Should Putin be congratulated on his victory?
Although it is customary in diplomacy to congratulate a head of state on his election victory not all the Baltic states did so in the case of Putin: whereas the presidents of Estonia and Latvia sent him their congratulations, Lithuania's president Dalia Grybauskaitė refused to, pointing to the poison attack in Salisbury as the reason. Latvian media are also critical of the congratulations.
Don't forget Salisbury, Donbass and Crimea
The website of the public broadcaster LSM criticises Latvia's president for congratulating Putin:
“Did our head of state and his office really recognise the legitimacy of the elections in Russia, deliberately ignoring the poison attack in Salisbury, the occupation of Crimea and the invasion in Donbass where more than ten thousand people have been killed? ... We have an authoritarian and aggressive major power as a neighbour. Consequently our politicians should put more thought into what they say in their speeches. Nothing good can come of hypocritically maintaining that all is well on our eastern front. ... Did our president want to oblige the fifth column that voted on Sunday for Russia's non-replaceable president? The congratulations certainly sent the wrong signal.”
Who really cares?
To congratulate or not to congratulate? In the end it won't have any impact on Russia's economic policy so there's no reason not to be more critical, Neatkarīgā argues:
“Has Latvia's business-oriented stance towards Russia had any tangible effect whatsoever? Individual businesspeople will no doubt be able to name certain projects which make an important contribution to the national economy. But would these projects perhaps have been stopped if we took a tougher line vis-à-vis Russia? ... Russia pursues its policies as it sees fit, regardless of what we do or say.”