Baltic Rim Monitor Articles
Pope Francis has recently paid the first official visit of the head of the Catholic Church to the Baltic countries a quarter century since Pope John Paul II’s historic visit. Pope Francis’s message, addressed to the Balts during the recent pilgrimage, aimed to strengthen their arduous efforts undertaken in order to construct their independent homelands.
This year, the parties which take part in the parliamentary elections do not aim to achieve the greatest amount of votes because the real victory will depend on the coalitions between political groupings which will enter the parliament.
Last weekend, the Finnish secret services conducted a series of detainments in the south-western part of the country. Detainments concerned people connected with the Airiston Helmi company which operates in the Turku Archipelago and is dependent on Russia.
Walmart, one of the largest American chain stores, released a collection of T-shirts with Soviet hammer and sickle symbols. One did not have to wait long for the reactions of the Lithuanian society and politicians. It was not the first time that Lithuanians protested against companies that use the hammer and sickle symbol. Is it only about the oversensibility of the Baltic people, who were the victims of both Soviet and Nazi crimes, or the lack of sensibility on the part of entrepreneurs?
Latvian police arrested a 21-year-old resident of Riga responsible for the establishment of a network of niche websites spreading fake news across Latvia. The case of the young Latvian also proves that spreading fake news does not have to be motivated by a political activity, but sometimes it is a way of making easy money on people’s curiosity.
Almost from the beginning of the 20th century, the political scene in Sweden has been dominated by the governance of one political environment – the left wing. However, the forthcoming elections in September may change the current picture of Sweden. Will Sweden undergo a political revolution and the far right take over the power?
For many years, the Russians have used both Latvian and Estonian banks for money laundering as evidenced by huge scandals that had broken out over the past few years, mainly in Riga. One of Estonia’s banks laundered several billion euros of dirty money.
A Russian passenger transport service has entered the market of the capital cities of the Baltic states. The Yandex Taxi application works almost in the same way as Uber and Taxify. The difference is that Russian taxies have an additional function: they gather and upload data about their passengers to the Russian servers.
In July, the NSPA agency and the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence have signed an agreement on the development of the military infrastructure in Lithuania. The implementation of investments will be beneficial to the Lithuanian army, but also to the forces of the alliance.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia inherited numerous Russian-speaking minorities from the Soviet Union. Despite appearances, these are not only Russians, but communities from the whole former empire. It is commonly but wrongly believed that these diasporas are politically homogenous (pro-Russian) and therefore used as a tool in the so-called hybrid warfare.
Ministries of Defence of Sweden and Finland have signed an intergovernmental agreement (Memorandum of Understanding – MOU) in Turku. Finland was represented by the Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö, whereas Sweden by the Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist. The document which aims to enhance cooperation between the countries does not entail the development of the mutual assistance system.
The Lithuanian parliament has ratified an amendment to the Law on Provision of Information to the Public. Changes in law are the next stage of preventing the Russian media broadcasts from exerting an influence on the Lithuanian society. The amendment provides for the translation of radio and TV programmes longer than 1.5 hours into the Lithuanian language.
Three Baltic states, Poland and the European Commission signed an agreement in Brussels on the synchronisation of the electrical grid in the region. The long-term programme of connecting the three Baltic states to the continental system has accelerated. The synchronisation should be realised by Poland until 2025.
The European Union is to realise 17 projects within the framework of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), a mechanism adopted at the end of 2017. Lithuania will be responsible for the project regarding the establishment of Rapid Reaction Teams and mutual assistance in cyber security.