Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 147

In a statement issued yesterday, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov urged Russia’s government, bicameral parliament and regions to support “loudly and firmly” the electoral bloc “For Human Rights in a United Latvia.” Luzhkov described the bloc as “the only political force” that supports the rights of Russians in Latvia and the improvement of Latvia’s relations with Russia. He reaffirmed the Moscow city administration’s decision–which some Russian regions and, partially, the Kremlin have emulated–to boycott Latvia economically and politically because of alleged violations of the rights of Russians. (Russian agencies, July 30)

The bloc, which will compete in Latvia’s upcoming parliamentary elections, consists of: the leftist People’s Harmony Party; the Socialist Party, successor to the banned Communist Party; the Equal Rights Movement, successor to the pro-Soviet Interfront, which opposed Latvia’s independence; and the Russian Party. Latvian courts last week disqualified three top candidates of the bloc–one of them a former member of the CPSU Central Committee–for having maintained their CPSU membership even after the August 1991 putsch and the ban on that party in Russia. (BNS, July 30) Luzhkov pegged his statement to that court decision.

Luzhkov, a presidential aspirant in Russia, recently initiated the anti-Latvian resolution approved almost unanimously by the Federation Council. Before that, he held a demonstrative public meeting in Moscow with the former First Secretary of Latvia’s Communist Party, Alfreds Rubiks, who had just served a prison sentence in Latvia for his role in the 1991 attempts to suppress Latvia’s independence movement by force.