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Ivars Abolins, Latvian official who stripped TV Rain of broadcast license, praised Putin during Crimea annexation

Source: Meduza

Following the revocation of TV Rain’s broadcast license by the Latvian National Electronic Media Council (NELPLP), social media users unearthed a trove of past tweets by the agency chairman Ivars Abolins, in which Abolins deprecated Ukraine and praised Putin.

Screenshots of Abolins’s tweets were published by the Latvia-based Rus.TVnet. In July 2013, for example, Abolins tweeted that Putin “holds Russia up” and “protects it from chaos.”

In January 2014, as Euromaidan unfolded in Ukraine, Abolins tweeted that “Latvia should send money to Yanukovych and pray to God that Ukraine doesn’t get any closer to the EU.” “What are we going to do with those millions of Russian-speakers?” he wondered.

On February 21, 2014, Abolins tweeted that “no normal regulation is possible in Ukraine.” On February 28, he wrote that

it’s normal to think about our own interests and Latvian interests first. The outcome will be bad for Ukraine in any case. Ukraine will not be a stable and democratic society.

Journalists at The Insider have also noticed a remark dating from March 18, 2014 — the official date of Russia’s Crimea annexation — when Abolins praised Putin’s speech as “just excellent.” “The combed-over zeroes in the West can all relax, sadly,” he wrote.

Abolins joined NEPLP in January 2017, and became its chair on December 2019.

Replying to queries from Rus.TVnet, Abolins wrote that he did write those tweets, but they “no longer reflect” his current opinions. “I based my tweets on information available at the time. That opinion was mistaken and is absolutely inconsistent with my current position,” he said.

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