It is not yet clear how effective the initiative suggesting criminalizing anti-national activities to organize hybrid or information wars and calls for change of government will be. One thing is clear – the Russian-speaking citizens of Latvia will now have fewer chances to protect their rights and to express their identity, head of research programs of the Historical Memory Foundation, expert on the Baltics Vladimir Simindey told EADaily on Apr 12.
“In an attempt to gain more political dividends all of the ruling parliamentary groups have indulged the wish of the special services to be fully free in fighting everything ‘suspicious’ and ‘pro-Russian.’ The cover is ‘hybrid war.’ And the opposition was very passive,” Simindey said.
He said that the authors of the bill were in a hurry to push it through as they were afraid that the President would dismiss the document as his predecessor did in his time with the special services-proposed bill on scientific activities.
“Now they are trying to ‘improve’ it - kind of ‘sugar the poisonous pill.’ But at the same time we can expect new propaganda for this anti-democratic initiative,” Simindey said.
As EADaily reported earlier, in early Mar 2016 Latvia’s Saeima approved the first reading of amendments to the Criminal Code, which criminalized anti-national activities to organize hybrid or information wars and calls for change of government. The bill will have just two rather three readings. The second one has been put off till Apr 21. Experts say that the amendments are aimed against the Russian-speaking population of the country. But they may as well be used against any dissidents.