03 October 2010

Irony, Baltic style

Strange times. Latvian party described as "an ethnic Russian party" wants to evacuate Latvian soldiers from Afghanistan. Parties not labeled "ethnic Russian" on the other hand want to continue the present course. And prior to yesterday's parliamentary election the president of Latvia proclaimed that on the account of their Afghanistan stance he will not be passing the mandate to form the new government to the "Russian" party even in the case that it would win the largest number of votes. (It did not.)

Actually the "Russian" party in question, the Harmony Center, is not such. It is not a national party. It is a civic party organized by Russians. It would not make sense for an explicitly Russian party to take part in Latvian elections, considering the way Russians had been treated by Latvian authorities since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The people that could be moved to support such a party would either not be able to cast a vote on the account of Latvia's nationality policy, or would not be inclined to cast one refusing to help legitimize their treatment.

A civic party like the Harmony Center on the other hand can attract votes by appealing to the Russians' and other non-Latvians' more pragmatic side. Also by shedding any national insignia it is less likely to have its activities obstructed.

In truth the Latvian president cared less about the Afghanistan issue and more about making sure he would be passing down the president of government position to political allies rather than to political opponents. Jet the irony is inescapable, seeing how this time around the Russians want Latvian lads out of harm's way, and the Latvians want to make sure they keep on fighting for foreign interests.

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