On October 6th this year, Latvians take to the polls as part of their 4 yearly elections. With 100 seats available, it is a chance for another populist & right leaning party to try and redress some of the problems faced by European countries and their desire to self destruct. With Germany currently experiencing a fight back against mass immigration & Sweden also soon getting the chance to make a difference, Latvia is also trying to keep its culture & heritage intact.
Since becoming completely independent in 1991, the main worry was their Russian neighbours making a comeback, however like every other country in Europe, the other concern is visitors from the third world & the problems they bring with them. In 2016, Latvia began a ban on the burqa as it undermines culture & security, this despite reports that only 3 people wore them in the country.
One party hoping to increase its 17 seats this October, is the National Alliance. I spoke to a member of the party, Dace Kalnina, about the party, herself and what the mood is like ahead of the election.
So, for those that are not aware, tell us a bit about the National Alliance?
The so called Third Latvian National Awakening began in the late 1980’s, starting with the activities of small human-right defence group Helsinki-86 and a bit later formed mass Latvian National Independence Movement (LNNK). LNNK united with the nationalist party “For Fatherland and Freedom” in early 1990’s. In 2000, the youth nationalist organisation “All for Latvia!” was established. It was more active in the streets, but became a political party in 2006. In 2010, these 3 organisations emerged in what we know nowadays as National Alliance “All for Latvia!” – “For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK” (NA), which is parliamentary party and one of the members of leading coalition.
You’re currently the 4th largest party in the Latvian Parliament, do you think that will increase this coming October?
I am not so sure about that, as there are few newly established parties, which mainly focus on so called protest electorate and seem to do it successfully. In fact, our electorate is quite stable, which is not a common situation in the landscape of Latvian politics. Those are mainly people, who vote because of their ideological views, so they are not an easy prey for populists (in the negative view of this term). But it seems, that a big part of the electorate of several other parties, including one of the coalition parties, will be divided among the new players. Therefore it is difficult to predict the final proportions.
When you speak to residents, what are the main concerns they bring up? Do they match those of Hungary, Poland, the UK etc?
I think, that the social issues are major concern for the people all around the world. If we are looking to the “next level” of concerns, then there are, of course, similarities with other European countries currently. Also Latvian people are worried about the immigration from regions with totally alien cultural and religious backgrounds and the fact that this process is being forced on us by supranational institutions. This makes people feel helpless and see democracy becoming a parody of itself, as elected and non-elected leaders show a total disrespect of people’s will with them sneering it as a “populism”. There are few differences though. In my opinion, Latvian people (or probably people from formerly USSR occupied countries in general) are less aware about the cultural marxism ideology and its sneaky attempts to take over all the education, media and public opinion space. On the other hand, there is a lot more natural vitality and survival instinct in our people than in the Western European societies, so it might be one of the reasons why people here cannot even imagine, that the madness offered by cultural marxism ideologists can be a real political issue. As well, for the same reason I think, that the reputation of mainstream media and (sometimes undeserved) trust in them is higher in Latvia than in Western societies with their “Lügenpresse”. And finally, the most important difference in our concerns is a concern of Russian imperialism, which Western people generally do not take seriously enough. For obvious reasons that is the question of life and death for us.
Have the party supporters increased over the past year?
The number of official members and supporters has grown. The ratings are quite stable.
Do you ever encounter any problems when you are out & about campaigning?
There are, of course, always people, who feel unsatisfied with us, but that’s not a big problem.
We have indeed very few anti-Fascists in a Western way of understanding. There are too few of them to be directly violent like they are in the West. Mainly in Latvia with the word “anti-Fascists” we recognise some Russian speaking activist organisations, funded by the Russian Federation, whose only activity is defaming the Latvian legionnaires shortly before and during the commemoration march on March 16. For this “work” they usually invite also Antifa from Western countries, but regarding their small numbers in comparison with the huge event on Latvian side, they do not dare to be violent (probably the exception would be the occurrence in 2011, when young Russian girl on protesters’ side spit in a face of old Latvian granny commemorating her fallen relatives; later liberal magazine tried to justify her actions). In recent years their activities have become less and less visible. In my opinion, also inter-ethnic violence on streets has reduced a lot.
What made you want to be part of NA, did it come late on or was it something your family has always believed in?
My parents were active supporters of Latvian Independence regaining process, just like huge part of Latvian people in the end of 1980’s and the beginning of 1990’s. They have never been active after. I came into activism with aforementioned organisation “Visu Latvijai!” in 2008. I had considered joining it earlier, but as “Mohammed did not go to a mountain, then mountain came to Mohammed” – I was invited to join by organisation leaders after an incident with a local Russian kickboxer, who attacked me for speaking Latvian (I had a summer job in a shop in that time). As I didn’t obey his threats and did not switch to the Russian language and refused to do a service for him, a few hours later he sent his companion to squeeze out 10 thousands of lats (~14 thousands euros) from me and the shop owners as a compensation for his “moral suffering”. When their demands were not satisfied, they turned to media to report this “shamelessness” against clients (they did not mention the asking of 10 thousands, of course). This report was their mistake.
Unfortunately, this humiliating Soviet heritage is still a big issue in Latvia. We have a huge, disloyal, hateful and Putin praising Soviet time incomer community, who live in a parallel reality. For this reason – to better serve the Russian imperialists – many employers discriminate against Latvian youth, who do not speak the Russian language. A lot of Latvian youth are even pushed to emigrate for this reason. Unfortunately our attempts to change a law to forbid such kind of discrimination haven’t met understanding among our coalition partners – many try to roll down this issue to a language learning problem, which it is not, of course.
Latvia is not widely reported on, particularly in the UK, what is the current situation there regarding immigration or issues with migrants?
The number of immigrants from third world countries in Latvia currently is small and not yet disturbing. Latvian nationalists, of course, were against and also organised protests against the so called “refugee quotas” in 2015, succeeding not to accept quotas, but still becoming outvoted in government in a question of “voluntary” acceptance of some number of refugees. Still, NA was successful in several immigration-related issues and has largely stood in a way of attempts to ease it. Most of the migrants removed to Latvia under this recent EC oppressed program, have already left Latvia to search for a better life in migrant-friendlier countries. A bigger problem is pseudo-universities, which import illegal guest workers in a disguise of guest-students. One of the arguments, which nationalists used to support the idea, that it is impossible for Latvia to take migrants, was already huge percentage of migrants (including 2nd and 3rd generation) due to the forced colonisation process under USSR rule. Also, the society largely resembled these EC activities regarding migration with the unpleasant memories of the similar attempts by USSR. Even rhetoric and propaganda tricks used by Soviet officials and nowadays liberals and leftists are similar, Interesting articles uncovering these parallels can be found.
Does Latvia still hold traditional values in terms of family, identity and as we have seen more of recently, gender?
I think our society is still in many ways healthier than in Western Europe. A lot of issues, which are made a norm in the West, would be unimaginable here. Unfortunately, the media space is not on the good side here, so the Overton window is slowly being moved.
Can you see a time, maybe in the next few years that other right wing parties in Europe work together to gain support?
That would be very nice. Unfortunately, I see a lot of obstacles, especially after the Russian invasion in Ukraine. Right wing parties on this side of the former iron curtain don’t see cooperation with Kremlin supporting parties possible. Unfortunately, Kremlin services have done an extremely good job by convincing a large part of Western right-wingers.
The Kremlin multicultural empire is the most Islamised capital in Europe – Moscow, which invades European nation-states, has an uncontrolled influx of Central Asian Muslim immigrants and has the highest abortion, divorce, alcoholism and murder rates, which attacks and imprisons its true nationalists for fake criminal cases.
Would NA hold a referendum on the EU, or is that something Latvians are not too bothered about at the moment?
We must admit, that the idea and project about European alliance effectively protecting European interests in the world as any separate country could never do it, is not bad at all; unfortunately, the current EU seems to be quite far of it. There are slightly different views among Latvian nationalists, but most of us understand, that in the geopolitical situation of Latvia the participating in EU is necessary if we do not want to become a “grey zone” between Europe and Russia (and we do not want to). Our official position is pro-EU, or as we call it, we are eurorealists. We are not blind and see the disadvantages, including unnecessary interfering in internal affairs and federalization attempts. In my opinion, our representative MEP does a really good job, pragmatically and intelligently criticising these disadvantages and at the same time taking part in useful activities. Latvian nationalists would support EU as the national state union.
In the current situation, we appreciate the moves of V4 countries in immigration issues. There are nationalists, including myself, who put a hope in a “third way” – larger future cooperation between the so-called Intermarium countries, if the downfall of Western Europe would not stop.
Finally, how can people outside of Latvia get involved should they wish?
First thing, I would like to express my appreciation for the work Western right-wing people do in quite harsh circumstances. I believe, that good efforts bring fruits sooner or later. About helping us – I would be very thankful, if Western people would be more cautious using Kremlin loyal sources like RT, just like we are cautious about Western mainstream media. Another good step would be to visit our country, maybe participate in some event and establish contacts to get the trustful information from local sources in future. My dream would be a grass-root level good-willing European network without the inter-mediation of prejudice, cheka or mainstream media. The short movie displaying Latvian history and NA mission in brief and simplified way can be watched .
You can follow their actions on Twitter @VL_TBLNNK and also Facebook @NacionalaApvieniba