Category Archives: BALTIC STATES

Riga pride

In the first six months of hundred-day “Baltic pride” — international forum of LGBT activists and culminated in the thousands for a gay pride parade. The participants came from all over Europe, but the local population greeted the event with little enthusiasm. Representatives of radical organizations went to the streets to Express their dissatisfaction, but were unable to put up any noticeable resistance. Despite the fact that Latvia remains the most homophobic country European Union, voices of the defenders of traditional family values are sound quieter — both on the streets and in government offices. “the” observe an open lesson of tolerance in the Baltic.

large-Scale LGBT forum “Baltic pride” is held annually in one of the three Baltic countries, and this year it was the turn of Latvia. “Baltic pride-2018” is hundreds of events, mainly cultural and educational in nature. They began in March, but the main events occurred in the first half of June. The final event was a street procession in Riga on 9 June.

hundred-day LGBT-marathon began with great fanfare. The head of the local organization sexual minorities “Mosaic” Christine Garin said that “Baltic pride-2018” in Riga will be an important signal to the Latvian authorities and legislators of the unacceptability of the situation when representatives of sexual minorities are not considered full and equal members of society.

Indeed, if you believe the recently published results of research of the International Association of lesbians and gays in Latvia the situation is the worst in the entire European Union. Even lower among European countries located Monaco, Russia, San Marino, Moldova, Belarus and Macedonia.

not surprisingly, local activists decided to use the opportunity to announce it. The representative of the “Mosaic” Kaspars Zalitis has urged Latvians to come to the rainbow procession of families with children, not particularly hoping for participation of the local LGBT community. “More than seventy percent of participating in “Pride” — heterosexuals — complained Zalitis. — They follow their friends, for the idea, other expressions of solidarity, while many members of the LGBT community watching the procession from the side. They are afraid to go with us, afraid to get in the media because their environment can learn about their orientation, they are hiding”. Illustrating the level of homophobia in the country, Zalitis remembered how on a recent event, people were throwing excrement at members of sexual minorities.

unlike the local, the international LGBT community has supported the “Baltic pride” and word and deed. Hollywood actor Ian Mackellen, known to millions of viewers as Gandalf from the hobbit franchise, called for everyone to take part in the Riga March. He addressed “brothers and sisters”, asking them to show solidarity with the gay movement.

the participants of the pride addressed the Minister of foreign Affairs of Latvia Edgars rinkēvičs, known for the fact that he came out and became the first in the history of the state politician, openly recognized his homosexuality. In recent years, Rinkevich actively promoting the government the legalization of gay marriage, which fiercely resist the right-wing policies.

Head foreign Minister complained that many representatives of sexual minorities had to leave Latvia due to the prevailing social climate of intolerance.

“I Have a dream about Latvia which has the power in diversity and that respects and cares for the rights of all its citizens, — wrote Rinkevich, imitating the famous speech Martin Luther king. Policies which do not divide the society, manipulating hatred and aggression, and respectful to all. I also have the dream of the earth, which does not leave people just because they are different”.

Positive atmosphere somewhat spoiled by an unpleasant incident that took place in Riga for a few days before the gay pride parade. The staff of the Latvian police detained two men, a foreigner and a citizen of Latvia, publicly engaged in oral sex near the shopping centre Origo in the Central station of the capital. The foreigner was fined 70 Euro for disorderly conduct, the punishment incurred of a local resident — is unknown. Video with a demonstration of “public lewdness” widely dispersed on social networks and caused a flurry of indignation. Needless to say that the opponents of the gay parade got another reason to accuse the LGBT community of immorality and defiant contempt for the generally accepted norms of morality.

However, the procession took place as planned. It began at noon in vērmanes Park. Participants then marched through the main streets of Riga and returned to the garden. According to the Riga city police, the procession was attended by over eight thousand people, many of whom came from other countries: the UK, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus and other States. It was people of all ages, including children. Many came with painted faces, dressed in a most peculiar way or no clothing.

the Mood of the parade was very positive. They were making faces, danced, joked, laughed. Many were holding balloons, small flags and large banners with a picture of a rainbow, flags of the Baltic countries, the EU, as well as numerous posters. Inscriptions in English and Latvian reads: “Love never lies”, “Marriage is two love, not two genders” “I kissed a girl and I liked it. I kissed a boy and I liked it. I’m bisexual. Deal with it”, “I can’t believe I still need permission for this”, “There are five hundred varieties of homosexuality, and homophobia is only one” etc.

In a gay parade was the Ambassador of Finland to Latvia Olli Rantanen and the staff of the American Embassy with a large banner U. S. Embassy Riga supports Baltic Pride (“the United States Embassy in Riga supports Baltic pride”). The crowd was moving cars with loudspeakers, sounded cheerful music, songs musicians from different countries. There was no shortage of reporters who are particularly interested in participants from countries where such processions are prohibited. “We are really not so bad — said came from Belarus Arthur. — In the bureaucracy are still people on the old look, but the society is ready to change.”

on this day in Riga from gay pride parade blocked the traffic in the city centre and even blocked some streets for pedestrians. Police worked on the enhanced plan, in order to avoid collisions. And the risk was among the residents there were those who were not limited to angry social media posts, but also found it necessary to declare publicly about their relationship.

However, unhappy was not so much. From morning to Vērmanes garden came little more than a dozen people with candles and icons. “We are representatives of the Orthodox, we don’t want to see this abomination. Our children should not see this evil. Here they are, and we must take the sword and drive them filthy broom!” emotionally said the woman who introduced Elena.

Another protest rally was held by members of the organization “Stop migration” gathered outside Merkel, in front of the house “of the Latvian society”. They labeled the event as “a protest against the promotion of homosexuality and other mental deviations”.

the Protesters, only about thirty people stood in a strict fashion, dramatically contrastirovania with frivolous costumes of the marchers. With a stern expression on their faces, they held placards that read: “rainbow — not gay!”, “No to perversion, but normal families”, “Male + female = normal”, “Get your dirty paws off our children.” Representatives of the rival parties threw at each other hostile views, exchanging insults, but throwing feces at this time is not reached.

the protests were joined by the head of the right-wing organization “Center of Gustav zelmira” Igors Siskins, at one time served in prison for extremism. He said that “although gay people were, are and will be, but parades such a plan is not necessary.” A woman with a massive crucifix in his left hand in Russian shouted in a loudspeaker: “Let these poor children will repent! The Lord is merciful, he will forgive! Not valid in Latvia Sodom and Gomorrah!”

Despite the apparent mutual aversion of the parties, the open of physical aggression, no one dared — probably due to the fact that the protesters and participants of the pride shared a police cordon and metal fences. One man, however, threw a smoke bomb demonstrators. He was detained and brought to administrative proceedings. Another, not keeping righteous indignation, threatened one of the demonstrators with physical violence, and also conducted to the police station for preventive conversations.

the Scandal, if you can call it that, erupted after the gay pride parade. Journalists discovered among its members the son of the Minister of justice Dzintars Rusnack. Eighteen-year-old Karlis Jacob rusnaks has an active social life — it can often be seen on various social events, and in school he combines with work as a model. The piquancy of the situation lies in the fact that the Latvian justice led by Rusnatcom senior, has consistently opposed the legalization of gay marriage and adoption of children by homosexual couples.

This is the common position of the right-wing National bloc, which consists of the Minister. The user Netblock constantly talking about the need to increase the birth rate. The faction of the party in the Riga city Council even called to postpone the March “Baltic pride” outside of the city. Earlier, by the way, opponents of the gay pride parade tried to collect signatures for its ban — but the management of the Internet platform for public initiatives denied them.

the”Baltic pride” is not the first gay parade in Latvia — such events are regularly held in Riga since 2005. Gradually, the promotion of tolerance towards sexual minorities is bearing fruit: earlier protests against LGBT marches in Latvia has been much more supporters of traditional values. Often there were clashes between the participants of the gay parades and their opponents.

Three years ago, on 20 June 2015, in Riga hosted the “Europid” — and then the indignant voice sounded a lot louder than it is now. The Catholic Archbishop Zbigniew Stankiewicz television called to pray for the salvation of lost souls of gays and lesbians. Vice-mayor of Riga Andris Ameriks described gay festival as an “ostentatious exhibition of yourself, which is not conducive to understanding society.” The representative of the Netblock VL-TBLNNK Janis Iesalnieks resented the fact that the week of “EuroPride” coincided with the funeral date 17 June, which in Latvia is celebrated as the day of the beginning of the Soviet occupation. He said then that Latvia has two enemies — “aggressive pridism the Kremlin and imperialism.”

But that was before, and this year the number of officials and politicians who dared to speak publicly against the “Baltic pride”, has decreased dramatically. People prefer to keep their mouth shut because they understand that such statements may adversely affect career and reputation. On the question of the attitude one of the passers — middle-aged man named Gunars sadly noticed that soon the time will come, when Latvia will be unsafe to talk about personal rejection of homosexuality.

The former Soviet Republic will tell US Russia

Chairman Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy in late June, will visit Washington, where, together with representatives of several other countries will discuss the prevent the construction of the pipeline “Nord stream-2”. He stated this on Saturday, June 9, reports “Interfax”.

“June 27, ( … ) we will be meeting with the speaker [of the house of representatives U.S. Congress Floor] Ryan, with speakers from Georgia, Moldova, Lithuania, hope, Poland. One of the topics of our discussion will be the issue of non-implementation of the project “Northern stream-2″,” — said Parubiy.

In his opinion, the pipeline is “one of the methods of aggression”. “[It’s] one of the methods of political blackmail against the entire civilized world”, — quotes Parubiy UNN.

the Speaker regretted that “not all European politicians understand the threat from this Russian project.” “But all of our States at one time or another experienced the energy blackmail of Russia, we clearly know and understand that it is a question not economic, it’s only aggressive political project of Russia,” he said.

on 8 June the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that of the pipeline “Nord stream-2” will not. “I am confident that together we will be able to stop him, because it is completely politicized project, which is directed against Ukraine, has no economic component, which is trying to take Ukraine for almost three billion dollars”, — said the Ukrainian leader.

Estonia has arrested a Russian vessel

At the Estonian port of Paljassaare arrested by the Russian ferry “Petersburg”, owned by “Blacksea ferry and Investments”. About the Agency “Sputnik Estonia” said the captain of a vessel Nikolay Shashkov.

According to him, the ship is arrested for the debts of the Riga ship supplier. In the Estonian port of Petersburg has arrived for repairs that have not started.

Debts of the ship supplier Riga amount to 350 thousand euros, and about 2 million rubles”, Blacksea ferry and Investments” should the ferry crew — 12 people. It is noted that this is not the final amount of the debt, because it will also increase the requirements of the Estonian port. Are growing and wages of sailors who do not receive money for months.

At the Estonian port of ferry cut off electricity due to unpaid debts, marine fuels have enough sailors for a few days, but then they were left completely without electricity. The supply was restored only after the owner has repaid part of the debt.

money from the sailors, “Petersburg” has ended, so leave the port of them is meaningless. On 15 June they have to change the other crew. The company that owns the ferry, to comment on the situation refused. The crew had to turn for help to the Russian Embassy in Estonia, the staff found that the arrest of the vessel was imposed on April 26. “We explained to the captain that, if necessary, and the Embassy is ready to render necessary assistance in solving emerging issues,” — said the Russian Ambassador in Tallinn Aleksandr Petrov.

In the list “Estonian Russophobes” not proved to be Russophobes

In the list of Estonian citizens accused Moscow of Russophobia and deprived of opportunities to visit Russia, there was not one person who spoke publicly hostile rhetoric against Russia. On Thursday, June 7, according to the newspaper Postimees.

As noted in the list of persons who, as it became known on June 6, denied entry to Russia, no high-ranking officials, deputies of the Parliament of Estonia.

in the list of the 20 people featured journalist — correspondent for Postimees Einar Ruussaar. “One reason for [listing] may be the fact that I was one of the founders and ideologists of the independent Russian-language channel ETV+ (launched in 2015, the state-owned Estonian television channel aimed at Russian — speaking audience – ed. “the”),” — suggested Ruussaar.

“Another possible reason — I just moved from Georgia and Azerbaijan, where he was interviewing the President of Georgia [Giorgi Margvelashvili] opposition of Azerbaijan and other people who talked about the fact that Russia is interested in destabilizing the situation in neighboring countries”, — the journalist added.

Other names that fall in the stop-list, the material is not given, but Estonian officials familiar with the list, reported Postimees about your loss. “The list was made according to two principles. First, you need to make a list, then had someone make. Here are just caught up in it people difficult to attribute to the Russophobes, as stated in foreign Minister. None of them differed hostile statements towards Russia”, — told the newspaper one of the officials.

on June 6, Deputy Director of the Department of information and press of the Russian foreign Ministry Artem Kozhin reported that Moscow banned entry to Russia to Estonian citizens convicted of Russophobic statements. Specific names in the statement were not given, but indicated that such actions Russia has gone after the ban on entry into Estonia of citizens of the Russian Federation from the so-called Magnitsky list.

Estonia has adopted the analogue of the “law of Magnitsky” in December of 2016. It allows you to prohibit entry to foreigners who have, according to the authorities of Estonia, in respect of offences which relate to human rights, corruption or money laundering. 29 March 2018 Tallinn denied entry into the country 49 the Russians.

“This audience is shamelessly lying”

Russian-speaking residents of Latvia with their constant complaints of harassment — persistent headache of the government. And worst of all, European Union the events taken seriously and periodically criticized the Riga censorship. But now the solution seems to be found. If you can not resolve a problem with the Russian that was inherited from the Soviet Union, that means we need to start a new one. So there was a community of Russian-speaking residents of Latvia, which share European values, loyal to the authorities and to publicly support their policies. New Latvian Russians also promise to cooperate with the secret services and to help political refugees, forced to flee from Russia to escape repression. “the” is familiar with the story of the creation of a new community of “European Russian”, which, as it turned out, lasts more than one year.

“Association of the development of Russian civil society and the support of Russian emigrants” United Russian-speaking residents of Latvia, loyal to their homeland-the stepmother, supporting its leadership and are critical to Russian foreign policy. Coordinator of the initiative group became a journalist Dimitry Savvin. Until 2015 he lived in St. Petersburg and was active in social activities: participated in street protests and was the unregistered party “New force”. But after it brought a few criminal cases, Savvin left Russia and moved to Latvia. This country he was not chosen arbitrarily: since 2012, cooperated with Riga’s “occupation Museum” and during that time managed to make enough acquaintances. A year later after moving Savvin received political refugee status.

change of address, Savvin has not changed him. He continues to lead an active social life and willingly communicates with the Latvian journalists, denouncing the Kremlin’s propaganda, with its stories about the oppression of Russians in the Baltic States. In his opinion, there is no discrimination. “This audience is shamelessly lying, supposedly in the Baltic countries the Russian-speaking rights are ignored — says it. — It becomes ridiculous when the “Russian people”, as Linderman Wells, Zhdanok and Pliner (opposition politicians and activists — ed. “”), taught me to be Russian. When I am in Latvia, I feel that I’m in the national state, which, in my opinion, gives Latvians an opportunity to feel themselves masters in their own land”.

Dimitry Savvin said that the initiative group includes both indigenous Russian-speaking inhabitants of Latvia and recently arrived Russian emigres. Goals highly ambitious — not only to unite loyal to the Latvian Russian, but also to support civil society in Russia. According to Savva, the first years of independence, a paradoxical situation where, on behalf of all Russians in Latvia say “Soviet revanchists and Pro-Kremlin activists”, and as a result, their voices are perceived as Russian.

This situation, according to Savva and his associates, is unacceptable and just insulting to so many Russian people living in Latvia, especially for political refugees from Russia. “The Soviet, the Kremlin and Russian — are different concepts, although many people can identify with, — explains it. — We intend to fight this, to unite the Russian people, who are loyal to Latvia and speak on their behalf”.

it is Worth noting that similar attempts have been made in Latvia in the past. So, in April 2014 the well-known public figure, historian and publicist Igor Vatolin announced the creation of the European movement Russian. In an interview with “” Vatolin said that he did not agree with the entry into Russia of Crimea and support for the Kremlin militia of Donbass.

It jarred that in 2014 politicians like the MEP Tatyana Zhdanok and co-founder of the Congress of non-citizens Alexander Gaponenko (detained by security Police for “anti-state activities” — ed. “Of the”) began on behalf of the Russian community of Latvia to demonstrate support for Russia’s foreign policy. “In response, we with like-minded registered NGO “European Russian initiative” [EuroRussians]. Its activities were limited to holding discussions on issues of the day and issues of Russian identity,” explained Vatolin.

In his opinion, there is no specific Russian as well as German, Latvian, American identity does not exist. “European Russians can be called any Russian people who share fundamental European values. Regardless of whether they live in the EU, in Russia or elsewhere — emphasizes Vatolin. — Another specific quality European Russian is the presence in his life along with the Russian, also other linguistic and cultural traditions. In Latvia, for example, almost all active, progressive-minded people are trilingual — English-Latvian-Russian”.

Vatolin believes, however, that the concept of “European Russian” — is not a sociological category, but rather a reminder about the European vector of Russian culture and Russian statehood, at least from the time of Peter the Great — a kind of counterweight to the concept of Russia’s special path. Association Savvina he wishes every success, noting that its past Russian nationalist certainly adds intrigue to the story.

Two years ago, was declared the movement “New Latvians”, which brings together Russians who have residence permits (permit) in Latvia in recent years. The new Latvians started to come in 2010, when due to the economic crisis the government launched the program “residence permit in exchange for investments”. A temporary residence permit but with a right of renewal was given to almost everyone who bought real estate in Riga and other major cities no less than 100 000 LVL (142 288 EUR). Was quite the budget proposal. Buying property outside of major cities, it was possible to reduce the cost of the residence permit up to 50 000 LVL (71 144 EUR).

As stated in the government report interior Ministry Latvia, for four years residence permit in the framework of the program has requested 12 427 people — including investors themselves and members of their families. Almost all requests have been satisfied. According to the interior Ministry, during this time, new residents brought in the economy of Latvia more than a billion euros. In most cases, it was the Russians, and the most popular among them belonged to the real estate in Riga and Jurmala.

But in 2014, under pressure included in the ruling coalition of the nationalist program terms and conditions have tightened to such an extent that she actually died. But thousands of Russians still live in Latvia and very soon formed the opposition of the local “old Russian.”

Visitors not hide the joy that was present in Europe, and often speak disapprovingly about the “old Russian” as “quilted jackets” and “awful”. Those, in turn, called immigrants “renegades” and branded them “the Smerdyakov aspect is always” and other Russophobia. Local media, however, like to invite emigrants from Russia in television and radio programs, on pages of the Central Newspapers.

In 2012, the native of the Ivanovo Elena Ekaterincheva even spoke to European Parliament on the eve of the referendum on the second state language in Latvia. There she is, claiming to be the representative of the Russian community, said is that really her countrymen do not want any special preferences for your language and that ethnic discrimination in Latvia.

All the Russians who have received a residence permit, can be divided into two categories. The first businessmen of an average hand, having accounts in offshore accounts and claims from the Russian tax authorities. They do not hide what I was looking for the opportunity to sit in the Latvia, to make yourself a backup plan. How would Europe and the Russian side, and Russian language here you know. The second “Medimmigrant” ideological, sometimes radical supporters of the European course, at every opportunity, claiming that in “Raschke” it’s bad, but beyond its borders all is well. “When I was in Germany and Sweden all said that we were from Latvia, — write in their forums “new Latvians”. — As unpleasant to bear the responsibility for the Affairs of the country whose citizenship you are…” “I respect Latvia as an independent state member of the EU, — said another Expat. And absolutely do not want to come here filthy “Russian world””.

Originally the “new Latvians” have joined together to advocate for their rights. In April 2016, the Saeima approved amendments to the “immigration Act”, prescribing the payment of fees in the amount of 5000 Euro at a five-year extension of temporary residence permit. After that, the Russian immigrants led by the teacher Higher school of Economics Elena Lukyanova addressed to President Raimonds Vejonis — asking them not to sign the law. “Each of us brought up to a dozen families. But if these people have children? For them it is very seriously affected. For example, on Misha Efremov, which has four minor children. This is not five thousand euros,” complained Lukyanova.

the President actually returned the bill to Parliament for revision. In the end, it was solved that duty would be charged only after repeated extension of a residence permit. Moreover, only those who bought real estate, not from all of his family members, as envisaged in the amendments earlier.

By the way, the real Latvians still belong to the “new Latvians” with a certain caution — despite recent attempts to make friends. “They do not hide, why come here everything is in Russian, Russian school, on the streets speak Russian, doctors speak Russian, movies Russian, Russian Newspapers, Russian TV, — said the Deputy of the Sejm from right-wing radicals Edwin Schnoor. But then Europe. There is order and rule of law. And so they come here. And the Latvian language they especially do not want to teach”.

the Schnoor told me that one time called “new Latvians” who have lived in the country for almost four years. In Latvian they are not talking, so I had to talk in Russian. “I asked why they still have not learned the language? — says the Deputy. — Said that moving, that. And in Norway I lived for a year. That was enough for me to learn the Norwegian language. So I crystal clear motivation of all these people.”

For the Russian immigrants, the Baltic States are really attractive because she is actually half-Russian, there is no need to know foreign languages or to dive deeply into a foreign culture. In this case, as rightly says Deputy Schnoor, “then Europe and the rule of law”. Therefore, to claim that the Baltic States have not only the Soviet Russians, but also quite European — not such a big price for the right to live the European way. Moreover, not all Russian-speaking residents of Latvia (including the root) are convinced that everything Russian should be an official designated in the law status.

But the Association of Demetrios Savva is not going to restrict only some applications. According to him, the initiative group is already discussing the format cooperation with the Latvian special services. The aim of cooperation is “significantly” to inform the competent authorities of the Russian political refugees. The fact that among other things, the Association will assist in obtaining political asylum for refugees from Russia. “We will help you to understand local services — whether this man was persecuted in Russia for political reasons, and if they need refugee status,” said Sawin.