Ры (pbl) wrote,

да, кстати. хочу все-таки в меру скромных поспоспешествовать донесению вот этого до широкой мировой общественности. необычайной прекрасностью отличаются комментарии на языке титульной нации в новостях о поднятии вопроса об отставке на латышском делфи (оригинальная новость там отсутствует). такой, то есть, прекрасностью, что побрезгую резюмировать; пользуйте гуглотранслейт, что ли, или, я не знаю, буээээээээ-.

еще необычайное восхищение вызывает светлый образ борца за процветание латышского народа, MD. борец, MD, борется из albert lea medical center в миннесоте. к сожалению, рассчитывать, что запрос "как вы объясните присутствие менгеле jr. в вашем штате?" приведет в выбрасыванию васи айварса на мороз не умею, ибо разочарован в этой идиотской планете.

если вам вдруг взбредет в голову полулзировать нерусскоговорящих знакомцев -

The Republic of Latvia* just went through its first post-crisis parliamentary elections. While there was certain hubbub in the pre-election weeks regarding the coming change, the actual vote brought no tangible shift in the balance of power among the major political parties: a minor right-wing nationalist faction got quietly shuffled out of the ruling bloc, but Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis kept the de facto mandate to form the government, the Cabinet composition changes looked largely cosmetic, and the country seemed to quickly fall back into the political business as usual.

It would please me greatly to say that all of this has changed with the latest scandal to hit the murky Latvian political scene, but that is simply not true. In fact, my outrage with the matter in question stems precisely from my conviction that nothing is going to change, however despicable the sentences under the light of the public scrutiny may be.

The affair itself is shady at best, as it involves disclosure of the private correspondence between Minister of Foreign Affairs Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis and one Aivars Slucis, MD, a staunch Latvian patriot hailing from Albert Lea, MN. Curiously, neither of them seems to deny that the dialogue took place, and Mr Kristovskis chose to invoke the good old "out-of-context" defense, which is frankly surprising as his letter was published in full together with the quoted letter from Dr Slucis.

The phrases exchanged by those two respectable gentlemen were, in rough English translation, as follows:

Dr Aivars Slucis, in context of a rather blunt letter discussing "proper handling" of Russians in Latvia, "I only visit Latvia occasionally because, as a doctor, I wouldn't be able to stand treating Russian patients with the same care as Latvians, - and that's not allowed, and so I'm waiting".

Mr Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis, "Hello, Aivars! I share your views and values. And I would like to once again swear that neither me nor the Civic Union** leadership are ever going to waver in our duty as representatives of the interests of Latvians". To his credit, after these words Mr Kristovskis sagely reminds Dr Slucis that histrionics never solved anything, and I have to fully agree with him - careful, measured application of force tends to yield much better results than charging the windmills recklessly.

It's the windmills that I don't find particularly disagreeable, being one of them.

I'm usually the first in any discussion to argue for the full, unbounded freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression. And no, that's not going to change. I respect everyone's right to cherish their views, prejudices or ideas, however abominable or fallacious, however idiotic or despicable - and to express those however they want, whether in the privacy of their own thoughts or in the limitless publicity of international broadcasting. That is the cornerstone of my entire outlook.

I do, however, reserve my own right to argue - and ridicule.

Not that it's much consolation to me in this case. It bothers me that I seem to be so out of touch with current societal values and views that what seems utterly disgusting to me is considered par for the course by just about everyone else.

The reaction from the Unity ruling bloc, which the Civic Union is a part of, ranged from mild disapproval to wide-eyed astonishment, "What's the big deal? They didn't say it in public, did they?"

This nuance is particularly charming. You see, you don't say things like that in civil society, but there's nothing wrong with thinking them. Am I exaggerating? I honestly don't know, but when I look at the mild expressions of Unity politicians discussing the affair I can't help but wonder whether "proper handling" of me is now fully mainstream - as long as you don't talk about it?

Opposition parties intend to move, naturally, for the dismissal of Mr Kristovskis. Not that they have a snowflake's chance in a rather warm place to actually pull it off, but at least their electorate can rest assured they're not going to be just twiddling their thumbs in Saeima for the next four years.

But all of that is really just icing on the cake. Politicians, phtaw! who would expect anything even remotely resembling decency out of them? Not someone middle-aged and bitter like me, anyway.

The true shock came when I decided to read what people would write in comments for the related news on the Latvian version of a major Baltic news portal, Delfi.Lv.

Now, the scandalous letters didn't even deserve a mention in their own right. The first news appeared only after populist For a Good Latvia and pro-Moscow bloc Harmony Centre announced their intention to present a motion for dismissal in Saeima. And in the few pages of comments I read - perhaps a total of two or three hundred - at best a dozen of people felt Dr Slucis' sentiments were worth discussing. The rest of it revolved around the "sour grapes talking" thesis with regards to the opposition parties.

Frankly, I'm at a loss for words. I just don't know what to say.

Maybe I'm just wrong to feel this way? Perhaps it's ok for me to get second-grade medical care? Or none at all. Why not, I am just a Russian born in a foreign country. Naturally, any civilized person should perceive me as nothing more than an eternal threat, a tiny piece of the lingering red menace, a savage and brutal stereotype we all came to know and love through Hollywood blockbusters. What right did I have to be born into this country at all, when it clearly says Latvia on the map, and I'm only one quarter Latvian? Perhaps I should have committed suicide in my mother's womb so that true patriots could sleep soundly at night in their homes in the far away Minnesota.

Or at least three quarters of me should have - I'm not quite comfortable yet with all this ethnicity calculus.

* Member of the European Union and NATO since 2004.

** Now this might sound like a suitably harmless, vague-ish name for a populist party, but there's a clever if rather disgusting pun in it that's very easy to miss for people unaware of the local context. Roughly 15% of Latvian population belongs to a very special class of people whose nature is usually veiled in more or less neutral terms such as "non-citizens", "residents" or "aliens". What they - we - really are, is second-class citizens, denied, for presumed lack of loyalty due to our descent, rights to participate in the political life of the country, own land and perhaps a few other minor privileges I, personally, don't particularly care about.
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