What Happened: Protesters gathered in front of Riga's city hall on Feb. 9 in support of the city's mayor, Nils Usakovs, who is facing graft allegations in connection to the local municipal transport company, AFP reported. In spite of the accusations, however, authorities have yet to file any charges against the mayor.
Why It Matters: Usakovs is a leading pro-Russian figure in Latvia and head of the most influential party that represents the interests of ethnic Russians. Moscow could seek to take advantage of growing uncertainty and foment additional anti-Western sentiment if Usakovs is removed from office.
Background: Latvia's pro-Russian Harmony Center party is the largest party in the country's parliament but various pro-Western parties have so far succeeded in excluding it from joining a governing coalition.
- The Baltic Nations Look Abroad and See Problems (Oct. 4, 2018)
- What to Watch for as Two Banking Scandals Unfold in Latvia (Feb. 26, 2018)
- The U.S. Offers Cool Comfort as Tension With Russia Heats Up (Aug. 2, 2017)