Russians provoke web with defaced 'breakaway' Latgale flag

The Security Police (DP) are aware of the images of the flag of Latgale being used to promote the idea of its autonomy from the Republic of Latvia amongst the Russian-language followers of National Bolshevik activist Vladimir Linderman, Latvian Television news program Panorāma reported Wednesday.

As posted on Linderman's Facebook profile, added onto the face of the flag, designed by Māris Rumaks, a Latgallian ethnographer, was the Cyrillic name of the presumed ‘Latgale People’s Republic’. Below it, a depiction of Latvia with Latgale province graphically ripped off the rest of the territory, filled-in with its own flag’s colors, in contrast to the dismembered remnant of the land.

For additional context, the post came alongside comments on the news regarding President Andris Bērziņš’ announcement that he would not be attending the May 9 ceremonies in Moscow.

The DP looks into each case individually, but acknowledges the idea of doubting Latvia’s territorial integrity in the public sphere like this is very much in line with Russia’s geopolitical interests.

In light of the growing number of cases where the Latvian flag and other national symbols are being exploited and parsed in provocative or offensive ways detrimental to Latvia’s state interests, the DP urges residents to come forward with any knowledge of further similar incidents.

As for the author of the design himself, the local historian is extremely dissatisfied with the usurpation of the provincial flag for such antithetical purposes, itself a symbol of national loyalty and unity in spite of the mixed ethnic composition of its population.

The color composition of the flag is specially matched to Latgallian history, the land’s nature and the people’s traditions.

Talk of Latgale’s autonomy has been on the DP’s radar in the past. In 2013 the DP announced that a criminal case had been opened against the organizers of the Russian-language referendum and pro-Russian activists Vladimir Linderman and his associates Ilarion Girss and Jevgeny Ospov for allegedly spreading such anti-constitutional ideas.

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