Exclusive: Russia refusing to send some rail freight to Latvia - sources
Russia's state-owned railway monopoly is refusing most requests to take cargo from Russia to ports in Latvia, industry executives said, a serious blow to the Baltic state which depends on the transit trade.
The monopoly, Russian Railways (RZhD), has in many cases offered no explanation to customers for turning down the cargoes, mostly oil products, fertilizer, coal and metals which had previously been transported relatively easily by rail to Latvia, nine people familiar with the situation told Reuters.
Asked for comment, RZhD said it had not introduced any restrictions on transporting freight to Latvia, and that it looks at each request to transport freight on its own merits.
Russia has a long history of testy political relations with Latvia, a former Soviet republic now in the European Union.
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WNU Editor: The person who runs Russian Railways (RZhD) is a Russian who was born in Latvia. And if there is one thing that a lot of Russians who are in Latvia are upset about (Russian is spoken by about a third of the population), it is the treatment of their language and culture by the Latvian government. You cannot teach Russian in school, official correspondence must be in Latvian, etc.. Is there a personal vendetta at play here by this railway manager .... I do not know. But I do know that there is no sympathy in Russia to what happens in Latvia .... and if they can be hurt economically because there is a better route and/or it is cheaper .... so be it. On a side note .... the EU is always making a point that minority languages should be protected .... but on this issue they have been consistently silent.