Monday, December 01, 2008

Latvian economist detained by police for being too pessimistic

Here's what I can add to this story: Mrs. Marathon Pundit returned to her native Latvia two months ago, on the occasion of her mother's 90th birthday, and she spent a lot of money. So we're doing our part to shore up the Latvian economy.

But if you're in Latvia, be careful what you say about the economic strength of the Baltic nation.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Hammered by economic woe, this former Soviet republic recently took a novel step to contain the crisis. Its counterespionage agency busted an economist for being too downbeat.

"All I did was say what everyone knows," says Dmitrijs Smirnovs, a 32-year-old university lecturer detained by Latvia's Security Police. The force is responsible for hunting down spies, terrorists and other threats to this Baltic nation of 2.3 million people and 26 banks.

Now free after two days of questioning, Mr. Smirnovs hasn't been charged. But he is still under investigation for bad-mouthing the stability of Latvia's banks and the national currency, the lat. Investigators suspect him of spreading "untruthful information." They've ordered him not to leave the country and seized his computer.

Finance is a highly touchy subject in Latvia, one that the state tries, with unusual zeal, to shield from loose tongues. It is a criminal offense here to spread "untrue data or information" about the country's financial system. Undermining it is outlawed as subversion.

But the Journal says that Smirnov's claim are true.

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Anonymous said...

Smirnoff? Oh yeah the
Vodka Guy.

Anonymous said...

The UNI-Bomber University.