Email to the editor from Mike Parr

  • 2015-04-04
  • By Mike Parr


Having just read an article in the last issue of The Baltic Times, I just feel I have to speak out about the obvious lack of sincerity in the writing.
Entitled ‘Rural Latvia Emptying Out, Presenting Riga with Another Security Challenge’ by Paul Goble, I read about the loss of 84 villages In Latvia last year.
Wow, what an opportunity, ghost villages, ready to be repopulated by like minded people who want to escape the dross of ‘civilised’ living. The author, situated in Staunton, Virginia, is somewhat distanced from Latvia but hey, he’s clearly researched his story.
Or has he? Here I am sat thinking about abandoned villages and the opportunity that it could present, awaiting the arrival of the email containing the article from a friend, so I decide to do a bit of digging for myself.
Seems the idea of these empty villages isn’t quite what it seems.
Far from hordes of simple folk from the countryside abandoning their homes for the bright lights of the city, what has actually happened is the rationalisation of village title. Single, double up to quadruple dwellings have lost their title of village in a move by the Latvian land registry, the impact of such a loss, is simply the removal of the village name from its postal address.
The article when it arrives is somewhat confusing in its content. Firstly, explaining the Latvian population has dropped to the equivalent of what it was a century ago..... so are we talking 1915 or are we talking the last century, just over 15 yrs ago. It goes on to explain that experts say it will drop by a further 20% within 5 years.
So forget the ghost villages, think ghost country. Interestingly, Latvians who moved overseas for work are returning either due to disappointment in the lands of opportunity or because they have raised enough money to return to their home country and start a new life with sufficient capital to be able to live a better life.
We are then told of the security risk that comes with the declining population of Riga by the sudden influx of Russians who are abandoning the countryside, while at the same time pouring out of Latvia to other European countries that don’t require visas. (Doesn’t Shengen ring any bells relating to free movement in Europe?)
Make your mind up, are these Russians from the Latvian countryside heading to Riga or leaving Latvia? In my experience nearly all dwellers of the Latvian countryside are Latvian, and even the Russians that live here are Latvian. And exactly how are Latvian Russians posing a security threat to Riga? Oh hang on, the article goes on to explain...
It seems Moscow will have to push forward its plans to invade before there are no more Russians to liberate.
What on earth?! How can an editor allow such rubbish to be put into a newspaper (Unless you are the Sunday Sport). I mean really, what is it that misrepresentation of facts (regarding lost villages) and fanciful posturing about a Russian threat in Riga and potential invasion, that it can be editorially allowed?
Clearly the writer of the article, situated in the US, has a completely different take on the facts to those of us that live here. Not only that, you are alienating half of the Rigan population! With so many Russians living in Riga and posing such a ‘threat’ why aren’t the military already on the streets?
The author is a self styled ‘expert’ on the region. A quick bit of research shows that all articles that this person writes are clearly anti Russian in content and clearly aimed at creating misinformation and causing undue worry in its readers. It reminds me of ill informed conspiracy theorists. Surely this is just the author wanting to generate a level of self importance that comes with notoriety!
This article is either badly researched or purposefully sensationalist. Whichever, it is bad journalism and shame on you, The Baltic Times, for printing such dross.
Mike Parr


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