After a short press uproar and blogging frenzy, we are now entering that time when all that happened with the Latvian Security Police will be slowly forgotten, but not gone. This process applies to me, too, as I had to have my memory jogged by a comment writer to remember that this same police agency was sent after an old lady who wrote an angry letter to then Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis. Seems that getting nasty mail from citizens is part of the job of prime ministers, presidents and politicians generally. Even I, a journalist, am getting some abuse (an exposure to unintentional black humor of homo(post)sovieticus ) for my opinions expressed, most recently, on Delfi.lv. But apparently, this was not in Kalvitis job description, so send the cops...
But the fact is that one should have started reacting then, while the repression was still merely absurd. When the Security Police go after college lecturers and musicians, then it is serious (?). No! It was serious already with the pensioner, and with the people at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga who also (so say my sources) got visits from the Security Police around a year ago for even mentioning the "d"word. This was just a little past the peak of the party, real estate booming, a McDonald's style drive-in bank bringing cash in cups to a family who wants -- "oh yes, a trip to Egypt." Even then it was dangerous and worthy of repressive measures to hint that the big balagāns (carnival) was going to end and what that could, possibly, do to the lat.
The current Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis, has made some ambiguous mumblings on Latvian Radio that maybe the Security Police didn't interpret the law quite right, but also letting everyone know that you still had to watch your mouth (or keyboard, or press). More waffled mutterings were heard from politicians on the What is Happening in Latvia (Kas notiek Latvijā) talk show, except from the otherwise maligned, so-called pro-Russian Jakovs Pliners and another Saeima deputy from his side of the political spectrum. Pliners at least said cleary that the government was violating the freedom of speech. While I may disagree with the colorful ex-educator (and blogger) on other issues, at least he wasn't mealy-mouthed.
That, probably, is the end of the issue in the public space. The snake has coiled up in its lair and will stay there until it all blows over. Then someone in our wise goverment will read or hear something (or maybe the snake itself will see it) and turn it loose again, but all of this will have been largely forgotten or written off as an aberration. Those scared into silence or overcautiousness will remain silent or confine their statements to the blandest assessments of the economic situation. And the ratchet of authoritarianism will have advance yet a few more notches.