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Latvian parties took part in sports games organized by scandalous Russian politician

Vladimir Zhirinovsky/flickr.co/ Moscow-Live.ru.
On Lāčplēsis Day, 11 November, certain members of the Saeima from Harmony party and Union of Greens and Farmers participated in sports games organized by Jaunā līga association supported by the Russian parliament. The initiator of those games is Dmitry Svistsev, a member of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party led by scandalous Russian State Duma politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Latvijas Avīze writes.

The sports games have been around since 2009. Participating politicians play mini soccer, tennis, badminton, table tennis, billiards and chess. Prior to the annexation of Crimea by Russia, this event was attended by Unity members Ainārs Latkovskis, Dzintars Zaķis, National Alliance member Romāns Naudiņš, UGF members Uldis Augulis, Dana Reizniece-Ozola and Rihards Eigims. Before them, members of the People’s Party Mareks Segliņš and Jānis Eglītis took part in those games.

Saeima’s Sports sub-committee was informed of the sports games in Moscow. Jānis Upenieks, head of the committee, said that he had informed members of the sub-committee about the event. He said he let deputies decide on their own. «Invitations are received every year. It is my duty to inform my colleagues. I am well-aware of Foreign Affairs Ministry’s opinion of Russia and its politician. I also do not participate in those games. To accept or not to accept is in the hands of deputies. I don’t have the right to force people. I always reference Foreign Affairs Ministry’s opinion on this matter,» said Upenieks.

This year Harmony political party’s members Ivans Ribakovs, Mihails Zemļinskis, Vitālijs Orlovs decided to participate in games. They were also accompanied by UGF member Jānis Klaužs. Latvian politicians earned third place in sports games, Belarus won second place and Russia won first place.

Ribakovs claims he and his colleagues paid for the trip to Moscow from their own pocket. When asked if Latvian deputies should participate in such events under the current geopolitical situation, Ribakovs said: «Russia is our neighbour, and this is normal for us to communicate with one another.»


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