- January 5, 2001
- January 14, 2001
- January 27, 2001
- February 3, 2001
- February 10, 2001
- February 17, 2001
- February 24, 2001
- March 17, 2001
- March 24, 2001
- March 31, 2001
- April 14, 2001
- April 21, 2001
- May 7, 2001
- May 12, 2001
- May 20, 2001
- May 24, 2001
- June 2, 2001
- Next June 9, 2001
- June 13, 2001
- June 21, 2001
- June 30, 2001
- August 2, 2001
- August 11, 2001
- August 17, 2001
- August 31, 2001
- September 15, 2001
- September 22, 2001
- October 6, 2001
- October 19, 2001
- October 30, 2001
- November 22, 2001
- December 12, 2001
- December 27, 2001
Latvian Mailer and Chat Reminder
By all accounts, the New York Latvian choir's concert last weekend was
a glowing success. We're enjoying our first two-day weekend (no choir practice
Sunday!) catching up on various things. Among them, of course, is this week's
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov once again calls NATO
expansion into Baltics a »threat to Russian
security, questions that NATO says Russia has nothing to fear; we've
learned that those who question motives of others are often ones whose own
motives need to be examined...
- In response, we're sure, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Antanas
Valionis »asks NATO for a "yes" or "no" on the
future of Baltic membership
- Australian court rules to »extradite Kalejs
to Latvia, Jewish and Latvian leaders hail move
- President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland »commits to lobby President Bush for NATO membership
- Regionally, Lithuania »joins Estonia and
Latvia as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
- On a lighter note, the next time you purchase »Pilskalna Kvass, you'll be drinking a Coca-Cola
We have several »links of interest this
week, no topic in particular.
This week's »picture is from Peters' trip
in July, of Jelgava.
As always, AOL'ers, Remember, mailer or not, Lat Chat spontaneously
appears every Sunday on AOL starting around 9:00/9:30pm Eastern time, lasting
until 11:00/11:30pm. AOL'ers can follow this link:
»Town Square - Latvian chat.
And thanks to you participating on the Latvian message board as well:
»LATVIA (both on AOL only).
Ar visu labu,
Russian defense minister again bristles at NATO's expansion
Monday, May 28, 2001 12:24:00 PM
Copyright 2001 The
MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian Defense Minister
Sergei Ivanov said Monday that Moscow continues to staunchly oppose eastward
expansion of NATO -- even though it's ready to cooperate with the alliance on
"NATO constantly says that it doesn't
view Russia as a threat," Ivanov said at a news conference. "But if Russia
poses no threat, why it should expand?"
underlined its concern about the alliance's projected expansion by refusing a
send a delegation to a session of NATO's Parliamentary Assembly that began
Sunday in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.
strong protests by Russia, NATO accepted Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic
as new members in March 1999. Moscow views the expansion as a security threat,
and is particularly dismayed by aspirations for NATO membership voiced by the
three former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
NATO has said the door to Lithuania and other
Baltic states is open but that they weren't ready militarily.
"NATO must deeply change, or else we have questions
to which our partners don't give coherent answers," Ivanov said Monday.
He sounded conciliatory on other aspects of
Russian-NATO relations, saying that Russia was ready to continue cooperation
with the alliance on peacekeeping in the Balkans and other European security
Russia froze links with NATO in 1999 to
protest the alliance's air campaign against Yugoslavia, but then restored
contacts last year. President Vladimir Putin even said that Russia may one day
seek NATO membership.
Lithuania asks NATO for clarity on Baltic members
Tuesday, May 29, 2001 8:27:00 AM
Copyright 2001 Reuters Ltd.
VILNIUS, May 29 (Reuters) -- Lithuanian
Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis called on NATO on Tuesday to "end the
uncertainty" by stating clearly its policy towards enlarging into the ex-Soviet
"To put it bluntly, the Baltic
states need to be given a clear indication as to their future membership,"
Valionis told a meeting at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
"We in Lithuania believe that the 2002 Prague
Summit is the right place and time for the invitation to our country to be
Lithuania, keen to join the alliance to
guarantee the independence it won from the Soviet Union in 1991 after five
decades of rule by Moscow, is hosting the spring session of the assembly as an
The assembly is meeting for first
time since its inception in 1955 on the territory of the former Soviet Union,
which has led to Russia's delegation pulling out of the current session.
Russia, which dominated the Soviet Union and is
also an associate member of the assembly, objects to Lithuania and other
ex-Soviet states bidding to join NATO.
diplomats have worried that Russia's objections might lead NATO to refuse them
entry, draw out their accession bids or offer them a watered-down version of
They say they would like to see the
next round of NATO expansion handled like the last -- meaning that accession
would take place very soon after an invitation was issued.
The last expansion, NATO's first since the end of
the Cold War, brought in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999.
Valionis said Lithuanian membership would not hurt
relations with Russia or retard the development of democracy there.
Some in the West fear it would strengthen the hand
of hardliners in Moscow.
The Lithuanian foreign
minister also blasted the notion that the Baltics constitute a "special case"
for NATO enlargement as their accession would mean the alliance including
former Soviet territory -- a sensitive topic for Moscow.
"Let us put things straight. The only special thing
is the still lingering, I'd say, anachronistic fear that inviting the Baltic
states to join the alliance would mean trespassing over the mythical red line
(of the former Soviet Union)," he said.
say Lithuania, which like its Baltic neighbours Latvia and Estonia was
disappointed at being left out of the 1999 expansion, appears to be among the
top candidates for NATO membership.
"There (is) an
overwhelming perception that Lithuania is among the countries with the greatest
chance. It's a leading candidate," said NATO Parliamentary Assembly President
Latvian officials, Jewish leaders hail
Tuesday, May 29, 2001 8:51:00 AM
Copyright 2001 The
RIGA, Latvia (AP) -- Officials on Tuesday
welcomed an Australian court ruling to extradite Nazi war crimes suspect
Konrads Kalejs to face charges in Latvia, while Jewish leaders said a trial
would help this ex-Soviet republic face its past.
"This is a very good result for us, it's what we
were hoping for," Justice Ministry spokesman Leonards Pavils said.
Earlier Tuesday, a Melbourne court ordered that the
87-year-old Kalejs be returned to his native Latvia, where he's accused of
serving as a guard at a notorious concentration camp during the 1941-44 German
occupation. His lawyers have appealed the ruling.
Kalejs, who emigrated to Australia after the war,
denies the charges and defense lawyers argue that their client suffers from
prostate cancer and dementia and is too ill to be extradited.
Jewish leaders also praised the Australian court's
ruling as an important step toward putting Kalejs on trial in Riga -- a process
they said would help Latvians confront the enormity of the Holocaust. Some
80,000 Jews were killed in Latvia during Nazi rule.
"A Kalejs trial here would be very valuable for
people. I hope it will help everyone understand the terrible things that
happened here during the war," said Gregory Krupnikov, co-chairman of Latvia's
11,000-strong Jewish community.
Jewish groups have
accused Latvia in the past of being slow to prosecute alleged Nazis. If
extradited, Kalejs would be the first suspected Nazi to face trial since the
nation regained independence after the 1991 Soviet collapse.
"The main thing is not to see this old man
punished, but to underline that the crimes of the Holocaust can never be
pardoned," said Tatyana Zhdanok, a Jewish politician who lost many family
members during the Holocaust.
Poland to lobby Bush for Baltics' NATO membership
Wednesday, May 30, 2001 4:49:00 AM
Copyright 2001 Reuters
RIGA, May 29 (Reuters) -- Poland will urge
U.S. President George W. Bush during his visit to Europe in June to let the
Baltic states join NATO in its second wave of enlargement in 2002, President
Aleksander Kwasniewski said on Tuesday.
"As a NATO
member Poland thinks that Latvia has to be a part of the second wave of NATO
enlargement, which will enhance security in the region," Kwasniewski, on a
working visit to Latvia, told a news conference.
will say this very thing to President Bush next month: NATO has to maintain its
open-door policy, the Baltic states must be accepted as members," he said.
Russia is sharply opposed to the western military
alliance enlarging into former Soviet Baltic republics, annexed by Stalin in
Poland, a beneficiary of the first round of
NATO expansion along with Hungary and the Czech Republic, insists however that
continued diplomatic cooperation with Russia is a key factor in regional
"We are also convinced that security
policy (can be fruitful) only if NATO and Russian relations develop... as they
have been recently and have been bringing their fruit," Kwasniewski said.
President Bush plans to visit Europe in mid-June.
Lithuania joins WTO as 141st member
Friday, June 01, 2001 11:47:00 AM
Copyright 2001 Reuters
GENEVA (Reuters) -- The former Soviet
republic of Lithuania, independent since 1991, has become the 141st member of
the World Trade Organization, officials said Friday.
The Baltic state's entry took effect Thursday, 30
days after it notified the Geneva-based body that the parliament in Vilnius
ratified the entry agreement it negotiated with countries already in the WTO.
With its neighbors Latvia and Estonia, which are
already members of the WTO, Lithuania was absorbed into the Soviet Union at the
end of World War II.
About half the 15 republics of
the old Soviet Union are now members of the WTO, but Russia and Ukraine -- the
two powerhouses of the former communist state -- must still complete entry
negotiations after several years of talks.
Coca-Cola boosts Estonian mkt share with kvass
Friday, June 01, 2001 4:32:00 AM
Copyright 2001 Reuters
TALLINN, June 1 (Reuters) -- U.S. Coca-Cola
, the world's number one soft-drink maker, said on Friday it had increased its
share of the Estonian market to around 60 percent from 50 percent by buying the
Linnuse Kali kvass brand from Osel Food.
said in a statement no financial details are being released about the deal
which brings with it the Pilskalna brand of kvass -- a popular soft drink made
of rye, sugar and yeast -- in Latvia.
Coca-Cola Company is acquiring Linnuse Kali because of the growth potential of
the brand in both Estonia and Latvia," Marketing Manager at Coca-Cola Baltic
Beverages Ltd, Aki Hirvonen said in a statement.
"In the longer run we aim to export outside the
Baltic States," he added.
Transfer of production
from Osel foods to Coca-Cola's bottler in Tallinn will take place over four
months. The target group for kvass is the over-thirties, the company said.
Kvass, a traditional Russian soft drink,
disappeared from the Baltic market in 1988 before being re-introduced 10 years
later, Coca-Cola said.
According to research by AC
Nielsen Latvia it accounts for 20 percent of the region's non-alcoholic drink
This week's picture is of the interior courtyard of Jelgava's Pils
(Castle), rebuilt after World War II (but restored from the outside only). It's
from Peters' sightseeing trip in July, 1995.