According to Kremlin foreign policy coordinator Sergei Yastrzhembsky, Russian regional governors ought to avoid meeting Latvian government officials in order to demonstrate Russia’s displeasure with the situation of Latvia’s “Russian-speaking population.” Yastrzhembsky publicly urged the governors of both St. Petersburg and the Pskov region to stay away from meetings with Latvian Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs, which were tentatively scheduled to be held in the coming days. (Itar-Tass, LETA, July 3)
The two Russian administrative units have sought to maintain mutually beneficial economic relations with neighboring Latvia, despite the recent political tensions. Yastrzhembsky’s statement punctures Moscow’s claim that the regions are pressuring the central government to ostracize Latvia. In fact, several leftist Russian governors whose regions have negligible trade with Latvia support the Kremlin’s initiative to impose “economic measures” against the Baltic country.
PRO-KUCHMA NOMINEE BARELY SHORT OF WINNING PARLIAMENT’S CHAIRMANSHIP.