Political Priorities and Economic Interests in Russian-Latvian Relations

Working Paper, NUPI

The paper focuses on interaction of political and economic aspects in Russian-Latvian relations. During the most of the 1990´s, the relationship was dominated by the «conflict manifestation,» which could be witnessed during the protracted Russian troop withdrawal and mutually irreconcilable positioning over NATO expansion and status of Russian-speaking population. However, in the context of EU enlargement and «economisation» of Russian foreign policy, economic factors may play an increasingly important role in Russian-Latvian relations. It is possible to discover a complex web of links and economic interdependence between economic actors in both Russia and Latvia. This especially refers to transit as Latvian ports remain among the major routes of Russian exports, primarily oil, to Western Europe. Yet, certain interests of particular economic groups in Russia as well as economic and political priorities of Russian government generally, in the region and domestically will have influence, not necessarily favourable, on further development of this economic interdependence.