Security Police detain pro-Russia activist

Take note – story published 6 years ago

On May 8 Latvia's internal security agency, the Security Police, detained pro-Kremlin activist Vladimirs Lindermans. The case may be tied to an event, organized by Tatjana Ždanoka's party, the Latvian Russian Union, protesting Latvia's move to school instruction only in the Latvian language, reported LTV.

The Security Police said that on May 8 they detained a single person as part of a criminal probe over crimes against the state. It also said searches were carried out at a location related to the detainee.

Earlier, on April 18 the Security Police launched a probe over a March 31 event, organized by the Latvian Russian Union. The event protested the planned move to Latvian-only education for school grades 10-12 by the 2021/2022 academic year.

Lindermans' lawyer Jeļena Kvjatkovska told LSM's Latvian-language service that Lindermans was indeed detained by the Security Police, while Ždanoka -- a former MEP and also with a long track record of pro-Russia views and initiatives -- posted the following message on Facebook on May 8:

"Moments ago, masked people in black uniform kidnapped Vladimirs Lindermans. These people arrived at a transportation stop, put Lindermans to the ground and dragged him to a minibus." 

Ždanoka herself to appear before the Security Police May 11 to account for alleged anti-Latvian statements made during the March 31 rally. Most recently, she quit the European Parliament to run for this year's Saeima elections -- but she may not be allowed to run in the elections at all.

Ždanoka was a member of the Communist Party after January 13, 1991, thus the Constitutional Court is likely to rule against her candidacy, which might give her an opportunity to publicize the "oppression" of Russians and more specifically herself in Latvia, which is a popular theme with the Russian government of which she has been a staunch supporter.

As a MEP, she approved the annexation of Crimea during an illegal vote on the issue and has also been a supporter of Russia's intervention in Syria and its support for the Assad regime.  

Recently she has been seen attending protests against education reforms alongside another controversial MEP, Andrejs Mamikins, whose opinions seem increasingly to coincide with Ždanoka's on many issues.

Lindermans' most recent run-in with the Security Police was when he was arrested after two Russian citizens walked into a huge military exercise at the Latvian war base Ādaži. Lindermans was suspected of aiding the two Russians, but was later acquitted.

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