On 7 June the new Ambassador of Russia in Latvia Yevgeniy Lukyanov held his first press conference after taking office. I met Lukyanov earlier, and I thought he was a smart man. Besides, with extensive experience in government positions of high rank (from 1993 to 2006 — management positions in the banking sector, from 2006 to 2010 — Deputy Plenipotentiary representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Northwest Federal district, from 2010 to 2016 — Deputy Secretary of the security Council of the Russian Federation). Besides, Lukyanov endowed with the ability to evaluate this experience.
Although Mr. Lukyanov noted that “language is given to the diplomat to conceal his thoughts”, he didn’t seem smooth “official” diplomat. He allows himself a private opinion. Besides, this view was critical not only regarding the assessment of the external space of Russia, but also his self-esteem. If the figures from our, Latvian foreign Minister in relations with Russia’s new Ambassador wants to sound familiar, well-worn cliche, it will look silly.
I asked Lukyanova, as it evaluates the opinion of Russian academician Alexander Dynkin that the Baltic States chose the role of the frontline States, and that such a role means for the Russian Ambassador. He replied that, to his knowledge, “Latvia to Russia is going to attack. NATO, as we explained, purely defensive military-political bloc. Another question — from whom he is defending? The essence of the other… In the 90 years, the cold war ended with the collapse of the socialist experiment and the collapse of the Soviet Union, but the peace Treaty at the end of the cold war was not concluded. Therefore, there was no clear formula world after the end of the war,”.. “Our Western partners (or opponents?) considered their indisputable victory of communism and the “evil Empire” collapsed, the people freed from oppression, to put an end. We agreed with this and insisted on a peace Treaty. There was only one request which we on paper, sorry, I didn’t. We were promised that NATO enlargement to the East will not expand. But today NATO country Estonia is located 140 kilometers from my hometown of Petersburg. We have been deceived. Not for the first time…
You might think that on the Eastern flanks of NATO, including Latvia, creates a protective barrier against Russian aggression. Think about it: is it good to be that barrier, whether you are a frontline state, or the rear? For us it’s not a big deal. I specifically was interested in our Ministry of defense, on the issue of the threat from the Baltic States there said: the armed forces of these countries do not create threats. Risk posed by the NATO infrastructure located in these countries.
Don’t know how many divisions, according to the plans of NATO, will be deployed in Latvia, but formed of the 450 Canadians, Swedes and others military units that are deployed in Adazi, not a threat to Russia. But they create big problems for the areas that host these foreign armed forces, they become targets and objectives for the Russian armed forces”.
The Ambassador continued: “I was amazed that, according to statistics, 60% of inhabitants of Latvia, regardless of the political and civil status, are sure that Russia will attack Latvia. This is a perfect example of brainwashing without the participation of Russian “soft power”… But if we will come the moment before the war — winners. No matter who dies first, who is second.”
Among other things, Mr Lukyanov admitted that it does not offend the aggressive rhetoric of Latvia, “because Latvia is not free in his relations with Russia. Latvia are subordinated to the EU and NATO. Latvia has not introduced sanctions against Russia — it is to these sanctions have joined”. The Ambassador also acknowledged that “we do not like. But we are not girls, we love Russia has everything, even democracy, only we call it their democracy. It’s not like in Europe. But is America a democratic state? In Latvia the presidency “is” 51 votes. The ideal of nowhere. In Russia it is not.”
I do not think that Mr. Lukyanov would significantly affect relations between Latvia and Russia. What they have is really will be determined by the EU and NATO. However, the Ambassador with his head — whether he is friendly or not so friendly state, in my opinion, is a mobilizing factor for our own professionalism and position. I very much hope that the dialogue about the relationship between our countries and their prospects in the future, much more will determine the content, not the poses and grimacing.