Ušakovs explains his jet-setting diplomacy

Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs shared an account Monday of his visit last week to Washington, DC with Latvian Radio’s Russian-language channel LR4. 

“We have regular cooperation with our partners in the US,” the Harmony party chief told LR4 Monday. “It’s ongoing here in Riga and during such official visits like this (to DC). We coordinate our perspectives on a variety of issues – domestic politics, national minorities and press freedom,” he outlined.

Continuing his account, Ušakovs warned that the US was displeased with Latvia’s official shut-down of rebroadcast Russian-language media channels for a two-month period this spring. “In their view, this is completely misaligned with the freedom of expression,” he said.

At the same time, however, he declined to name the officials with whom he met, saying only that they were “responsible persons from the US State Department.”

Indeed, on September 19 Ušakovs updated his feed with a post from the City Council, where he was shown hosting Sharon Hudson-Dean, acting Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Riga.

However, his Twitter account also shows Ušakovs as an amused new follower of Frank Underwood, Kevin Spacey’s politician character from the Netflix web TV series House of Cards, whom Wikipedia describes as “manipulative, conniving, Machiavellian, and even evil, while receiving significant critical praise as one of 21st century television's antiheroes.”

As reported, Ušakovs flew to the US capital city for an official visit September 9-11, representing the Harmony social-democratic party as its candidate for prime minister (though not actually running for a parliamentary seat in the 12th Saeima elections).

On September 10 he tweeted from the reception area of the State Department prior to his meetings with the unnamed US officials.

Then, continuing his series of official foreign visits, Ušakovs met in Strasbourg with second-term EP President Martin Schultz, posing together for a September 17 video post in which the social-democratic leader of the multi-state parliamentary body hails "his friend Nils" as "a hope for us European social-democrats."

News portal Delfi reported that fellow-Harmony MEP Andrejs Mamikins also took part in Ušakovs' meeting with the EP's elected leader from its second-largest group, the Socialists and Democrats.

 
With regard to his most recent visit to Moscow at the beginning of September, during which he met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Patriarch Kiril of the Russian Orthodox Church, Ušakovs told LR4 the visit was successful in economic terms.

“When the EU and Russia are in such complicated relations in the midst of a sanctions war, my main task was to minimize the effect of sanctions on Latvia. Secondly, sooner or later the sanctions will end and we all – Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Germany – will again compete against each other to reclaim positions in the Russian market. We need to prepare for that now,” he explained.

 

 

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Politics
Politics