Russian propaganda unsuccessful in Latvia, says president

Russia's soft power attempts to influence Latvian population have been unsuccessful, said Latvia's president Raimonds Vējonis in an interview with Latvian Television Wednesday.

"Russia's soft power attempts to influence Latvian population have not been particularly successful as they haven't achieved what the other party would like to," he said.

Even though Latvia's ability to deal with such threats has improved since the Crimean crisis, broadcasting in Latvia should be made better so that "Latvian residents could receive a television signal across the whole territory of the state".

"Likewise, the matter is related to the quality of our broadcasts in Russian. Because, if we want the part of the public that speaks more Russian to turn away from the Russian informative space to the Latvian one, of course we have to talk about quality," said the president.

He also said that broadcasts in Russian are necessary both on public television and radio and, if possible, on private television channels.

Vējonis agreed that public broadcasters should work to improve their Russian-language content.

"But basically, of course, everyone should learn the Latvian language and watch Latvian channels," said Vējonis.

Vējonis also used the interview to confirm his support for the Education Ministry initiative to reorganize the Riga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy by merging it with the University of Latvia. 

He also said that the government is ready to make unpopular decisions this year, particularly as concerns healthcare, education, and taxes. 

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