Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Old boys networks forever

The new PM is planning to find the least painful way to return overheated Latvian economy on tracks of sound macroeconomic stability. The PM has announced that regaining the trust of the Latvian public is a priority for achieving such goal. In the meantime his governing coalition partners openly announce that there is no need to worry, because dissatisfaction of broad layers of society according to Mr Brigmanis (the head of the Union of Greens and Farmers parliamentary fraction) is a myth propagated by liberal media (Diena) and Western financiers.

As I already wrote the 2007 was disastrous for the incumbent political elite but also encouraging for the budding Latvian civil society. In January 2008 it is the end of the four year tenure for the Russian outgoing ambassador Mr Kaluzhny. If there should be an award given for the antithesis of the role of an ambassador then the latter could be given to the latter gentelman. Mr Kaluzhny is leaving his tenure and also the job in the diplomatic service of the Russian Federation, nevertheless, it is hard to trust the words of an outgoing ambassador however.

Customarily to the best traditions of the soviet nomenklatura one should not trust words of an official because one could always be called back to the duty of the state to serve its collective God/masters. There are ample of such examples in the post-Soviet space. After Lithuanian presidency (1993-1998) Mr Algirdas Brauzauskas announced that he quits active politics because he wanted to give a chance for younger generation politicians, but he was recalled and served as a PM of Lithuania from 2001-2006. Ivars Godmanis after his bumpy premiership (1991-1993) and subsequent losing of the post as the Minister of Finance in 1999 announced that he would NEVER come back to the active politics, however, Mr BUT (he established such nickname due to response to journalists in early 1990's with his customary conjunction but) is back since December 2007 as a new/old Latvian PM.

Old comrades are networking and their relations are tightly knit. Relations of such old boys networks with Brussels officials are cool due to the lack of networks and very often still the lack of English skills. Thus, it is obvious that old boys networks feel better with their "ideological comrades of faith", and probably it explains why Ivars Godmanis agreed to meet the outging Russian ambassador thus swiftly after his appointment as a new prime minister.

While it is now complicated to find hard evidence about my assumptios of such general knowledge from the present political elite in Latvia it is Mr Kaluzhny who gave his omenous farewell address to the present governing coalition in the Chas (08.01.2008) interview.

"I must compliment premier Kalvītis and the governing coalition during three years of their rule. It was the victory of pragmatism and I am sad that he has left the premiership"

Pragmatism in Latvian - Russian relations was badly needed after all, thats true. The fact that such pragmatic relations are built at the expence of delayed Latvian europeanization, marginalization of the civil society, disregard and often open onslaught on the rule of law, return of the milieu of gangsters shooting on the streets, and finally estrangement from its Western allies is very, very sad, however. Baltic States are perceived as a common regional, economic and sometimes even as a political entity. Such fallout in Latvia, that is always considered as the weakest link among Baltic cousins, endangers international sovereign position of Estonia and Lithuania as well.

Thank you Mr Ambassador for your candid words after all, and I hope that such words would only help to consolidate the civil society in Latvia!

P.S. I started adding my thought in Latvian in Diena from now one from time to time as well.


Anonymous said...

Latvia is falling further and further into a pit. The country will NOT survive this. There are not enough alternative choices for people aside from this set of corrupt bastards.

I hate to say it, Latvia is looking less "transitional" than "post-Soviet" these days.

Baltic said...

Omenously said "less transitional than post-Soviet" mate:)

Anonymous said...

If one presumes that Russian onslaught on the Baltics is a constant occurence, then Latvia these days should take a deep breath to prepare for the future. Yesterday estonians did pass the batton to lithuanians, when the latter announced about their intention to claim the compensation from russians about the years of the Soviet occupation. So, Latvia's turn will be next.

Yes, and congrats on the occasion of the successful blog- start in diena!

Anonymous said...

Well, it is ominous. I cannot see how things can improve even if Pabriks and others create 1 or 2 new parties. The existing forces have way too much money and will always play a force.

And one thing -- the race card has not come out fully. If the "A Team" feels they are losing to the positive forces led by Pabriks and friends, they may use the nationalism card. And that will cause immense chaos for Latvia.

Politicians, when desperate to survive, will do just about anything. Better lose the country than one's own position.


Anonymous said...

Dear M,

Your assumptions are correct but somehow pessimistic. About Pabriks and friends there is little optimism, because their chosen poitical niche does not go well with their past and public image.

The triple effect is needed today for the cleanup of the system. Diplomatic pressure from Brussels (similar to Joerg Heider phenomenon), joint presure of opposition parties in the parliament, and finally consolidation of civil society.

Until now I have not noticed any effects of this kind yet:)