Staunton, February 19 – Two developments this week – the creation of a “Russian International” to organize ethnic Russians abroad and discussions about the establishment of a “Party of the Regions” in Latvia – suggest that some in the Russian capital consider the approach they have pushed in Ukraine a model for what they could do elsewhere.
As Nazaccent.ru reported yesterday, citing Baltij.eu and “Kommersant,” a group of ethnic Russian activists from Ukraine, Moldova and Estonia and Aleksey Zhuravlyev, a Duma deputy who heads the Rodina Party, are scheduled to sign a declaration today about the creation of a Russian International in Moscow (nazaccent.ru/content/10663-v-moskve-sozdadut-russkij-internacional.html, baltija.eu/news/read/36381 and kommersant.ru/doc/2407075
Zhurvalyev for his part told “Kommersant:” “In the course o the current color revolutions, we are very much losing in the information war. There is the ‘Voice of America’ in Ukrainian, but ‘the Voices of Russia’ are not heard there in principle. To improve things, we need a special ministry of propaganda; these things must be regulated at the state level.”
And the Rodina leader added that steps must be taken to end unacceptable situations like the one which he said now obtains in Moldova: There, “citiens who support the idea of joining the Customs Union are declared enemies of the motherland while the Romanian police already have the right to act freely on Moldovan territories.”
Meanwhile, last Saturday, a congress of the Regional Alliance in Latvia announced its electoral program. According to Rubaltic.ru, the party is now “a classic party of the regions, a political force which will speak in the name of the districts and self-administrations of Latvia by expressing their economic interests in opposition to the Center” (rubaltic.ru/article/politika-i-obshchestvo/partiya-regionov-kakim-budet-regionalnyy-alyans-v-latviyskoy-politike12022014/).
The analyst says that he and other observers have some doubts about the group because “the Latvian provinces which it unites are precisely that:” depressed areas which receive aid but which are “dying” because of the flight of their residents to Riga and abroad. The money and the budget are in Riga.
If Latvia’s version of the party of the regions is to be successful, it will have to position itself as a party of the left: “It must demand not the self-sufficiency of the regions but on the contrary an increase of their financing from the state budget.” Such demands may lead people to speak about new “red lines” in Latvia, just as some spoke about “red belts” elsewhere.
Nosovich doesn’t say, but it is clear from his comments that such a party could become a pro-Moscow operation precisely because of its demands and because of the Russian government’s interest not only in weakening neighboring states but also its support, at least beyond its borders, of those who have suffered most from the collapse of communism.
Exactly what will happen with either the RusIntern or the Latvian version of Ukraine’s Party of the Regions is far from clear. But they potentially give Moscow yet another way to influence the domestic affairs of neighboring countries and one that the Russian authorities can use even while plausibly denying responsibility.