Pensioner accosted by security police for letter of complaint

  • 2007-06-13
  • By Talis Saule Archdeacon
RIGA - A team of state security police officers visited the home of an old lady in the town of Rezekne earlier this month to issue her a warning regarding possible "threats" she made to Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis. Marija Vidina, who is currently living on pension money, evoked the response by sending a letter to the prime minister expressing indignation.

The letter "came to the prime minister's bureau, and they forwarded it directly to the security police to work with," a representative of the prime minister's office told The Baltic Times. The State Security Police are in charge of carrying out security measures for state officials, analyzing any possible threats.
The Security Police's press service confirmed that they acted according to a request by the bureau of the prime minister to check the facts and find the author of the letter.

In her letter, Vidina wrote that she was perplexed by the speech made by the parliamentary chairman and former Prime Minister Indulis Emsis dedicated to the anniversary of Latvia's declaration of independence. She concluded that current Prime Minister Kalvitis was either "a complete idiot or had been hypnotized by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin," the daily Diena reported.
She went on to note that President Vaira Vike-Freiberga's recent move blocking two amendments to national security laws have "given a muzzle to the prime minister."
Diena reported that Vidina said she often sends letters such as these to officials and nothing of this sort had happened before. When the police arrived at her door, she noted that she could not even remember the specifics of the letter in question. The security police warned her that it is unacceptable to write to the prime minister in such a manner.
Kristine Apse-Krumina, assistant to the chief of the Security Police, explained that they investigated the letter as a part of their duties regarding "letters [that have] been sent to high state officials in which there are expressed direct or indirect threats, and other hints about possible unlawful activities."

Apse-Krumina said that no actual threats to state officials were established during the course of the investigation, but that the "content of the letter reveals violation of a person's dignity and reputation."
In some media, the decision to have the security police visit the pensioner's home has been seen as an indication of the increasingly heavy-handed techniques used by the ruling coalition.
In another troubling event, Arta Giga, director of the De Facto news program and one of the most experienced television journalists on the LTV channel, was recently fired under murky circumstances. Some claim that Giga, an outspoken critic of the powers-that-be, was fired for her personal views.