On Tuesday, the 28th of February, Latvian Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) published the non-confidential portion of its report for operations in 2022. The classified portion of the report will be discussed by the Cabinet of Ministers and Saeima’s National Security Committee. Following this review, officials will approve the bureau’s operational directions for 2023.
Russia continues its confrontational and aggressive policy towards Western countries. Its goal is breaking the unity of the West towards Russia, as mentioned in the bureau’s report. Kremlin is interested in lowering the unity of the Western world, prevent countries from agreeing on joint economic sanctions against Russia and supplies of arms to Ukraine.
It is also in Russia’s interests to cause tension within Western countries, promote residents’ dissatisfaction with their respective governments or economic situation in an attempt to have domestic problems overshadow some European countries’ political focus on the Russian-Ukrainian war.
«Together with military operations, Russia also performs various operations in the information field. Latvia, as Russia’s neighbouring country, is affected by this especially strongly. This affects the historical memory held by Latvia’s residents, our country’s geopolitical environment, as well as the fact that there is a large number of Russian-speakers in our country,» says SAB Director Egils Zviedris.
Information from SAB indicates that there is a new Cold War brewing between Vladimir Putin’s regime and the West. Russia has decided to turn away from the West and instead focus on Asian, African and South American countries. SAB also reports Russia attempts to use anti-Western positions in those countries to form anti-West coalitions.
It is expected the decline in Russia’s economy will continue for approximately half a year,
which will be followed up by lasting stagnation, gradual degradation and growing dependence on Asian countries, especially China.
However, Putin’s regime is prepared to suffer economic losses in the name of geopolitical goals. According to SAB, there is a high probability that Russia may completely halt all supplies of energy resources to European countries to punish them for supporting Ukraine, the report mentions.
It stresses that control over neighbouring countries is strategically important for Russia. Although these countries have been trying balance their foreign policy because of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, they still maintain close relations with Russia, at least in the medium-term perspective.
Russia’s war in Ukraine also outlined the country’s growing influence in the political, military, economic and information space. If necessary,
Russia has all the tools to force Belarusian armed forces to join the war
despite possible consequences inside Belarus. Russia has established lasting influence and presence in its neighbouring country, making Belarus another aggressively anti-Western country. According to SAB, Latvia and other NATO and EU member states will have to deal with growing threats from Belarus.
Last year Russian intelligence and security services continued their aggressive work against the West. The purpose was to test the reaction of the collective Western world to the Russian aggression, their preparedness to support Ukraine, test the unity of the international community and coordination of their respective governments. Military aid and supplies for Ukraine were and remain the priority for Russian intelligence services, the report stresses.
In 2023 the Kremlin will have to deal with attacks by Ukraine on Russian territories.
It is possible these attacks will increase in number. Putin may also announce a new wave of mobilisation. However, despite the challenges brought by the war, Putin’s regime is stable. Now more than ever before the priority for Putin and political elite is the preservation of power. To accomplish this goal, no compromises are allowed, SAB reports.
The full report can be found here. It is also possible to acquire information using SAB Twitter account @SAB_LV.
SAB’s report offers a look at counter-intelligence, cyber security, reconnaissance and classified information protection in 2022. The report also mentions an assessment of the domestic and foreign policy trends in Russia and Belarus in 2022.
Also read: Latvian minister says country must be prepared to resist aggression for at least ten days