Those of us who live in Western Europe have come to know the leaders of the Baltic states due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The little-known Baltics, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have become famous for their strong support of Ukraine. Being neighbours to Russia, the Baltics have a long history and experience of Russian imperialism and they are united by a common cause with Poland and Ukraine, and other Eastern European states in their defense against Russian aggression.
Being on the front line with the aggressor, Poland, and the Baltics know very well the importance of sticking together against their larger and bellicose neighbour. However, what the West doesn’t know is that apparently, the common stand against Russian imperialism by Eastern European politicians was never actually common until the Russian invasion of Ukraine this year. Apparently, some of the politicians who today are posturing as anti-imperialists were very willing Russian collaborators and enablers in the past. These politicians like the Germans who did deals with the Russians seemed to have lived in a state of complacency which alienated them from the geo-political risks and reality around them. Corruption and greed fueled this complacency further with the result that Russia entangled itself even more deeply in the affairs of the state.
A notable and clear example is the Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš who was Minister of the Economy from 2004 to 2006 when the second biggest bank in Latvia, Parex Bank, was operating a money laundering network run by Kremlin insiders and Russian criminal groups. Russian criminal groups and the Kremlin used Latvia as an offshore destination for Russian embezzled money. Kariņš as Economy Minister was not only aware of the criminal connections between Parex Bank and Russian criminal groups, but he is also alleged to have benefited himself from illicit Russian connections, having received millions of Euros in illicit funds from a Russian company based in Cyprus linked to the Tambovskaya Mafia. Parex Bank collapsed in 2008 and was succeeded by ABLV which was eventually dissolved as the European authorities caught up with its large network of illicit money flows.
This website and our publishing house, Dar Camilleri, are supporting Latvian dissident and whistleblower John Christmas who blew the whistle on Parex Bank when Krišjānis Kariņ was still Economy Minister. Christmas had to leave Latvia as a consequence of his whistle-blowing activities and this fact is telling of the power that Russian criminal gangs still hold over the Baltic state of Latvia. Christmas wrote a novel about his whistle-blowing activities and Parex Bank.
You can buy the book here:
You can also read about the Parex Bank story and illicit Russian activity in Latvia on John Christma’s website: