Baltic Rim Monitor Articles
Yandex, a Russian IT baron, extends its influences to another EU market. Three Baltic states in which the Yandex.Taxi app was launched in the summer were joined by the fourth EU country. On November 9, first Yandex cars entered the streets of Helsinki. On the Finnish market, Russians operate under the name of “Yango”.
The Minister of the Defence Jussi Niinistö unfavourably commented on the concept of creating a joint European army. In the interview for the Finnish STT news agency, he criticised the establishment of the joint European army promoted by France and Germany. Presumably, the project is not coherent with the Finnish security policy.
Although the left-wing Saskaņa party won the October elections to the Latvian Parliament, it still remains in opposition in the new political arrangement. President Raimonds Vējonis entrusted the leader of the conservatives with the task of forming a new government.
Trident Juncture 2018 manoeuvres which ended on November 7 were not only the biggest military exercises of NATO since the end of the Cold War, but they were also the most subject ones to Russian provocations. The proximity of borders of this country induced many dangerous activities of Russian vessels and aircraft during several days of exercises.
The case of the Airiston Helmi company and the purchase of real property in the Turku Archipelago show what might be the greatest weakness of Finland if a potential conflict with Russia breaks out. It all boils down to maritime transport.
Ämari Air Base is becoming one of the main NATO military bases in the Baltic states. Every year, Americans channel considerable financial resources into the base located near Tallinn, within the EDI programme. Thanks to the systematic growth of the potential and development of the infrastructure, the base may serve more and more allied aircraft.
NATO’s military exercises are currently being held in Norway. For years, NATO has not conducted joint manoeuvres on such a scale. This year, 29 countries participate in the exercises. The scale of the operation could not have been unnoticed by the Russian Federation, which announced that they would conduct simultaneous exercises on the seacoast of Norway.
Red Flag exercises, one of the most important air-combat training exercises of the U.S. Air Force, were held in Alaska and Nevada. About 100 aircraft and 1,500 airmen from the United States and other allied countries were stationed at Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Lithuanian Ministry of Internal Affairs developed a project in case of a serious accident in the Belarusian nuclear power plant in Astravyets. The strategy provides for the protection and information for people, evacuation plans, iodine prophylaxis and methods to limit the access to contaminated food and water.
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.