New ambassador presents credentials to Putin

Latvia’s new ambassador to Russia, Andris Teikmanis, has presented his credentials to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced.

Teikmanis was one of seven ambassadors presenting their credentials in an April 20 ceremony in Moscow. He replaces Normunds Penke, whose tour of duty ended late last year.

The ceremony came less than three weeks before Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga is to join other European leaders in Moscow for the May 9 Victory Day celebration, when Russia will mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Latvia’s relations with Russia have been strained for months over issues such as educational reforms that some in the Russian community in Latvia see as discriminatory. Even Vīķe-Freiberga’s decision to participate in the Victory Day remembrance is being viewed skeptically in Moscow because of her statement that World War II for Latvia didn’t end until 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Teikmanis officially began his ambassadorial duties on April 6. He previously was the undersecretary of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Teikmanis also has been mayor of Rīga and Latvia’s ambassador to Germany and the Council of Europe.

Besides its embassy in Moscow, Latvia also has a consulate general in St. Petersburg and a consulate in Pskov.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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