Latvia: Parliament approves seizure of Moscow House in Riga

The Latvian parliament, the Saeima, has approved the seizure of the so-called Moscow House in central Riga, LSM reports. The state is likely to auction the property. The building used to serve as a Russian cultural centre owned by the Moscow city government. Latvia’s State Security Service (VDD) reported that the building was used to support Russia’s propaganda operations. The centre was closed in March 2022. The Russian embassy in Latvia denounced the building’s takeover as “an act of state robbery.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova pledged that Russia’s response would be “harsh and very painful” for Latvia. Earlier, Latvian commercial bank Rietumu Banka warned that taking over the Moscow House could have negative consequences for Latvian assets in Russia. Prime Minister Evika Silina insisted that businesses still operating in Russia assume their own risks, LETA reported.