Moldova Puts "Borders On Full Alert" As Latvia Admits "Society Has Fear"

Tyler Durden's picture

The activity across the entire Eastern European region is starting to rattle the nerves of more than just the well-meaning sanctionsers in Washington. Today saw Moldova:

  • *MOLDOVA PUTS ITS BORDERS ON ALERT CITING UKRAINE UNREST

And Latvia:

  • "The society has fear... We know what it means to be under Russia."

Both nations are also extremely divided along ethnic Russian lines and leadership is gravely concerned that any further gains by a pro-Russian force in Ukraine will either a) spill over physically into their nations; and/or b) instill confidence in the deeply divided nations' Russian-speakers.

 

First from Moldova, things are getting serious (as we have noted before of the region of Transnistria):

  • *MOLDOVA PUTS ITS BORDERS ON ALERT CITING UKRAINE UNREST
  • *MOLDOVA SAYS IT SUPPORTS UKRAINIAN TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY
  • *MOLDOVA SAYS ITS LAW ENFORCEMENT WILL WORK TO ENSURE ORDER

Via AP,

 

Moldova's government says it has placed the landlocked country's borders on alert amid unrest in neighboring Ukraine.

 

 

Top Moldovan leaders announced the move Monday in a joint statement after Ukrainian forces deployed an elite unit to the Ukrainian port of Odessa.

 

President Nicolae Timofti, Prime Minister Iurie Leanca and Parliament speaker Igor Coreman said in the statement that security forces were ordered "to take all necessary actions to ensure public order inside the country."

 

It made no reference to any specific threat.

 

The three met behind closed doors to discuss the situation in Ukraine. Moldova has 1,500 Russian troops stationed in a separatist republic of Trans-Dniester which recently asked to be united with Russia.

And then there is its heavily Russian Baltic neigbor which, as WSJ reports, is sharply divided...

The U.S. ambassador was trying to instill confidence in a country growing nervous. Addressing Latvian troops at this large military base last week, Mark Pekala pointed to nearby paratroopers from the 173rd Infantry Brigade and said the U.S. was locked "plecu pie pleca," or "shoulder to shoulder" with its North Atlantic Treaty Organization partner.

 

It was a valiant effort. But in an interview after the speech, Latvia's new defense minister, Raimonds Vejonis, offered a more sober view of the mind-set here. "The society has fear," said Mr. Vejonis, who was a biology teacher when Latvia was still under Soviet rule. "We know what it means to be under Russia."

 

 

A quarter of the population is ethnic Russian and nearly 40% of its people speak Russian as their native tongue. That gives particular resonance here to Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, and anxiety about separatist violence in other parts of Ukraine. On Sunday in Odessa, a cosmopolitan port city on the Black Sea coast, the emergence of a pro-Ukraine civilian resistance group pointed to a widening civil conflict with pro-Russian activists.

 

In Latvia, municipal leaders are often labeled as leaning strongly toward Russian interests. What's more, a small minority of its people have refused citizenship amid naturalization hurdles.

 

A chief concern of the government—which is facing parliamentary elections in October—is the rise of what some officials call "provocateurs," people in the country believed to be spreading antigovernment sentiment on behalf of the Kremlin. For now, government leaders say the nation is "stable" and a new poll indicates the ruling Unity party gained substantial support among voters, with many saying they never want to compromise their status in the European Union.

And costs are adding up quickly - not for Russia or the West...

According to one televised interview, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma said the West's sanctions, and countermeasures by Russia, could cost Latvia up to "hundreds of millions of euros."

 

Concerned, she has added closed-door discussions about those impacts to her weekly cabinet meeting. "It would be hard to find a country with greater relative exposure," said her economics minister Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis.

But...

Even those in government, however, say the nation has a long way to go in bridging a cultural divide that has lingered for a quarter of a century and any cracks evident in the light of Ukraine run far deeper than the current crisis.

"What Ukraine reminds us of is that there are things that cannot be swept under the carpet," said Ilmars Latkovskis, the chairman of the Latvian parliament's social cohesion committee

And then there's this!!!!

The government denies any discrimination, but many Latvians still see Russians as invaders and carriers of the Soviet system; decades ago, the Soviet Union sent thousands here as part of an industrialization movement. "There's a saying here that a 'good Russian is a dead Russian,'" said Elisabete Krivcova, a 35-year-old human rights attorney and political activist. Sayings like that have long pressured ethnic Russians to bury their heritage, said Ms. Krivcova, an ethnic Russian who says she naturalized at a young age to pursue law.

But the nation is bitterly divided...

As the government cracks down more on so-called provocateurs, Nils Usakovs, the Russian-speaking mayor of Riga and leader of Harmony Center, said he worries it runs the risk of isolating the large ethnic Russian population.

 

"This may lead to further radicalization unfortunately, because that will propel the whole thing about nationalism from both sides."

Compared to...

Andrejs Andrejevs, an ethnic Russian living in a small town in the Latgale region, pointing to a common belief here that life on the fringe of the EU is better than being a subject of Moscow.

 

"Even we who live near Russia don't want to unite with Russia," says the young manager at a wood yard. "We have gotten used to a European way of life with freedom of movement."

So - who's next?