RIGA - A certain part of the population of Latvia's easternmost province of Latgale is quite disloyal to Latvia, and this is very worrisome, Maris Kucinskis (Greens/Farmers), chairman of the Saeima National Security Committee, admits in an interview to Diena daily.
According to Kucinskis, the situation in Latgale is being constantly monitored and the State Security Service informs the National Security Committee on developments in this territory as well as on possible future scenarios.
"What has been shown there publicly is just the surface, but the sentiment of a part of the population there is not particularly loyal," the daily quoted Kucinskis as saying.
Clearly, the main reason for this disloyalty is the prolonged influence of the Russian information environment, which has been preventing people from becoming patriots of Latvia, Kucinskis believes.
The lawmaker believes that as legal access to Russian television channels is blocked, it is necessary to provide the audience with alternative content. "Of course, the news alone may not attract a very large audience, so it is necessary to consider offering a variety of interesting and entertaining programs," Kucinskis said, adding that this what Ukraine did to win over its TV audience.
The lawmaker noted that many people in Latvia are still using illegal satellite television receivers and that illegal content on the internet is also hard to control.
"It is clear that an alternative is needed to these blocked Russian channels. A discussions is therefore taking place on how to attract Russian-speakers to Latvian and other countries' TV content. The National Electronic Mass Media Council, for instance, proposes offering Latvian TV channels in operators' packages for free," Kucinskis said.
Asked if the Latvian law enforcement authorities' capacity is sufficient to deal with all supporters of Russian aggression in Ukraine, Kucinskis said that so far there have been no requests from the State Security Service to increase their capacity. The authorities are aware of the situation and cope with it adequately under the war circumstances, the lawmaker said, adding that if needed, the law enforcement authorities will clamp down on all manifestations of support for Russia's aggressive policies.