In the Latvian parliamentary election, 2018, the SDPS, often referred to as Harmony, has (again) become the largest party (BBC News). The BBC describes this party as “a Pro-Russia party”, but also mentions that “Harmony has said it wants Latvia to stay in the EU and NATO but to have closer economic ties with Russia.” Specifically, what policies does SDPS “Harmony” propose that justify a description as “Pro-Russian”?

(NB: for context, see SDPS article at the time I posted this question; the English wiki article has since grown details on Russian links)

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    Try looking at the Wikipedia article for Harmony. They have ties to Russian political parties etc. Note also the pro-Russia is does not necessarily mean "bad", just pro-Russia.
    – user19831
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 7:38
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    ...on all grounds? Did you not read the Wikipedia article you linked and the references therein? It's a party that represents the Russian-speaking minority in Latvia, and it was in an alliance with Putin's "United Russia" until a few months ago. What more do you want, exactly? It's not like they are hiding.
    – user5097
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 12:47
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    @NajibIdrissi I did read it. The text you cite wasn't there when I posted the question — thanks for point out it is, now. It partly answers the question, as dialogue alone may lead to accusations of being pro-Russian, but I'd prefer an answer with a bit more "meat" (policy proposals, or seeing as this party holds the mayoralty of Riga, actual policies).
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 12:56
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    If you look at the Wikipedia page for the party's chairman, you can read for example "Ušakovs sees strengthening of ties with Russia, particularly in the realms of freight transit through the Riga free port and tourism, as a solution to Riga's economic troubles, as Latvia was hit especially hard by the financial crisis of 2007–2010." The source is in Russian. In this (French) article, the same chairman describes himself as an admirer of Putin.
    – user5097
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 13:58
  • And that's just after searching for five minutes. Did you search at all before posting your question?
    – user5097
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


The answer seems to be that Harmony is not just sympathetic to Russia, given that it represents Latvia's Russian minority, but that it has explicit ties to United Russia. This relationship resulted in Harmony being shunned by most political parties in Latvia following their parliamentary success in 2018.

From the 5th October 2018 Reuters article:

Harmony, which currently holds 24 out of the 100 seats in parliament, recently rebranded itself as a Western-style Social Democratic party, saying it is committed to the European Union and NATO.

But it only ended its official cooperation agreement with Putin’s United Russia Party last year, raising concerns its transformation is only skin deep.

Harmony could be used by Russia to influence EU affairs, said Andis Kudors, executive director of the Centre for East European Policy Studies.

“It (Harmony) is like a kind of Trojan horse in [the] European Union when we speak about common European Union foreign policy in regards to Russia.”

The KPV backs EU and NATO membership, but its vague election program has left many wondering what could happen if it takes power.

The 'Centre for East European Policy Studies' is an NGO with ties to the Latvian state, Germany, and the USA. Whose purpose is:

to contribute to the advancement of the Latvian foreign policy by building-up the expertise on Russia’s development and its different foreign policy expressions in the neighbourhood.

The BBC is reporting Harmony as being 'pro-Russian' because of Harmony's representation of the country's Russian minority and historic ties to Putin's United Russia party. To be clear, it appears that the BBC is reporting this assessment instead of inventing it, as many Latvians seem to have that opinion.

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