Russia interested in Latvian election results, says security chief

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The Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB), one of Latvia's three security services, has observed a certain amount of interest from Russia in the recent Saeima elections, SAB director Egils Zviedris said on Latvian Radio's "Krustpunkta" show October 6.

The director of SAB said that Russian security services had collected information about the Saeima elections in Latvia, the possible election results and what kind of support was seen for "pro-Russian parties in Latvia".

SAB had also observed the activities of Russian hackers against the websites of the Central Election Commission (CVK) and certain political parties, Zviedris said. 

Politician Tatjana Ždanoka and pro-Russia activist Aleksandrs Gapoņenko could be mentioned as the most obvious examples of agents of Russian influence in Latvia, Zviedris, told the Krustpunktā audience.

Tatjana Ždanoka and Aleksandrs Gapoņenko
Tatjana Ždanoka and Aleksandrs Gapoņenko

The director of SAB explained that the term "agent of influence" is not precisely defined, but it means Latvian citizens who contribute to Russia's narrative: "Legally, the term 'agents of influence' is not defined, but we are talking about those citizens of Latvia who, with their actions, contribute to both bringing Russia's narratives to life in Latvia, but also to some extent creating these narratives themselves."

"These are the two who, therefore, quite purposefully and deliberately form this position of theirs, somehow endangering national security interests, as well as making public or creating narratives beneficial to Russia about the country of Latvia," explained Zviedris. 

Another security institution, the State Security Service (VDD) has collected information related to the conduct of the 14th Saeima elections, and in the assessment of the service, the elections were held peacefully. The VDD has not identified illegal activities of persons whose purpose would be to influence the free choice of voters and election results, the service informed.

"VDD has not identified unlawful activities of persons with the purpose to influence voters’ freedom of choice and election results. During the pre-election period and on the election day VDD did not detect any attempts by countries hostile to Latvia to influence the course of the elections or results according to their foreign policy interests," said the VDD.

The Latvian State Security Service (VDD) is one of the three Latvian security and intelligence services alongside the Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) and Defence Intelligence and Security Service (MIDD).


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