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Ambassador: Russia’s exports to its own ports show clear signs of political elements

Māris Riekstiņš/flickr.com/МИД.
Russia has made a decision to develop capacity of its own ports and its own infrastructure. There are major signs of political elements in this decision, says Latvian ambassador in Russia Māris Riekstiņš.

He points to doubts about this decision’s economic motivations for Russia and just how much it was politically motivated. Nevertheless, he believes there is a major political element.

«If Latvian ports, carriers and railway offer a competitive tariff and prices, businessmen will pick the cheapest road, not the more expensive one, only in the event of some specific initiative or patriotic feelings,» says the ambassador.

Riekstiņš notes: «It is currently clear that Russia has picked a path towards developing its ports and reorienting exports to own ports. Confirmation for this decision has been heard from Russian and Latvian politicians».

«We have to keep this in mind. Our Transport Ministry currently works with foreign partners in CIS, China and other Asian countries to attract cargoes,» adds the diplomat.

He believes western nations’ sanctions against Russia have made it clear to Latvian businessmen that there are remaining business opportunities in Russia, but they are associated with certain risks. At the same time, the diplomat points out that EU sanctions and counter sanctions did not come unexpectedly for Latvian companies.

The former Latvian ambassador to NATO explained that in the 90s, Yurij Luzhkov, who was then the mayor of Moscow, made a number of announcements after a protect outside Riga City Council and proposed boycotting Latvian goods. Because of that, Latvian sprats and other goods remained boycotted in Russia for several years. It was a shock for businessmen. Nevertheless, other markets or ways of entering the Russian market were found later on.

«This example means this situation with sanctions and counter sanctions is nothing new for Latvian businessmen. Some companies have managed to find alternative markets. Businessmen have to decide – put all eggs in one basket or diversify markets,» Riekstiņš says.


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