EP, Latvian services to look at Ždanoka's alleged cooperation with Russia

The State Security Service (VDD) will assess publicly outspoken information about Tatjana Ždanoka's activities between 2005 and 2013, namely her alleged cooperation with Russian special services, the service said in a statement to the media on January 29.

The Security Service noted that until 2016 the Latvian regulatory framework did not provide for criminal liability for assistance to a foreign state or a foreign organisation to take action against the Republic of Latvia. So historical episodes published in media content, which cover the period from 2005 to 2013, did not qualify as a crime. Although, in the assessment of the VDD, this type of activity posed a threat to Latvia, it was not possible to criminalize this type of activity. Accordingly, until 2016, the VDD implemented targeted counterintelligence and operational measures to address identified threats to national security.

In the assessment of the VDD, the status of Member of the European Parliament of Ždanoka and the legal immunity provided by that status were an important factor contributing to her activities in support of Russia's geopolitical interests.

VDD recalled that in 2016 the VDD, in cooperation with the Defence Intelligence and Security Service and the Constitution Protection Bureau, encouraged improvement of the normative framework of Latvia. One of the reasons why changes were necessary was the threat posed by Russian politics and other manifestations of non-military influence, supported by Latvian nationals. As a result, significant amendments to the Criminal Law came into force in 2016, which provided, among other things, for criminal liability for assisting a foreign state or a foreign organization to take action against the Republic of Latvia. At the same time, the VDD noted that these amendments do not have a retroactive effect.

However, despite this, VDD will assess information on Ždanoka's possible cooperation with Russian special services.

Meanwhile newswire LETA reports on Tuesday morning that the European Parliament (EP) has opened an investigation into suspected contacts between Latvian MEP Tatjana Ždanoka and Russian intelligence agencies.

EP President Roberta Metsola takes the allegations against Ždanoka “very seriously” and referred the case to the code of conduct advisory committee.

Metsola will also raise the issue for discussion at the Conference of Presidents on January 31.

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