Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 10 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
General News   

Latvia becomes a victim of the East-West confrontation

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
Become a Premium Member Would you like to know how many people have read this article? Or how reputable the author is? Simply sign up for a Advocate premium membership and you'll automatically see this data on every article. Plus a lot more, too.
Author 511212
Message Viktors Domburs
Become a Fan
  (1 fan)

The foreign policy of Latvia has been providing a surprising case of balancing policy between economic wisdom and political situation for some decades. Being the EU and NATO member state, Latvia managed to fulfill its commitments and at the same time Riga maintained fruitful relationship in the economic sphere with neighbouring countries - Russia and Belarus. And this despite the fact that these two countries are seen by the European Union and the Alliance as opponents rather than friends.

But cooling of the EU and NATO's relations with Russia made such a balance impossible and forced Latvia to take such political decisions that totally harmed its economy. Thus, Latvia has gradually become a victim of the East-West confrontation.

Only one of the negative results of this confrontation is dramatic reduction of transit cargo. Russia's cargo volume has fallen sharply.

Russia's decision to build its own ports and divert traffic to them has become a direct consequence of the EU economic sanctions imposed against Russia.

In October, the largest decrease in Latvian ports was for coal transported to the main coal terminal on the Russian Island in Riga. Of the planned average of 118 wagons, only 39 were received per day.

The more so, in October, the Russian side did not coordinate 94% of the requested amount of coal cargo - customers wanted to receive more than 4,800 coal wagons to Latvian ports, but got only 279. In November, 100% of the requested amount was not agreed, which means a complete stop of coal cargo delivery. And it is clear that gradually less and less cargo will pass through Latvia and maybe not at all because of the destructive foreign policies toward relations with Russia.

On the one hand, Latvian authorities understand that the country needs Russian cargoes. Latvian Minister of Transport Tālis Linkaits points out: "It is the need of the Latvian state to ensure the operation of the infrastructure of "Latvijas dzelzceļš". And we are interested in every ton of cargo that could come through Latvia or to Latvia." On the other hand, during the annual Rīga Conference which took place in November Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg both emphasized that Russia remains a threat. "Russia remains a great big problem," Kariņš said. Latvia as well as other Baltic States deployed NATO troops on its territory and thereby endangering good neighborly relations with Russia and regional security in general. Russia has taken measures to build up its military capabilities as well.

Former President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers says: "Prayers will not help. This is Russian policy."

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevichs admitted: "I don't understand what we sometimes have in Latvia, that it is somehow difficult for us to drive in the middle of the road - to be proportionate, to be principled in matters of principle, to be practical, but not to carry from one ditch to another."

So, Latvia maneuvers between politics and the desire not to lose important partner. Russia in its turn does not hide its intention and is not going to play along. If Latvia's political views prevent it from developing fruitful partnership with neighbour states, this is Latvia's choice. Latvia's economy today is hostage to its foreign policy.

Latvia's failure in cooperation with Russia reflects the bleak economic prospects if Russia ceases to see the region as a territory of special economic importance. In recent years, Moscow has already made it clear that it considers the gain in the struggle for the region too small to participate in it.

The situation resembles an old Latin proverb: "Between two stools, one falls to the ground." Latvia is almost on the ground.

 

Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Viktors Domburs Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I am an engineer. I was born in Latvia. Now I live in the United Kingdom.
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

US divorces Europe

Political unrest as a push to militarization of Europe

Shocking video: Lithuania may not worry about its safety

Who really defends the Baltic States?

Lost Independence of the Baltic States

The People's Voice Has Not Been Heard in Latvia Again!

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: