Moscow, Kremlin attitudes not indicative of all of Russia, says ambassador

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Despite the difficult relations between the EU and Latvia, exports to Russia have been growing for the past couple years, as have tourist numbers from the neighboring country, said Māris Riekstiņš, the Latvian Ambassador to Russia.

Riekstiņš told LTV that while relations are at their most complex since the Cold War, opportunities to work together exist in cross-border collaboration, trade, tourism and culture. 

Trade with Russia is on the upswing, even though this year the increase has been somewhat slower. Nevertheless last year exports to Russia were at €3.1 billion, which is a respectable number. At the same time, the number of tourists grows 7 to 9% every year.

For example, in Moscow 9% more visas have been issued on year in 2019, and it's expected that visa levies could bring in at least €2 million into the state budget through 2019.

Riekstiņš also stressed that there's not just an economic benefit from people going to Latvia. People come here and perhaps see that what the state propaganda says is untrue.

He stressed that Moscow and the Kremlin do not stand for the entire of Russia. In regions of Russia, attitudes towards cooperation with Latvia are very positive. The ambassador said that in St. Petersburg dozens of companies came to a meeting he attended to discuss opportunities for collaboration.

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