About the forecasts for the results of the municipal elections in Riga, about the most difficult stage in the government of Marisa Kuchinskisa, the rehabilitation of populism in the world and Latvia on the future of the party “Consent”, and whether “Baltic forum” to repeat the success of the Conference “Chataqua”, — interview with the Chairman of the faction “Consent” in the Sejm, the President of the Baltic forum jānis urbanovičs.
NRA: How would you characterize the alignment of forces before elections in self-management of Riga?
Janis Urbanovich: to Call them forces, it would be a great advance of confidence, I would rather be called rods. Don’t want to flaunt, but it is difficult to predict how it will connect the broom rods, each of which promises to clean the Riga Duma from “Consent”&Co. It would be logical to weave in the broom before the election, but somehow fails. For Nile Ushakov and “Consent” is a plus, because it is already clear that these rods will break in a dispute to who will be chief after the election.
Worst of all, in this campaign no dialogue, only monologues “fool — fool”. In fact, electoral competition is between those who are close to each other in the political spectrum, between those who favor a “Russian exile” of the Riga city Council, and between those who knows all about corruption. Though I must ask, what are they still doing with their knowledge…
Lucky enough to win the National Association — he doesn’t need anything to do! His satellites — the state language Centre (CGE), attacking Ushakov, fantastically unites the electorate of the nationals, on the one hand, and the electorate “Consent” on the other. . Nothing more needs to be done in campaign, only occasionally saying something in Russian. Once the SLB is attacking Ushakov, the Russian-speaking voters “down the screen”, he doesn’t care what the media report about the flaws in Riga, Russian feels only one thing: “Our Russian beat!”. I believe that against this background the Nile might be luckier than it would be useful to enhance immunity.
In politics, there are times when there is a victory in the elections, but not enough, for example, two votes for a majority coalition. This situation does not scare you?
— There are many things that I have a concern, but it would be very windy to speak about them in public now… I think that the election results in Riga in this year is not fundamentally different from previous elections.
— What do you mean populism rehabilitated? And how the rehabilitation will impact on political processes in Latvia?
After Breccia, after the election trump populism rehabilitated, and I think that the cascade of European elections rehabilitates him even more. In Latvia it will not appear in the complete replacement of the elite, and thus that the current elite languages will be rotated differently, and the faces will change. We’ve all “eurocentrist”, which popularized the membership in various organizations are also paulistana. You remember: we are the first and probably the only one at the time, declared war on Iraq, and now the first ratified free trade agreement of the EU with Canada.
We fashion in politics is changing fast: “strong beliefs”, if any, when the breeze quickly become “hard” in the other direction, and do not need to create new political forces, just the same head voice.
— Do you believe in the ability of political forces to transform to meet the expectations of society for a different policy?
— They will be transformed, but I can’t say whether they will meet the expectations of society. But the ability of politicians today say one thing tomorrow another I have no doubt. Look, those who were in strong horror after Brexit, now say, not so bad that the British will leave. Those who talked about “Ribbentrop”, etc., are now saying the President trump the principle of doing everything right, you will cooperate. In Europe, this year elections will be held. I think that in Germany the Chancellor is not Merkel and social Democrat Schulz. As for France, I don’t believe that can defeat Le Pen. Not this woman and not in this country. The electoral process in France shows a very successful teamwork Hollande, and the candidate Rules and shows that using intelligence to influence elections in the state.
— In Latvia of special services also affect the election?
— Oh, Yes! We even worse, we do not have the cooperation of the security services and politicians, and the agenda of the special services, which implements the part of the politicians. I don’t want to repeat the old stories that there is no parliamentary control over the security services, formally have it all. However, since the political elite of Latvia was formed in the period of ownership transformation, it is more dependent on intelligence than intelligence agencies depend on responsibility before the law and abstract of parliamentary control.
You expressed that from the “Unity” smells like a political corpse. The transformation of party of power is nothing new in the policy of Latvia, it is enough to recall “the Latvian way”, and “people’s party”. What are your thoughts about what might happen with the “Unity”, how in the world can look like the face of the party in power?
— The top part of the “Unity” very satisfied with the situation in which the party is now. It still implements the given political arithmetic trumps. On the other hand, the weakness of the “Unity” is very beneficial to the Union green and peasants and nationalists who are willing to support “Unity” to the last.
— Can’t “Consent”, which ruling held the role of eternal opposition, to deal with the problems of “Unity”?
— The problem of “Consent” is not an internal issue of “Consent”… “Consent” should be in power not because power must be Russian or some other similar arguments, and in order that in Latvia there were democratic pendulum, so that competition in the full political spectrum, to the democratic competition. Until then, it is impossible to speak about democracy, about the complicity of society in the reforms in the state. This can be done in two ways — either to learn from our constituents, or to cooperate with us.
— Could it be so that you legitimate due to the split of society?
— I’m sorry, but we did not split the society! We are demonized to preserve the division of society.
I usually go to the Russian-speaking electorate, and to the Latvians, moreover, not to our traditional electorate. One day I was in Kurzeme was almost ready in the pot to cook, but then when the tone of the conversation became a little quieter, I asked: what is bothering you? Language, told me. I speak, write and repeat again. For “Consent” is no longer possible discussion on the second state language. It is impossible and according to the Constitution, and if someone for some hybrid circumstances want to create a basis for discussion, then “Consent” will not be a platform for such discussion. We will not talk. “Consent” is not a place where you can question the principle of the Latvian language as the only state language. It’s impossible.
The second reproach — for the agreement with “United Russia”. I still believe that it is a merit of “Consent” to all the people of Latvia that we have such a contract there. We now need very many, including the sponsors of the ruling coalition, because we have such an agreement there is a formal reason to talk with Russia. What is “Consent” a lot of support from Russian voters may also enable you to speak with the Russian authorities, possibly without a contract. Is it possible to denounce the Treaty? . But whether it is Latvia? I don’t think the state will benefit from this. And demonization against us is not because of the contract. The slogans “Russian go!” and “the Latvian, do not surrender!” appeared long before the events in Crimea and the Donbass.
I am convinced that sooner or later Russia and the United States will find a way to agree. Americans are very pragmatic, they will find a way to use Russia in creating the germ of the new world. And then you will see how the poles, Danes, and Estonians will run ahead of us just to talk with Russia. The change of seasons is in the air, and it will. And then everyone will come and say: here as well, Janis, that you in 2009 signed the Treaty! Could us a little help with something? Yes, you can.
Saying the new Ambassador of Russia Evgeny Lukyanov that relations between Russia and Latvia cannot improve, is a sincere opinion or just a diplomatic excuse?
I don’t know. The new Ambassador is for me still a mystery. I met him once. All ambassadors start with something positive and, I think, Mr. Lukyanov in this sense is no exception. In my opinion, it would be wise to use such statements, not to talk him out of a positive agenda. But this question is not within my jurisdiction, and the foreign service, government, President. You can, of course, not to listen to the Russian Ambassador, to say: we have no interest in your opinion, as did the Chairman of the Seimas Inara, Murniece. But the fact that Lukyanov then met someone else the Parliament, testifies to his relentless desire to shape a positive agenda.
For rhetoric about Russia as a state aggressor has reason or is it just political rhetoric?
— It would be foolish to deny that fear is without reason that it was not Ukrainian, Crimean events. Even I, who so swear “agent of the Kremlin”, are well aware that there are reasons for concern, because such actions no matter how well explained, go beyond.
That here within the framework of the NATO forces there are units of foreign soldiers from the USA, Canada, Germany, of course, because Latvia as a small country wants guarantees for the 5-th paragraph of the NATO Treaty. These American guys are hostages to our fear, but this fear has basis. Unfortunately, guarantee the security of Latvia is not the inevitable blow to the aggressor. Such retaliation would mean that the us, Latvia, the end. It is clear that the aggressor will get, but we’ll be on the front line and is unlikely to survive. I would like to, except for the military, there were other security guarantees.
— What kind of security guarantees, in addition to paragraph 5 of the NATO Treaty, we can talk?
— There was dialogue, there were negotiations between the U.S. and Russia. We have only seen the monologue from both sides and mutual accusations. 30 years ago I was present at the famous conference”, Chataqua”. (Conference “Chatauqua” was held in Jurmala in 1986, it was found members of the public the USA and the USSR, emerged new trends in the politics of the Soviet Union. This conference has also been related with the beginning of the process in the Third awakening of the Latvian SSR — approx. ed.).
And now I would like in the framework of the “Baltic forum” to repeat the conversation of this level is to invite U.S. senators, senators of Russia, they began to talk among themselves to form a dialogue. I think this may appease many in Latvia — on the one hand, and Russia, which is not preparing a beachhead for an attack on her. Latvia should be the place of peace negotiations.
Secondly, my concern is that the negotiations between Russia and the USA can stay only in the conduct of the presidents of both countries. They both tend to improvise with great potential, and I fear that we may become the object of their negotiations. Better to have a circle of other persons who negotiate among themselves. For normal conversation between the US and Russia now, of course, bad background: exacerbation of pre-election struggle in the major countries of Europe — Germany and France, coming 24 and 25 may, the NATO summit in Brussels, where nothing new in the sphere of these relations is not going to happen.
— So you want to give “the Baltic forum” more meaningful framing?
— Yes, of course. However, the conversation between politicians and experts of the USA and Russia here in Latvia, can only happen with a positive attitude on the part of representatives of the state. But I will not depart from his ideas in any case: all stakeholders are informed about my activities, nobody said it was wrong.
(Published slightly abridged).