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MOSCOW, March 23 (Itar-Tass) —— The chairman of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, Alexei Pushkov, foresees the possibility of economic sanctions and visa restrictions towards representatives of the Latvian authorities for Riga’s policy of heroization of Nazism and for the preservation of the status of non-citizens.
“I believe such measures would be reasonable,” he said, when asked by other legislators about the need for an embargo on oil and gas export from Russia to the Baltic states.
He said the international affairs committee was prepared to draft specific measures. However, Pushkov added that for that a joint position with the executive authorities must be developed first.
“If the State Duma issues such an instruction to us, we shall be prepared to do this job,” Pushkov said.
At the same time he remarked that the possibility sanctions against the Baltic states must be calculated from the standpoint of the priorities of state interests.
“Here we venture into a rather complex sphere of the priority of our interests. Unconditionally, the protection of our compatriots is a priority interest. But it should be correlated with other interests that we have,” the committee’s chief said.
In all cases when such issues are considered “we must look at the feasibility of shifting to a conflict diplomacy.”
“Should we embark on a path similar to the one the European Union has embarked on in relations with Belarus, we shall in fact declare a political war on the country whose behavior we do not like. The EU is waging a political war on Belarus,” Pushkov said.
For his part, the coordinator of the social-conservative club of the United Russia party, called Civil Platform, Igor Igoshin, recalled the March 1 meeting of the club, which discussed the outcome of the referendum on the future of the Russian language in Latvia. “The conclusion is obvious – the rights of hundreds of thousands of our compatriots there are really violated. This is a fact,” he said.
“Of course, we do not like the problems the Russian language population east of Russia’s borders is confronted with. There are millions of people!” Igoshin said, adding that according to experts’ estimates up to 6% of the European Union’s residents were Russian speakers. “All we are pressing for is the application of all human rights standards without an exception to the Russian-language population of the European Union countries. The millions of such people have the right to expect their interests should be protected just as the interests of the other residents,” the legislator said. He is certain that in the European Union there exist problems with the protection of human rights, “so steps like today’s statement by the State Duma are crucial.”
The State Duma on Friday was discussing a draft statement on the violations of human rights in Latvia and the impermissibility of the heroization of Nazism.