MP Māris Možvillo: The state allocates about €140,000 to Latvijas Krievu savienība every year

As the war started by Russia in Ukraine continues, small conflicts between supporters of Ukraine and those who justify Russian aggression are also erupting in Latvia. This palpable, but so far inconspicuous, tension has raised questions about the loyalty to Latvia of the inhabitants of Latgale, Latvia's most Russian-speaking region, and other issues.
22.03.2022. Jānis Lasmanis
©Saeimas administrācija

Māris Možvillo, a member of the Independents (Neatkarīgie) faction of the Saeima who works in the Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee, believes that there should be no concern about Latgale.

At the same time, he believes that for too long the state has failed to see the problems of Latgale and that people are now expressing their discontent.

In the context of the war that Russia started in Ukraine, Latgale is often cited as the most pro-Kremlin region. What do you think the state should do to ensure that there is no reason to worry about Latgale, or is there no reason to worry anyway?

I think that the fifth column lives in - how shall we say - an undefined region. They have their own bubble in which they live, and Latgale is not the place to look for a fifth column.

I spoke about the fact that the situation in Daugavpils is quite tense a year ago, not because people wanted Putin very much, but because the state has not been able to provide its population with access to television and radio of the same quality. Now the number of police and rescue units, the number of ambulances, has also been reduced. How can the loyalty of the population be won if these people feel somewhat abandoned? In Latgale, we often hear that the problems of Latgale are not important to those in Riga.

From time to time, news appears in the public space about various small incidents in which aggressive individuals have attacked Ukrainian symbols and their bearers, or anti-war "propaganda" materials. In this matter, the internal affairs bodies, and sometimes also the Minister of the Interior, Marija Golubeva, are criticized for not doing enough. Is this criticism justified or based on emotion?

I think that the criticism of not only Golubeva, but of the entire leadership of the Interior Ministry over the last 30 years, is justified here. We do not even need to go to Daugavpils, just look right here by the Central Market in Riga. When you walk into that precinct, time turns back to Soviet times, how everything has fallen into disrepair. Police officers are not motivated to do anything preventive, only to punish, because their pay depends on it. We are now seeing the consequences of the actions of those who have run the Ministry of the Interior for the last 30 years.

Riga has not yet given an answer as to whether it will allow a gathering on May 9 at the so-called Victory Monument in Pārdaugava. The leader of Harmony (Saskaņa), Jānis Urbanovičs, has said that the event should not be banned because it could cause discontent among the people. What do you think - should they be allowed to gather or not?

It is all a bit of a bundle of raw nerves here. Of course, here again it will be said: if March 16 was allowed, then May 9 should be allowed. But you have to ask those people whether they want that havoc. At the monument, there are more who yell about "our grandpas", but those who yell the loudest have probably never met those grandpas, or let them die alone in a nursing home. Whether it should be banned is hard to say.

I think that the Russian people themselves should realize that they have to take some responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine. In Latvia, too, many people voted for Putin. For Lukashenko in Belarus, too.

It is one thing to ban it; it is another thing to understand how to conduct the event. You have to expect that it will be havoc, but how to ensure that it does not devolve into something completely crazy, I have no idea.

And how can we unite society if the likes of Tatjana Ždanoka are siding with Russia in the European Parliament? The government has also made sure that there are such loudmouths. Every year, the state allocates funds to the Latvian Russian Union (Latvijas Krievu savienība), approximately €140,000.


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