Russians in Latvia told they can vote at embassy without fear of being deemed war supporters

Latvian Justice Minister Inese Lībiņa-Egnere. Photo: social media

Latvian Justice Minister Inese Lībiņa-Egnere. Photo: social media

Latvia’s Justice Minister has stressed that Russians in the country can vote in the Russian presidential election this weekend at the country’s embassy in Riga without fear of being held liable for supporting the war.

“Just going to vote is not in itself a sign that you support the Putin regime,” Inese Lībiņa-Egnere said on Thursday, adding that the Latvian police had no intention of collecting voter data and that voting in the presidential election at the embassy was a “human right”.

However, the Latvian authorities would be on the lookout for provocations and Latvian police were ready “to protect the streets and the people”, Lībiņa-Egnere warned. She also said that no election being partially held on occupied Ukrainian territory could be regarded as legitimate.

In late February, Lībiņa-Egnere told Latvia’s channel TV3 that Russians voting in the Russian presidential elections at the embassy in Riga could face criminal liability under Latvian law for justifying the war in Ukraine.

She later clarified her stance, stressing that the Latvian government had no say over what Russian citizens did at the Russian embassy, which is legally Russian territory, while also warning those voting at the embassy against displaying obvious support for the war.

Voting in the Russian presidential election begins on Friday and will last until Sunday.

EU member Latvia, a former Soviet republic with a 25% ethnic Russian population, has become a hub for exiled Russian activists and journalists since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

An earlier version of the article said that the minister had “walked back her comments” in the fifth paragraph. We have changed it to “clarified her stance” as the minister said that her words had been taken out of context.

Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.