Latvia Torn Between Money and Fear of Russia
Rahvusvahelised uudised 25 Feb 2015  EWR
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The Ukraine crisis and Russia’s politics have fed a huge demand for Latvia’s residency-for-investment program. From

Inga Springe and Sanita Jemberga TOL, 23 February 2015
Vitaly Mansky, a prominent Russian documentary director, remembers the moment when he decided he needed a safe haven outside Russia because life in his homeland was becoming untenable.

It was the spring of 2014, and Mansky was watching the news in his hotel room during a film festival in Spain. A dispassionate anchor on a Kremlin-controlled news station reported that Russia’s parliament had authorized President Vladimir Putin to use the army to protect compatriots in other countries, in effect legalizing the annexation of Crimea and providing a rationale for the support of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

“I remember very well the day, hour, and second when the decision was made,” said the director, speaking on a recent winter’s morning in the Latvian capital, Riga. “After this announcement, ensuing events became obvious. … This was the end. At that moment, I phoned my wife, returned from the festival. We arrived in Riga and after three days we left with a residence permit.”

Having found and purchased a spacious apartment with ornate painted ceilings in the center of Riga in a day, and for a cheap price by Moscow’s standards, Mansky became one of the 3,173 Russian citizens who last year gained the right to reside in Latvia.

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