, not to mention to further dilute and damage the Latvian language and Latvia’s unique cultural identity. Throughout their propaganda, the Russians are using inflammatory catchwords like ‘Nazi’, ‘Hitler’, ‘fascist’, ‘russophobe’, etc. These words are infamous and catch the attention of most everyone. It is a cheap trick, and hopefully intelligent people will not buy into it. Hopefully the EU, NATO and USA ‘get it’, as they say. Let’s step back and put things into perspective. Stalin’s Russian bolsheviks, communists and terrorists were just as bad, if not worse, than Hitler and his Nazis.

Stalin himself was a narcissistic and paranoid egoist, who ultimately killed many more people than Hitler, and, interestingly enough, Putin is currently trying to resurrect and improve Stalin’s reputation in Russian history. In contrast to the propaganda coming out of Russia, it is also important to consider the catchwords ‘Stalin’, ‘KGB’, ‘Siberia’, ‘deportation’, ‘gulag’, ‘famine’, ‘Great Purge’, etc. Stalin’s Russian terrorists ultimately occupied Latvia for 50 years! They sent thousands upon thousands of Latvians to their deaths in Siberian concentration camps. They outlawed the Latvian language, religion, etc. The NKVD/KGB also forced Latvians to spy on each other. They flooded Latvia with ethnic Russians in an attempt to dilute and ultimately dissolve Latvia. Now they accuse us of being anti-Russian. Of course, it is only natural that we are now weary of Russia’s motives in Latvia, and wish to protect our language, cultural identity and independence. Unfortunately, Russia will not admit to the basic historical fact of its 50 year occupation of Latvia, and that of many other countries. Stalin’s terrors unleashed on Latvia were also experienced by many other countries and ethnic groups including: Estonians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Poles, Romanians, Volga Germans, Crimean Tatars, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Karachays, Meshketian Turks, Bulgarians, Greeks, Koreans, kulaks and people of Jewish descent. Stalin’s engineered Ukrainian ‘Holodomor’ famine/genocide and his execution of Polish POW’s, known as the Katyn massacre, are of particular note because of the overwhelming number of people who died and perished as a result of Stalin’s mandates during these cataclysmic and inhumane horrors. As modern day PR campaigns go, the Russians have done well on a very base level, but they did not succeed in ousting Latvian Foreign Minister Kristovskis.

Let’s hope Europe and the rest of the world realize what Russia is really up to. Why should Russia be concerned about the ‘civil rights’ of ethnic Russians in Latvia, when Putin ignores the rights (and does worse) of most Russians in his own Russia. It is hypocrisy at its worst. What about the ‘civil rights’ of the 52 journalists murdered in Russia since 1992? Remember the November 2006 deadly poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in a London restaurant? Mr. Litvinenko was a former colonel in the Russian secret service and a fierce critic of Putin. Did Russia consider the ‘civil/human rights’ of former world chess champion Garry Kasparov and his ‘Other Russia’ supporters, when they participated in an authorised anti-Putin rally in Moscow, in November 2007, a week before parliamentary elections? No, Mr. Kasparov, was arrested and imprisoned for five days. Other demonstrators at the Moscow rally were also arrested. In St. Petersburg, at a demonstration also organized by Mr. Kasparov, 200 people were arrested as they chanted “Russia without Putin.” For these and many other transgressions by Putin’s regime against the Russian people, it is disingenuous and hypocritical of Moscow to now accuse Latvia of violating the ‘civil rights’ of ethnic Russians in Latvia.

It is currently trendy throughout the world to be ‘politically correct’ (whatever that phrase truly means). Putin’s propaganda against Latvia guises itself in the cloak of ‘civil rights’ and ‘political correctness’ in an attempt to manipulate the EU and USA against Latvia. Personally, I would like to believe that the leaders in Europe, the U.S. and other countries are wise enough to see through Moscow’s cloak of propaganda and hypocrisy. Finally, the irony, of the Kremlin’s deliberately provocative use of the word ‘fascist’ to slander patriotic Latvians, is that the largest country in the world today, where the government engages in fascism, is Putin’s own Russia.