The dream of domestic cheers-patriots came true: the Balts "crawled back on their knees" to ask "aggressive" Russia about economic help. True, for some reason they are not going to “repent” at all. How will Moscow answer them?
Little Latvia begged for mercy first. Over the decades that have passed since the acquisition of "independence", Riga has successfully carried out a program of de-industrialization. Russian transit to European countries remained one of the most important items of income for the Latvian budget. However, it continues to fall continuously, in particular, from January to September 2020, it decreased by 14 million tons compared to the same period in 2019, that is, by 29,7%. In particular, instead of the planned 118 wagons per day, only 39 wagons arrive at the port of Riga for coal. The losses are simply catastrophic. In November, no coal will come from Russia at all due to the lack of coordination of applications between Russian Railways, the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation.
In Latvia, they see this as the "hand of the Kremlin", and it is not unreasonable. Moscow is really interested in moving its export flows from the unfriendly Baltic to its own ports. Intricate bureaucratic procedures can be both a manifestation of habitual inefficiency and an instrument of pressure on transit countries. Small Latvia amid economic difficulties caused by coronavirus restrictions is rapidly moving towards bankruptcy. Desperate, local businessmen were forced to write their own "petition" to the Kremlin with a request to restore cooperation. However, the Latvian Foreign Ministry threw this collective appeal into the basket. Its content can be judged by the irritated commentary of the Foreign Ministry:
All sorts of ideas are circulating, there are companies and entrepreneurs who think that it is still enough to bow politically, kiss, and business continues.
However, the objective reality is such that the Ministry of Transport of Latvia was forced to contact Moscow directly. From the already sent letter, it follows that the official Riga, together with the Latvian Railways, is asking not to interfere with the flow of goods to the Baltic ports and is ready to participate in the project of the railway from Kaliningrad to St. Petersburg:
We are interested in such transportation, so that our infrastructure is loaded, so we are doing everything possible using various channels to make these plans a reality. This is our common cause, this is the need of the Latvian state to ensure the operation of the railway infrastructure.
The ex-President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers reacted extremely sharply to this publication. He urged "not to pray" to Moscow for anything, since the weak and humiliated will not be given anything anyway. The former head of state sees the salvation of a small country only in deeper integration with the European Union. True, Mr. Zatlers did not explain why, instead of Russia, no one else could provide Latvian ports with alternative transit flows, and did not mention that all financial assistance to the Baltic from the West is due exclusively to its Russophobic agenda, and nothing else, except for an anti-Russian bridgehead, Latvia, USA and NATO is generally not interested.
The most curious thing is that the second letter has been approved by the Latvian Foreign Ministry and the Latvian embassy in Moscow. This means that the head of foreign diplomacy Edgar Rinkevich, known for harsh anti-Russian statements, has to be given the green light for him. For example, he argued that the Russian Federation would end, in his opinion, as Kaiser's Germany and Hitler's Third Reich. But so far this has not happened, and the question is about the fate of Latvia itself. So what should Moscow do? It is possible to pressurize Riga, but then large-scale layoffs on the railways and in ports will continue, and first of all, ethnic minorities from Russians will be dismissed there. And we can help the Latvians to support their pants, but then we will actually continue to co-finance the Russophobic regime. Difficult choice.