Latvia accused Russia of collecting data on the work of state institutions amid a pandemic

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The Latvian State Security Service accuses Russia and other “unfriendly countries” of taking advantage of the coronavirus situation to study the work of state institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to understand their ability to respond in the event of a potential military confrontation. This is stated in the open part of the SSS report for 2020, posted on Monday, March 22, on the department’s website.

As stated in the report, the coronavirus pandemic has created for the republic not only challenges, but also “unprecedented opportunities” for the special services of “unfriendly countries.”

“The actions of the responsible authorities during a pandemic demonstrate the country’s readiness to cope with crisis situations, and, having studied their actions at this time, the intelligence services of unfriendly countries can identify and predict the response capabilities of various departments in the event of a potential military confrontation,” – said in the open part of the report departments.

According to the country’s State Security Service, last year the Russian special services “also focused on topical issues in the context of COVID-19.”

The report notes that the collection of information about the work of the activities of Latvian institutions was carried out by foreign special services mainly remotely. This method was used due to the numerous restrictions on physical activity amid the pandemic.

In early February, the Latvian National Council for Electronic Media announced the ban in the country of rebroadcasting 16 TV channels that broadcast in Russian, including REN TV Baltic and NTV Mir Baltic.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Izvestia that the EU needs to think about imposing sanctions against Riga, which by its actions violates freedom of speech and international legal foundations.

On January 15, journalist Alla Berezovskaya said that a real persecution was announced against the workers of the Russian media in Latvia. The day before, the former editor of the portal Baltnews said that the Latvian authorities are using repressive methods to restrict freedom of the media, clearing the information field, trying to remove an alternative opinion. The houses of both journalists were searched.