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SUMMARY & KEY POINTS
Pro-Kremlin media outlets are using U.S. sanctions against businessman and politician Aivars Lembergs to tarnish Latvia. Latvia is being described as a U.S.-puppet – with Kremlin claims that the Latvian ruling coalition is serving Washington. Pushing the ‘failed-state’ narrative, Pro-Kremlin media asserts that the Latvian and U.S. governments are destroying Latvia’s transit business, and that the country's economy is on the verge of collapse. In addition, the situation is often labelled as an attempt by the Russophobic government to weaken a popular Pro-Russian politician, calling it an undemocratic act in a country with a flawed democracy. The terms "seizure," "panic,” "economic disruption," "worst crisis" and others, are also regularly used. Misleaders focus on the risks and ignore the benefits of sanctions against A. Lembergs for the development of transparency of political processes in Latvia.
At first the coordinated campaign of deception focuses on the internal political aspects - the government of Latvia is settling accounts with a pro-Russian politician. Later a more economically driven narrative prevailed: “The Latvian government, with the help of the U.S., seizes ports and destroys Latvia's transit business.” Deceivers claim that Washington does not care about the Latvian economy, hence it first destroyed the Latvian financial services sector, and now is turning to Latvia’s transit business. They also purposefully avoid analysing the disruptive influence of Aivars Lembergs and other oligarchs on Latvia’s development in general, including the economy.