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Vejonis wants investigation into Gaponenko comments

Apr 23, 2014
From wire reports, RIGA

Latvian Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis has turned to law enforcement authorities asking that the authorities investigate statements made by the "Non-Citizen Congress" activist and one of the organizers of the referendum to make Russian a state language in Latvia, Aleksandrs Gaponenko, in an interview with a Norwegian television, said the minister's advisor Andis Jekabsons, reports LETA.

On April 22, Vejonis turned to Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis, asking him to evaluate Gaponenko's opinions expressed in an interview with Norwegian television and later aired in Latvia by the TV3 television, and "take the relevant measures."

"It is unacceptable that the image of the state of Latvia and the National Armed Forces is being tarnished in such a manner, and that the international community is being misled about the objectives and tasks of the Latvian government," Vejonis notes in a letter to the interior minister.

Vejonis believes that Gaponenko is trying to disseminate tendentious information hostile to Latvia and to mislead the local and international communities. "The public statements by Gaponenko create a wrong impression about the involvement of the National Armed Forces in any kind of protests or rallies, likewise, statements such that the army could shoot at non-citizens or be used to suppress protests question the principles of Latvia as a democratic country," says Vejonis' letter.

During the interview with Norwegian television, Gaponenko said that the current government was inclined to suppress protests with the help of the army. "This is what they have said. And they imagine that Russia will stand by and watch women and children shot dead for fighting for their right to learn in their native language," he said.

Most in the general public believe that if Gaponenko, and others expressing similar views negative of Latvia, and supportive of Russia, they should then move to Russia. If they are not willing to work within the legal system to express their views, but instead promote lies and distrust in society, they don’t belong in Latvia and should leave.

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