Military Review

Five years for a cartoon bike. A victim of political repression in Latvia may become the mayor of Riga

In Latvia, the regime of political repression is increasing. In this country for the last quarter of a century, it’s not getting tired of blaming neighboring Russia for authoritarianism; any dissenter can get a real sentence today. And not even for serious political actions, but for banter. The fact that in Latvia there is a threat to political and civil freedoms, even some high-ranking officials of this country say. For example, 27 in April 2016 on its Facebook page, the mayor of the Latvian capital of Riga, Neil Ushakov, announced the beginning of “real repression” in Latvia. The reason for such a demarche on the part of the mayor of the Latvian capital was the tragicomic история Maxim Koptelov. The man, who made a joke declaration about the accession of the Republic of Latvia to the Russian Federation, was arrested and sentenced to six months of real imprisonment.

The security police of Latvia, after reviewing the text of Koptelov, concluded that the man had called for the liquidation of Latvia’s independence. Koptelov was arrested, his home was searched. Another resident of Latvia, Denis Bartetsky, is also under investigation. He seems to be facing the fate of Koptelov for a similar action - Bartetsky, also jokingly, published a declaration on the accession of Latvia to the United States of America. Giving real prison sentences for obvious jokes is overkill, especially for a country that does not tire of emphasizing its commitment to “democratic values”. However, the fact that in Latvia human rights are not all good, or, to be honest, it is not good at all, it has been known for a long time. What is one phenomenon of "non-citizens", equaling Latvia with countries such as South Africa during the apartheid era? By the way, when the law on “non-citizens” was introduced in 1999, the Russian government reacted to this blatant violation of the rights of the Russian-speaking population very gently, limiting itself to “expressing concern” on the part of the State Duma of the Russian Federation. As a result, extremely high discrimination of the Russian-speaking population still persists in Latvia. Recently, anti-Russian hysteria has been added to it on the basis of the events in the Donbas and the reunification of the Crimea with Russia. The position of the Latvian authorities is outraged not only by radical oppositionists from Russian organizations, but also by quite respectable politicians who understand the fallacy of the political course of modern Latvia.

Five years for a cartoon bike. A victim of political repression in Latvia may become the mayor of Riga

Why is the mayor of the Latvian capital Nil Ushakov decided to make a sharp criticism of the authorities of the country and their policies? First of all, pay attention to the person of Ushakov himself. Neil Valeryevich is an experienced politician, although he is young in age - he will be forty years old only in the early summer of this year. Nil Ushakov was born 8 June 1976, in Riga, received higher education at the University of Latvia and in Denmark - at the South Danish University. Already at the age of twenty-two, Ushakov became the producer of the Baltic branch of the Russian television company NTV. Since that time, he worked in the field of journalism, occupying editorial positions in various media. In his political views, Nil Ushakov is more likely to be close to Social Democracy. In the 2005 year, in the 29 years, he headed the political union “Harmony Center”, from which he hopes over time to create an effective political force. However, the position of the “Harmony Center” is already quite strong. 1 July 2009 year 33-year-old Neil Ushakov was elected mayor of Riga. Since that time and for almost seven years he has remained the permanent leader of the Latvian capital. The main tasks in this post for Nil Ushakov were solving the social problems of the city, improving its infrastructure, ensuring public order and the safety of citizens.

For modern Latvia, Nil Ushakov is a very interesting figure. Firstly, he is an ethnic Russian, who, nevertheless, was able to build a dizzying political career in a country where Russians are subjected to all sorts of discrimination. Secondly, despite the fact that Neil Ushakov is positioning himself as an unconditional patriot of Latvia, he, at the same time, never refused such actions as the celebration of Victory Day on May 9, support for the Russian language, etc. So, Nil Ushakov participated in the creation of the society “9”, which holds festive events in honor of Victory Day. Moreover, it sharply criticizes some of the actions and statements of higher-level Latvian leaders. Back in August, 2014 of the city of Nil Ushakov questioned the expediency of the introduction of sanctions by the West against Russia in connection with the war in the Donbas and the reunification of the Crimea. According to Ushakov, the idea of ​​imposing sanctions from the very beginning was a failure, since neither Western countries, nor, even more so, Latvia, have any problems in economic relations with Russia, especially in the current world situation. In addition, Nil Ushakov said that Riga is always happy for Russian tourists and will try to continue to maintain tourist flows from Russia. 20 April 2016 Mr. Nil Ushakov said that the suspension of broadcasting on the Latvian territory of the Russian TV channel Russia-RTR and the deprivation of the domain Sputnik agency in the zone .lv are "absolutely idiotic solutions."

As you know, a favorite topic of Latvian politicians is the demand for monetary compensation from Russia for the “Soviet occupation” of Latvia. The inadequacy of such requirements is obvious, but many Latvian politicians continue to persistently exaggerate this topic. Not so long ago, the representative of the Latvian commission Ruta Pazdere again demanded that Latvia pay damages for the years of the “Soviet occupation” in the amount of 185 billion euros. Russian politicians took this statement rather with humor, realizing the absurdity of Pazdere's assertions. Laughing at the Latvian "right" and Nil Ushakov. The mayor of the Latvian capital posted a picture of a cyclist on his Facebook page. The picture shows how a person first put a stick into the wheel of his bicycle, then fell from it and then demanded that Russia pay him 185 billion euros. Nil Ushakov stressed, commenting on the picture, that during the 25-year-old post-Soviet history of the Latvian statehood, all serious problems are still being attempted as a result of the “Soviet occupation”. Ushakov also noted that it is Latvian right-wing politicians who are responsible for low pensions and for large-scale emigration from modern Latvia.

Naturally, the Latvian nationalists immediately burst out with threats against the mayor of the capital. Right-wing nationalist association “Everything for Latvia! - To Motherland and Freedom / Movement for the National Independence of Latvia ”demanded a public apology from Nil Ushakov. The leader of this organization, Raivis Dzintars, compared the “Soviet occupation” with the Holocaust and complained that it was equally inhuman to laugh at the “horrors of occupation”. Of course, one of the main funny moments in this comparison is that it was the ideological predecessors of the modern Latvian right and were directly involved in the destruction of the Jewish population during the Second World War, acting on the side of Nazi Germany and serving in the SS, in other punitive and auxiliary formations. Ruta Pazdere, who laughed at the statement by Neil Ushakov, accused the mayor of the capital of having roughly mocked the Latvian history and stressed that for this he could receive a five-year prison term. Deputy of the Seimas Vilnis Kirsis wrote a statement to the Security Police against Nil Ushakov, demanding that a criminal case be filed against the mayor of Riga for publishing a caricature under an article punishing up to five years of imprisonment for denying the "Soviet occupation" of Latvia. One more statement - to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Latvia - and again about the ill-fated caricature - Ms. Inese Vaidere wrote to Nil Ushakov. In response, Nil Ushakov answered his aptly and wittily page on his social networking site Facebook: “I was only 1 for a year when she became a communist smiley smile.” The question is: how much of the compensation in 185 000 000 000 euros for the crimes of the Soviet government must pay directly to the member of the CPSU Inese Vaidere, who 12 years of this power truly served? I will send this question tomorrow officially to Rute Pazdere, who is responsible for calculating the amount of compensation. The answer is sure to publish. Neil Ushakov once again published a caricature of a cyclist on his page, only now it is decorated with the text: “Pensioners - poverty, turn to the hospital - three months, we won’t increase salaries. The way out is to put Ushakov in jail! ” The activities of Nil Ushakov cause fierce hatred from the Latvian right and anti-Russian circles. Politics is directly blamed on a number of information resources for being a Russian influence agent and even receiving some kind of money from Russian intelligence.

However, in addition to the "jokers" who still got off with short periods, in Latvia on a more serious level, all those who dare to defend the rights of the Russian population of the country are being prosecuted. Thus, the Latvian authorities repeatedly harassed political activist Vladimir Linderman, better known under the pseudonym “Abel”. Back in the late 1990's. He became widely known as one of the leaders of the Latvian branch of the NBP, Eduard Limonov. Like his other associates, Linderman took part in regular actions in defense of the rights of the Russian population of Latvia. In response, repressive actions were taken against him. So, 21 in November 2002 in Riga. The Latvian Security Police searched the apartment of Linderman. He was put on the international wanted list, allegedly for planning an “attempt on the life of the President of Latvia, Vaira Vike-Freiberga” and calls for the overthrow of the Latvian state system. By this time, Linderman was already in Russia, where he also continued to engage in political activities as one of Eduard Limonov’s closest associates.

Beginning with 2003, Russian law enforcement authorities detained Linderman several times in order to extradite him to Latvia, but at different times this extradition was canceled. So, in 2003, he was detained on 24 in September, and already on October 13, the General Prosecutor’s Office overturned the extradition decision. Finally, 29 February 2008, he was detained in Moscow, placed in a temporary detention center for foreign citizens and March 19 deported to Latvia, where he was taken into custody. However, on July 3 2008, Linderman was acquitted of storing explosives by a court in the Central District of Riga. Despite the fact that the prosecutor's office appealed the verdict and the Riga District Court convicted Linderman, 2 September 2009, after the case was returned to the Supreme Court for reconsideration, the Riga District Court acquitted Linderman. In 2012, he headed the party “For the mother tongue”, advocating for the rights of the Russian-speaking population, but in February 2016, the court decided to liquidate it - modern Latvia is not interested in the existence of political organizations advocating for the rights and interests of Latvian Russians.

Ayo Benes is no less famous in Latvia than Linderman. He is the son of a Russian woman who lived in Rezekne and a Ugandan citizen. Like Linderman, from the end of 1990, Benes took part in the NBP activities, defended the rights and interests of the Russian-speaking population of Latvia, for which he was also prosecuted by the Latvian Security Police. Benes worked as a professional biologist at the Institute of Virology, but the Latvian special services soon forced him to leave this job, as the state stopped funding the program in which he worked. In 2014, “at the call of the heart,” Ayo Benes went to the Donbass - to support the resistance of the Russian population to the Kiev regime. However, in the territory of the Luhansk region, he was seized by the National Guard, after which Benes was deported to Latvia. Benes spent several months in a Latvian prison, after which he was released under the strict supervision of the Security Police. However, the tireless activist managed to bypass the police and illegally leave the country. He returned to the Donbass, in Lugansk, where he joined the militia.

By the way, people who took part in the hostilities in the Donbass on the side of the militia, cause special suspicions among the Latvian authorities. Almost all of them face harassment from the special services, many are arrested. The Minister of Internal Affairs of Latvia, Richard Kozlovskis, still in 2014, noted that criminal proceedings would be initiated against people who fought in the Donbas on the side of the militia. Some Latvian politicians are calling for the deprivation of Latvian citizenship of those citizens of the country who fought in the Donbas or provided financial and organizational assistance to the militias of New Russia. According to Article 77.1 of the Latvian Criminal Law, accused of “active participation in an armed conflict outside the Republic of Latvia, directed against state territorial integrity or political independence,” faces up to ten years ’imprisonment.

Of course, the mayor of Riga, Neil Ushakov, and the radical oppositionists Vladimir Linderman or Ayo Benes are completely different, in some ways diametrically opposed segments of the political panorama of Latvia. Yes, and personality types are definitely different. But one thing unites them: in modern Latvia, a respectable mayor, a social democrat who has European fame and is accepted by the leaders of the European Parliament, and yesterday’s militia have the same chance of becoming political prisoners. To do this, they only need to doubt the fact of "Soviet occupation" or express their opinion about the situation of the Russian-speaking population in the country.
Photos used:,, Nils Ušakovs/Нил Ушаков - Facebook,
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  1. Teberii
    Teberii April 28 2016 06: 29
    The Baltic states no longer know what to come up with to show their significance in Europe. And Russia, with its size, constantly casts a shadow on them.
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. siberalt
      siberalt April 28 2016 10: 16
      If the mayor of Riga is in opposition to the government, then there is a dual power. If Ushakov has not yet been “pushed aside,” then he has a significant political platform of public support.
      1. jjj
        jjj April 28 2016 11: 07
        Try on the Nile in future presidents
    3. Samaritan
      Samaritan April 28 2016 13: 58
      The news was already in !!!
  2. Uncle Murzik
    Uncle Murzik April 28 2016 06: 35
    But what about democracy, freedom of speech? belay
    1. EvgNik
      EvgNik April 28 2016 06: 48
      Quote: Uncle Murzik
      But what about democracy, freedom of speech?

      I will not say anything about democracy, there are not enough words, but freedom of speech:
  3. parusnik
    parusnik April 28 2016 06: 46
    Giving real jail time for obvious jokes is too much... And characteristically, "democratic" Europe does not bang its fist on the table in relation to Latvia, like what are you doing, let go .. but it sheds tears over the murderer Savchenko, who is languishing in "Putin's confinement" .. And ours like "democrats" are silent about this ... Where is the "courageous" L. Akhedzhakova, O. Basilashivili and others with placards at the Latvian embassy .. "No to political repression!" .. Not to be seen .. The letter is being written .. Free Nadia Savchenko ..
    1. The comment was deleted.
  4. The comment was deleted.
  5. Uncle Murzik
    Uncle Murzik April 28 2016 06: 56
    but we liberalists love to write that under Stalin they were jailed for jokes!
  6. rotmistr60
    rotmistr60 April 28 2016 08: 33
    They (the Latvian authorities) have been sharpening a tooth on Ushakov for a long time, but then such an incident turned up. They will spread rot.
  7. Ros 56
    Ros 56 April 28 2016 08: 45
    These idiots forgot one of the laws of dialectical materialism, which says that quantitative changes necessarily turn into qualitative ones. So, when debilitation reaches a certain level in quantitative terms, then there will be people who will demolish these clowns and establish normal democratic power, which will take into account the interests of all residents of Latvia, and not just the SS men.
  8. Volga Cossack
    Volga Cossack April 28 2016 09: 51
    They will condemn now - how is the mayor and Russian ......... ????? that’s all democracy - well, yes they can ....... Overseas puppeteers - bless.
  9. Pvi1206
    Pvi1206 April 28 2016 09: 56
    Political repression is always intensified when the authorities begin to feel the fragility of their position.
    They are carried out in Russia for preventive purposes, but are not advertised in the media.
  10. Kibl
    Kibl April 28 2016 11: 35
    I now live in Latvia and I think Ushakov pursued two goals by publishing this cartoon. First, to ridicule the commission for calculating the damage from the "occupation", worked for 11 years, sweated, pored and the second, on the urgent adoption of amendments to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania. Amendments to Articles 82 ., 88 approx., And I don’t remember exactly how. But the main thing is that these amendments sharply limit freedom of speech and are aimed at combating the so-called "hybrid" war and aggression from Russia. Hysteria about this is in the "minds" of our rulers and in the local media it just goes off scale, but this is understandable, a command has been given! But now even for criticism of officials of any rank, for disagreement about finding Latvia in any blocs and unions, thoughts of any autonomy (Latgale region) and recognition, only recognition of the Russian language not a second state language, but just an official one! The real term of up to 8 years is threatening. And all these amendments were bungled and in a wild haste were adopted in 2 months! Of course, the enemy is at the gate! lol
  11. would
    would April 30 2016 02: 02
    A rather ironic thing I notice. Latvian and Baltic anti-advisers in general constantly recall how under Stalin one could sit down for a joke, how Sakharov was deprived of his awards for a position different from that of the authorities, and so on. And what do we see in free Latvia and Lithuania freed from Soviet occupation? Such a hateful scoop for them. For a caricature that differs from the party line 5 years in prison, for the phrase

    and what happened on January 13, then, at the tower? Now it turns out that they shot their own

    Paleckis Algidras was deprived of the only Lithuanian award "For services to Lithuania". And the more anti-Sovietism they have, the more in the country such a hated scoop and soviet political repression that they hate so much.