Latvian 'civil war' exists, but only in the minds of Kremlin cheerleaders

Fears of a Latvian civil war that pits the country's ethnic Russians against ethnic Latvians are a looming possibility -- at least in the weird and warped imaginations of a couple of semi-professional agitators.

An interesting piece by Latvian researcher Martins Kaprans for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) outlines the civil strife fantasies of Vladimir Linderman and Aleksander Gaponenko, two figures renowned in Latvia for their vivid imaginations running wild and free along pro-Kremlin lines.

In July both Linderman and Gaponenko were published in articles by the Vesti.lv news portal that suggested anything ranging from "insurrection" to full-blown civil war in Latvia is more or less inevitable.

The notion that Latvians and Russians are daggers drawn at all times can be quickly dispelled by a stroll through central Riga, or indeed, any town in Latvia. However, it is a staple of Kremlin propaganda and -- it must be admitted -- an attractive notion to many foreign news editors looking for a juicy bit of ethnic tension or the 'next Ukraine'.

"Vesti.lv’s attempts to reframe ethnic relations in Latvia as the cause of a potential civil war may be linked, as we have previously pointed out, to Kremlin attempts to trigger a “Russian riot.” The rhetorical escalation may also be an effort to make ethno-politics an issue in next year’s Latvian parliamentary elections," Kaprans concludes.

You can read the piece in full HERE

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