Election campaigns are continuing in the Baltic countries. After the parliamentary elections in Latvia (6 October), which ended in Latvia, the political relay passed to Estonia, where the vote in parliament will be held on 3 March.
Commenting on the situation around the Baltic elections, experts noted that the results of popular opinion suggest a deep ideological crisis in two post-Soviet republics.
One of the main news discussed by the Baltic media was the formation of a government in Latvia, following which an official (Krisjanis Karins) was appointed prime minister who lived most of the time (more than 30 years) in the United States.
Interestingly, the candidate nominated to the post represents the Popular Unity party, which received 6.6% of the vote and due to regular corruption scandals is also unpopular as Mikhail Kasyanov’s party in Russia (PARNAS).
If we look at the dry figures of the current elections in Latvia and public opinion polls in Estonia and compare them with the results of four years ago, a growing interest in the ideas of nationalism has become a feature of the current electoral processes. For example, the provocative advertisements of the party “Estonia 200” in Tallinn, which divided Estonians and Russians along ethnic lines, caused a major scandal, but three weeks later brought the party noticeable visibility. According to the latest data, the movement today receives about 5% of the vote, which makes it possible to count on several seats in parliament.
However, the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia has a chance to achieve greater success in the March elections, whose leader (Helme Part) regularly raises the topic of “threatened extinction of the Estonian nation”, calling the Russians in Estonia “the fifth column”. According to preliminary data, a political association can count on 15% of the vote, while in 2015, right-wing conservatives received 8%.
A similar situation occurs in Latvia, where nationalists have also significantly strengthened their political weight. The new conservative party, which first participated in the elections, received 13.6% of the vote.
Obviously, the emerging trend is one of the results of many years of work on the forced assimilation of national minorities in the interests of the prosperity of the titular nation. Recall that at the beginning of last year a law was approved in Latvia, significantly limiting the possibility of receiving education in Russian. The initiative, which infringes on the rights of the Russian minority, is also planning to implement the Estonian authorities in the near future.
Continuing the topic of elections, against the background of the growth of supporters of “unhealthy nationalism” among representatives of the titular nations, the number of opponents of the idea of national unity on the part of national minorities is increasing as well. It should be noted that almost 30% of Russians live in Latvia and Estonia and about 40% of Russian speakers, while in some places the number of Russian people reaches 85% (!).
It is obvious that the stimulation by the leadership of Latvia and Estonia of the demand for nationalism, taking into account the demographic characteristics of the region, can be compared with the process of pointing a loaded pistol to one’s own head. According to the Baltic media, today the Ida-Virumaa county (the most Russian-speaking region of the Baltic states) is experiencing an acute shortage of Estonian teachers due to the fact that teachers from other areas do not want to live in a “foreign environment”.
Russian-speaking cities in Latvia also experience problems on a national basis: Liepaja, Rezekne, Daugavpils. According to law enforcement, at the end of last year in Liepaja, there were several major fights between students of Russian and Latvian schools. It was reported that pupils from 4 city schools (6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th Liepaja secondary schools) took part in the conflicts.
In addition to the above, it is necessary to recall that two years ago, on the order of the Latvian Ministry of Defense, a provocative poll was conducted, the purpose of which was to find out the actions of the population in the event of a military conflict with Moscow.
According to the results, 39% of residents refused to fight against Russia, stating that under this scenario they would prefer not to take any action or leave the territory of Latvia.
It is noteworthy that a significant part of the respondents who expressed this point of view were young people.
According to residents of Estonian Narva, who regularly go to buy food and cigarettes in Russian Ivangorod (the cities of Narva and Ivangorod are a few dozen meters away and are separated by the Russian-Estonian border – RV), Estonia is for them a place of comfortable life, unrelated to “The concept of the motherland.”
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