A Fulbright alumnus, Olevs Nikers earned his Master’s degree in International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, in 2016. He graduated from the Baltic Defense College Civil Servants Course, in 2003, as well as the University of Latvia in Political Science, in 2001. He is an army and defense professional since 2001, and serves as a Chief Expert for the Ministry of Defense of Latvia. From 2009 to 2010, he was the chairman of the international affairs and security policy think tank for the political party “Jaunais Laiks” (New Era). The views expressed in his writing are his own and do not represent the position of the government of Latvia, EU or NATO.
The multinational Rail Baltica project, which had been in the planning and design stages since 2014, finally entered the phase of actual construction of the railway line and related infrastructure
In mid-March, the State Security Service (VDD) of Latvia published its annual public report. “While the new coronavirus COVID-19 disease has for some time brought other priorities to the forefront
In light of the three Baltic States’ and other Central and Eastern European countries’ continued struggle against Russian disinformation, Latvian President Egils Levits emphasized that international law needs to be
As of early 2020, Latvia remains the only Baltic State whose telecommunications market is not wholly controlled by a foreign-owned private enterprise, namely the Swedish companies Telia and Tele2. This
The last remnants of the so-called “Homo Sovieticus” phenomenon—characterized by low loyalty toward the national state, hostility to Western-style liberal-democratic values, and high levels of Soviet nostalgia and pro-Russian feelings—may
In the past two months, the Russian government twice warned Latvian authorities that it was planning to conduct missile tests over Latvia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Baltic Sea.
Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis announced new amendments to the set of education laws regulating the transition of all secondary education (high school) within the country into the official state language—Latvian.
A series of accusations levied against Latvian banks and officials last week has seriously upended this Baltic State’s banking and financial system. First, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of
In late January 2018, the Ministry of Defense of Latvia (MoD) reported plans to expand the National Guard (Zemessardzes) force to 12,000 by 2027. The largest component of the National
The biggest success for all three Baltic countries—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia—last year was the arrival of the multinational battalion groups to the region, thus implementing the decisions reached at the
The question of where to secure dependable energy supplies for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe was notably broached during United States President Donald Trump’s July visit to Poland.
In late June 2017, for the second time in the previous two months, Europe experienced a massive wave of cyberattacks, which also spread to the United States. Initially, the attacks—from
Rail Baltica, the European-standard-gauge railway project for the Baltic States, which also has important security implications (see EDM, October 19, 2016), is becoming a more important component of the future
Twice in the past several weeks, Russian intrusions put the Baltics on high alert. On June 1, several Russian soldiers, traveling from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad without transit permits,
In early April 2017, the Latvian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) Parliamentary Secretary Andrejs Panteļējevs publicly announced the country was returning to the concept of total or “comprehensive” defense, which it
Humor is a much more powerful “soft warfare” weapon in Russia’s hands than one might think. This month (March 2017), a team of academics from Latvia and Ukraine, in collaboration
The issue of closer defense cooperation among the three Baltic States—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia—was raised again, on March 3, by defense professionals and distinguished speakers from the United Kingdom and
Since the beginning of February 2017, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has begun to implement the decision taken at the Alliance’s summit in Warsaw last July to deploy a
The Latvian National Armed Forces (LNAF) are starting the year with a new commander. After having his appointment approved by the Latvian parliament in December 22, 2016, Major General Leonīds
By approving additional defense spending in their national budgets for 2017, the Baltic States—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia—strongly answered Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Their budget figures, adopted this past December, mean
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s historic visit to Riga, Latvia, on November 4, marked the opening of a new chapter in relations between Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the
As the Baltic States continue to confront Russian air and naval power in the Baltic Sea, two small missile ships, the Zelenyy Dol and the Serpukhov entered this crowded body
Earlier this month (October 2016), the governments of the Baltic States and Poland finally reached all the necessary political, financial and technical agreements to implement one of the most ambitious
Latvia experienced a population decline of 8.7 percent in the last year. From among the 28 members of the European Union (the United Kingdom has not yet officially left), only
Latvia’s new State Defense Concept, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers this week (May 24), is an ambitious declaration for a stronger defense buildup. At the same time, it represents
In order to boost the role of the National Guard within the national defense system and to continue to develop its structures, Latvia’s Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis recently ordered the
On the second anniversary of the start of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the BBC gave its viewers a chance to “look inside the war room” with a program featuring a
Different time zones and long geographical distance separate Latvia from the southern borders of the European Union, which, since last year, has been absorbing an unprecedented influx of thousands of