Latvia’s National Security Council, chaired by President Guntis Ulmanis, resolved on April 3 to dismiss the Defense Forces commander, Major General Juris Dalbins. The basis for dismissal: Dalbins’ participation in the March 16 commemorative march of World War II Latvian legionnaires. The commanders of the Navy and Air Force face dismissal for the same reason. On the same day, Prime Minister Guntars Krasts dismissed Economics Minister Atis Sausnitis on the grounds that the minister’s analysis of the possible impact of Russian economic sanctions (see Monitor, April 2) had been "exaggerated" and "sowed panic." Ulmanis, in a rare consensus with Krasts, endorsed both the move and the justifications. In what looks like a related development, Latvian authorities released from investigative arrest Trofim Yakushonok and Ilya Mashonkin, former KGB agents accused of participating in mass deportation of Latvians to Siberia during the Soviet era. (Latvian Radio, April 3 and 4; BNS, April 3 and 4) The moves appear designed to conciliate Moscow, which over the weekend again warned of economic sanctions and turned down Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs’ renewed offer to go to Moscow.
Russia, Belarus "Draw Red Line" Against NATO Enlargement.