Russia provoking ethnic tensions in Baltics

Pro-Kremlin Latvian MEP Tatjana Ždanoka

Russia’s Foreign Ministry special representative for human rights, democracy and the rule-of-law, Konstantin Dolgov, has told a regional conference of the Russian Compatriots in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania that any alleged discrimination against Russian speaking populations in those countries will “have far-reaching, unfortunate consequences.”

The direct threat comes before elections in Latvia where concerns about Russian provocations continue to simmer. Latvian national television has reported that the Russian embassy in Riga is actively recruiting and paying Russian speaking Latvians to fight for pro-Kremlin guerrilla groups in Eastern Ukraine.

Latvian MEP Tatjana Ždanoka, who leads the pro-Kremlin, Latvian Russian Union party, has stated her support for the recruitment efforts. Ms. Ždanoka was a leading opponent of Latvian independence from the USSR in the 1980’s and 90’s and supports much closer ties to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

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