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Sprūds: relations will Russia will not improve until presidential elections there

Andris Sprūds/youtube.com.
Improvement of relations with Russia is expected to come along with elections of a new president in that country, said Andris Sprūds, director of Latvia’s Foreign Policy Institute, in an interview to Rīta panorama.

He admits that everyone wants tension to go down. Still, there is no real reason to relax. Russia has already voiced a specific proposal for the improvement of relations with USA. Nevertheless, tension will continue and no improvements are expected to come at least until the presidential elections in Russia in 2018.

«The bad blood between Russia and the west will not go away. The half-cold war will continue. There will be matters in which we do not understand each other and there will be ones in which we will look for common ground,» said Sprūds.

He added that the information space is the only place in which confrontation will remain between the two countries, and this is better that real conflicts.

On Thursday, 14 September, Russia and Belarus will commence the active stage of joint military exercises Zapad 2017. The active stage will continue until 20 September, as reported by Latvian Security Police.

SP believes the active stage can be considered the culmination of civil-military and preparation activities that have been in active realization the whole year.

SP intends to pay increased attention to military simulation games in relation to these exercises. Authorities also ask residents to be vigilant during the active stage of Zapad 2017 military exercises and report suspicious and, possibly, military activity to 67 208 964 or dpdd@dp.gov.lv.

Defence Ministry expects cyber operations and information operations to be realized against Latvia during Zapad 2017 military exercises.

Garisons sometimes gets the impression that Russian media may try to create misinformation about these military exercises and try to show that Baltic States are terrified and live in fear. «We are neither scared nor live in fear. Security situation in relation to these exercises is an everyday thing for Baltic States with which residents have to live with, and we have to invest money in our defensive capabilities,» says Garisons.

«We expect cyber and information operations being carried out against Latvia during exercises. We can expect security risks. Of course, we expect direct demonstration of military forces close to the border, but we can expect the aforementioned operations as well.»

Garisons did not say how Defence Ministry will act in response to such operations. A look at the information space reveals that Russia performs such operations on a regular basis. «Should be expect anything new? We can only guess, but it is known to us that Russia does have a so-called information and cyber force. It would be odd if these forces are not used in Zapad 2017 exercises,» added the ministry’s state secretary.


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