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  • Latvian journalist: hybrid war has already begun via media
    against what he called illegal satellite television Former MVD General Ainars Pencis adds that at a minimum Russian TV channels must be closed down for at least six months Commenting on this former Latvian General Guntars Abols acknowledged that Latvia today is in a nervous situation one in which it is unclear where there is peace and where there is war given that Russia is exerting so much pressure on it and Latvia has relatively few resources with which to respond Let us be realists he says Even if we introduced obligatory military service we would not be able over the next 10 to 15 years to create armed forces capable of standing up to such an opponent who has overwhelming power in the conventional sphere not to speak of anything else Instead Latvia must work with its allies and must be prepared at the first appearance of little men without designations on the uniforms to fight No delay is possible This discussion highlights two fundamental problems which many do not want to take into consideration On the one hand Latvia does face a real and ongoing threat because of the impact of Russian media something that has been ongoing and that by failing to build a Latvian Russian language media that country has only compounded And on the other while ignoring this threat would be a mistake talking about it in any but the most careful way may have exacerbate relations between various groups and regions in Latvia and thus may unintentionally play into the hands of the Moscow authors of Russia s latest version of hybrid war in a television saturated age Indeed that may be part of their strategy Comments Related Articles Moscow lacks available forces to seize and hold Baltics Estonian defence expert Searching for energy

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/latvian_journalist__hybrid_war_has_already_begun_via_media/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Belarus is "the key to the Baltic countries" for Putin: Shevtsova
    because of the importance of Belarus as a transit route to the West one far more important than Ukraine and as a place from which it can put pressure on the Baltic countries Without Minsk in its corner Moscow would find that very difficult to do Shevtsova adds that what Moscow is doing in Ukraine now is an effort to intimidate Belarus and keep it in line by reminding Lukashenka that the same thing could happen to him if he is not careful But at the same time she says Russia and the Kremlin are completely uninterested in territorial acquisitions Moscow does not want to assume the burdens that would be involved in the absorption of new territories within its own borders she suggests It simply wants to show that it can take such actions and then force those against whom such actions are directed to pay the bill or to get others in the West to do so Crimea is the exception which proved the rule From Moscow s point of view Crimea always was Soviet Russian Its annexation simply codified what those in the Russian capital believed was in fact already the case But even its absorption has proved to be extremely expensive Moscow doesn t need or want more such burdens Shevtsova says Comments Related Articles Moscow lacks available forces to seize and hold Baltics Estonian defence expert Searching for energy independence in the Baltic forests The challenge of Russia s decline Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles LIIA examines NATO relations with Central Asia Discussing the EU and Russia s soft power in the Baltic States and the Eastern Neighbourhood The Russians are coming to occupy the Baltic States At the faultlines of Ukraine s war

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/belarus_is__the_key_to_the_baltic_countries__for_putin__shevtsova/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Gotland: the Baltic's weak link?
    military presence there In fact Gotland no longer has a regiment During the Cold War we had an armoured brigade on Gotland notes Bo Hugemark a Swedish strategist and retired colonel Now we only have a Home Guard battalion At the least we d need air defence and tanks As a matter of fact there are 14 tanks stored there but with no crews As a non NATO member Sweden can of course pursue whatever military policy it fancies But given that it would rely on NATO assistance if attacked it would do well to go the extra mile in support of NATO s collective defence It s not that Sweden s supreme commander Sverker Goranson doesn t want to post a regiment on Gotland He simply lacks the money to do so and has instead suggested that forces can be flown in from other regiments in case of an attack The Swedish Air Force and Navy would also do their best to stave off an attacker but should that attacker happen to be you they d be facing a superior adversary The rest of the article can be read here on the World Affairs Journal The writer is Newsweek s Europe correspondent currently with a strong focus on security issues She joined Newsweek following a visiting fellowship at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University Follow her on twitter elisabethbraw Comments Related Articles Moscow lacks available forces to seize and hold Baltics Estonian defence expert Searching for energy independence in the Baltic forests The challenge of Russia s decline Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles LIIA examines NATO relations with Central Asia Discussing the EU and Russia s soft power in the Baltic States and

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/gotland__the_baltic_s_weak_link_/ (2016-02-13)
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  • SMALL STEP FOR CHINA - GIANT LEAP FOR THE BALTICS?
    policy makers and company owners looking to find new potential trade partners for their products The Baltic States should be thinking about the Chinese market It s a big market and there are a lot of opportunities there continues Vanags Close trade relations however cannot be developed overnight The China market is very big and extremely difficult says Artis Kampars Chairman of the Latvia China Business Council and former Latvian minister of Economics There are high level barriers and large amounts of high level bureaucracy But Kampars continues both of which are beginning to open up right now A number of those barriers had begun to creak open in 2009 with the creation of the modern Silk Road known also as the Northern Distribution Network Primarily built in order to supply military logistic supplies during NATO s war in Afghanistan the Northern Distribution Network links the port of Riga to the Afghan city of Termez passing through Russia Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan This route however even if it is faster is more for the benefit of Chinese companies that own a large number of shares in the maritime staging posts of the New Silk Road For example the Silk Road continues down to the Port of Djibouti Lamu port in Kenya and Gwadar port in Pakistan and in each of these ports Chinese companies are already highly influential It is with good reason that China is interested in promoting the establishment of the New Silk Road as a major global trading route Kampars however finds a number of problems with the land Silk Road Economic Belt I don t see the arguments why these companies and these ports which are handling these goods should send them through Central Asia there are serious problems in that region Wider Chinese Influence Chinese investors have already become well entrenched in the Baltic States in a number of sectors and are using the region as a springboard for expansion For instance GRG Banking Equipment China s largest producer of ATM machines recently made its first big investment in Lithuania establishing a branch in Vilnius in March 2012 The company which has a 23 percent share of the Chinese market will use the Lithuanian capital as the location for its European headquarters In Latvia a great deal of the initial attractiveness for Chinese investors came from the possibility for foreign investors to get a residency permits through the purchase of real estate or through business or financial investment When in possession of this document Chinese nationals can then travel freely all throughout the EU However Latvia risks losing out to Cyprus in this respect because the minimum cost of a Latvian residency permit has gone up making a Cypriot residency permit a much cheaper option and with better weather thrown into the bargain Before September 2014 the required price for a Latvian residency permit was 70 000 euros but amendments to the laws by the Saeima Latvia s parliament increased it to 250 000 euros Currently Latvian real estate represents 40 percent of China s total investments in Latvia The higher residency permit price could lower this percentage though it is uncertain how this will affect the other 40 percent of Chinese investments in Latvia the construction industry Constructive relations According to my information there are two real projects which are more or less moving forward Riga free port who are negotiating with a Chinese construction company to build some port infrastructure and there are some logistic discussions about the communication networks between Riga free port and the capitals of the Baltic Sea region explains Kampars As Europe s northermost warm water ports Riga could prove a strategic investment if the icecaps in the artic recede further and the Northern Passage trade route a maritime passage across the arctic sea which links China with Europe is developped But in recent months it is exports that have gained more prominence in the media the search for new markets has gained more urgency as the standoff between Russia and the West drags on and the Baltic States have begun to feel the adverse effects of economic sanctions and a weaker rouble One of the main openings for Baltic exports could be in agricultural products although Vanags also mentions the possibility that the Baltics will export education and vocational training to China as well Chinese consumers are distrustful of their own locally sourced food products and now that the growing Chinese middle classes have greater purchasing power they are increasingly willing to look abroad for alternative sources Despite this it is still a difficult undertaking that requires government support and close cultural understanding to get going If Baltic agricultural producers manage to export more to China it should be considered as a remarkable success for them says Czes Tubilewicz a specialist in EU Asia trade policy at the University of Adelaide In mid January Estonian Minister of Agriculture Ivari Padar and Niu Dun the Deputy Minister for Agriculture of the People s Republic of China met in Estonia to sign a cooperation agreement for 2015 and 2016 Tallinn is currently exporting fish products and frozen berries to China and is also willing to enter the dairy and meat product market It just needs the General Certification from the General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine AQSIQ a certification that Estonia does not currently possess although Latvia does To help give Estonian exports a welcome boost the Estonian Foreign Minister Keit Pentus Rosimannus flew to Beijing to unveil a chic quirkily shaped building appropriately called Tetris which will now serve as Estonia s Embassy in China China is a very important partner for us in Asia with whom we wish to promote both trade and cultural and educational cooperation said Estonian Foreign Minister Keit Pentus Rosimannus speaking at a recent press conference Fresh emphasis is being put on cultural exchanges Currently there is only a small percentage of people learning Chinese in the Baltic States but this number is

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/small_step_for_china_-_giant_leap_for_the_baltics_/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Arts & Events guide
    Riga and Saint Petersburg The world premiere of Alexander Raskatov s full version of Byzantine Rite will be a totally unique music event in Estonia Shortly after the concert in Tallinn the work will be conducted by Andres Mustonen in Helsinki and in Riga performed by Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Latvian National Symphony Orchestra The soloist of Rachmaninoff s piano concerto is the pianist Boris Berezovsky who is especially valued in the world s leading concert halls for his interpretations of Russian romantic piano music Concert series The Ringing Masterpieces in Kadriorg The concert introduces Konstantin Korovin s painting Poem 19 00 Narva Cultural Centre GENEVA SATURDAY JAN 30 Rinaldo opera 19 00 Tallinn ENO State Choir Latvija Hortus Musicus conductor Andres Mustonen 16 00 Tallinn St John s Church Nystedt Tavener Kaumann Eshenvalds Monteverdi SUNDAY JAN 31 La Bayadere ballet 17 00 Tallinn ENO MONDAY FEB 1 Giora Feidman Trio 19 00 St Petersburg St John s Church Giora Feidman clarinet Guido Jager double bass Enrique Ugarte accordion Programme of Klezmer music Almost every year MustonenFest has staged a concert of one of the true legends of music world This concert presents the Argentinian clarinet legend Giora Feidman Feidman is a brilliant jazz artist who performs classical Latin American and naturally klezmer music His concerts and direct emotional interaction with the audience will warm hearts break down prejudices and change attitudes TUESDAY FEB 2 Georgian Sukhishvili National Ballet 19 00 Tartu Vanemuine Concert Hall WEDNESDAY FEB 3 My Fair Lady operetta musical 19 00 Tallinn ENO PLANETS Estonian National Symphony Orchestra 18 00 Cultural Centre Geneva Narva The Planets an HD Odyssey a collaboration between Duncan Copp a director known for many films on or about space and NASA will be shown with Gustav Holst s magnum opus The Planets providing the audience with a spectacular performance based on the latest discoveries in space With their lavish orchestration and memorable melodies the musical portraits of planets created by Holst have fascinated audiences for over a century In addition to its success on concert stages his music has been featured on countless Hollywood film soundtracks After the premiere of one of Holst and Copp s collaborative pieces The New York Times wrote Photographs from rovers and satellites radar images and computer generated graphics were combined to give the audience the impression of circling individual planets and sometimes flying over their awesomely barren landscapes British newspaper The Scotsman called this symbiosis of music and film this multimedia mix a marriage made in heaven The first part of the concert is dedicated to one of the masters of British music Benjamin Britten Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten composed for string orchestra and bell is one of the first works ever written by Arvo Part in the tintinnabuli style Britten wrote his famous The Young Person s Guide to the Orchestra for the London Symphony Orchestra s educational documentary Instruments of the Orchestra with the aim of teaching young people to listen and

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/arts___events_guide_84719943156a934b796f83/ (2016-02-13)
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  • LIIA examines NATO relations with Central Asia
    and NATO s partnership with the Central Asian countries The region faces a number of challenges redeployment of NATO troops from Afghanistan the evolution of new and existing challenges related to society radicalization terrorism drugs organized crime and border management Participants of the discussion Andris Sprūds LIIA Igors Apokins Ministry of Foreign Affairs Latvia Nargis Kassenova KIMEP University Kazakhstan Nazokat Kasymova Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies UN Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for Central Asia Uzbekistan Neil John Melvin Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Sweden Józef Lang Centre for Eastern Studies Poland Māris Andžāns LIIA The livestream of the discussion is available below Or can be viewed here Venue and time 23 November 2015 13 00 15 00 Hotel Bergs Elizabetes street 83 85 Riga 5th Floor Glass Hall Comments Related Articles Searching for energy independence in the Baltic forests The challenge of Russia s decline A seat at the table Berzins Zatlers and Vike Freiberga Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles Discussing the EU and Russia s soft power in the Baltic States and the Eastern Neighbourhood The Russians are coming to occupy the Baltic States At the faultlines of Ukraine s war Moscow lacks available forces to seize and hold Baltics Estonian defence expert Subscribe A subscription to The Baltic Times is a cost effective way of staying in touch with the latest Baltic news and views enabling you full access from anywhere with an Internet connection Subscribe Now About The Baltic Times The Baltic Times is an independent monthly newspaper that covers latest political economic business and cultural events in Estonia Latvia and Lithuania Born of a merger between The Baltic Independent and The Baltic Observer in 1996 The Baltic Times continues to bring

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/liia_examines_nato_relations_with_central_asia/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Discussing the EU and Russia’s “soft power” in the Baltic States and the Eastern Neighbourhood
    in Russia s and EU s policies and how these are perceived in the Baltic States and Eastern Partners Black Sea Region The keynote address at the event will be delivered by Lolita Čigāne Parliament of Latvia while the debate will feature Rafal Sadowski Centre for Eastern Studies Poland Andris Sprūds Latvian Institute of International Affairs Latvia Iryna Klymenko Institute for Strategic Studies New Ukraine Ukraine Emmet Tuohy International Centre for Defence and Security Estonia Jakub Korejba Centre for International Journalism and Research Russia and Andis Kudors Centre for East European Policy Studies Latvia The discussion will be moderated by Mārtiņš Daugulis Latvian Institute of International Affairs Latvia The event is dedicated to the presentation of the book of the same name which examines projection of soft power by the EU and Russia having a special focus on Ukraine Moldova and Georgia among the EU s Eastern Partners It also examines the experience of the Baltic States which despite being full fledged members of the EU still remain an area of interaction and contestation The book will be freely available at the event The livestream video of the event will be available to watch here Comments Related Articles Searching for energy independence in the Baltic forests The challenge of Russia s decline A seat at the table Berzins Zatlers and Vike Freiberga Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles LIIA examines NATO relations with Central Asia The Russians are coming to occupy the Baltic States At the faultlines of Ukraine s war Moscow lacks available forces to seize and hold Baltics Estonian defence expert Subscribe A subscription to The Baltic Times is a cost effective way of staying in touch with the latest Baltic news and views enabling you full access

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/discussing_the_eu_and_russia___s____soft_power____in_the_baltic_states_and_the_eastern_neighbourhood/ (2016-02-13)
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  • The Russians are coming to occupy the Baltic States
    a policy idea to carrying it out A more sustained analysis of contemporary Russia suggests one inevitable conclusion despite the perceived closed character of this country it is not true one can find out many things about Russia from public sources given consistent analysis the first stage in any project it embarks on always begins with information preparation One can easily ascertain that this was the case before the annexation of Crimea or Russia s aggression against Ukraine in general This was also the pattern of the campaign against oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky which ended in his imprisonment There are more examples but these should be enough to make the point Whose ideas are these But even if we agree that the onset of a public discussion about the necessity of Baltic occupation alone is a sufficient sign of threat we should still look closer at the author of this analysis Ishchenko is neither someone unknown nor inconsequential although he used to be presented as a Ukrainian political analyst rather than Russian To better understand whose ideas he is voicing we only have to look at the platforms that publish his analyses and other experts he shares his bylines with In Russia it is hardly a secret that Ishchenko is a close associate of the Izborsk Club and an expert on its ideas He is therefore far from a lone voice He is a spokesman for well known figures like Alexander Dugin Alexander Prokhanov retired General Leonid Ivashov and Russian politicians who stand behind them Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin President Putin s administration chief Sergey Ivanov and the like From analysis to action To return to Ishchenko s piece itself it is important to note that his analysis is a herald of a campaign very similar to the one that preceded the attack on Ukraine Deducing from this pattern we should expect to see more analyses like that appearing on public platforms after which Putin will receive a classified policy paper on his desk drafted by some Russian strategic research institute or a thinktank with an authoritative analysis urging to take tangible action much like in the case of Crimean annexation or aggression in eastern Ukraine At this point Putin s decision will probably depend solely on the balance of power within Russia s political elite or perceived costs of such an adventure Granted the Russian political elite is still far from united even on the issue of the government s massive military spending amidst general economic strain The budget for defence rearming and modernizing the army could be an important indication of Russia s aggressive plans One must admit that the so called Russian liberals represented in this case by Finance Minister Anton Siluanov or even Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev keep insisting that Russia can hardly afford the planned military spending Even Russia s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies said in its report that Russia s rearmament programme was in crisis Bearing this in mind as

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/the_russians_are_coming_to_occupy_the_baltic_states/ (2016-02-13)
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