BBC's Latvia invasion scenario 'unrealistic' says actor

The scenario of the BBC-produced “World War Three: Inside The War Room” film, in which Russia carries out a full-scale invasion of Latvia, is essentially unrealistic, Ian Bond, an actor in the film, as well as the Director of Foreign Policy at Centre for European Reform and former British Ambassador in Latvia, told LSM's Kira Savchenko.

The show will be broadcast on Latvian Television Friday at 9.30pm. It has proven to be highly controversial - officially and publicly - even prior to its Latvian broadcast.

According to Ian Bond, the film has enabled the audience to look at how NATO and the UK would make decisions in a crisis situation.

“The purpose of the scenario was to get you to a certain conclusion. There were a lot of unrealities in the scenario, but what it was useful for was showing how the decision making process runs and what sort of problems might arise in it,” said Ian Bond.

Ian Bond on the scenario

    Asked why he decided to participate in the filming if the scenario was not realistic, Bond said that the purpose of any exercise was to practice the steps of decision making in a crisis: “All NATO exercises are also based on extreme set of circumstances. You cannot play the exercise the in a way you challenge the scenario because otherwise you don’t actually exercise the process of taking necessary decisions.”

    “Do I think that the scenario of the uprising in Daugavpils is realistic? I don’t… But if you want to have a scenario which enables you to look “what would happen if…” then you have to start somewhere, and Daugavpils is as good as any a place to start. In fact you choose – you either have Narva or you have Daugavpils.”

    There is a massive difference between being a retired Russian military pensioner in Crimea and feeling marginalized from Ukraine and being a resident of the member of European Union with the opportunity to travel freely around Europe, said Bond, explaining why Daugavpils should not be seen as Latvia’s Crimea.

    “All of these scenarios are essentially unrealistic. They are designed to exercise the process of crisis management. They are not designed to say: “This is what we think is going to happen.”

    Ian Bond on why the show was set in Latgale

      Ian Bond said that real names wouldn't be used if it were a proper NATO exercise: “We wouldn’t have talked about Latvia, we wouldn’t have talked about Russia. Everything would have been “orange” and “blue” and other colors."

      "The BBC is not going to get many viewers for an exercising which an entity called “orange” attacks an entity called “blue”…  And I can’t blame the BBC for trying to make more than five people to watch this program,” said Bond.

      As for the film's reception in Latvia, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevičs described the scenario as "rubbish" but said it had "many lessons" to teach, while Raimonds Bergmanis, Minister of Defense told LETA that "The film is about the British themselves, who are testing their readiness to defend their ally - Latvia."

      Meanwhile municipal leaders of Latgale, the region which in the movie is taken over by Russia-backed 'separatists', on Friday sent an open letter to the President, Prime Minister and other high-ranking officials objecting to the broadcasting of the film.

      They said that the show, the making of which didn't involve any actual people from Latgale, amounts to a provocation that's offensive to the patriotic feelings of Latvians, Russians, Poles, Belarusians, Lithuanians and others who live in Latgale.

      Latvian Television denied any criticism, saying that as a public broadcaster it has a duty to show the scandalous movie, and not to be silent over it. The public broadcaster stressed it's important to show the film to Latvians as the society is worried over how the [geopolitical] situation will develop further.

      Lithuania and Estonia will broadcast the movie as well.

      Here's what Mike Collier, LSM's editor-in-chief, thought about the show after watching it.

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