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Konstantīns Purpurs, a member of the National Alliance party which is part of the ruling coalition, and formerly a board member of the associated All for Latvia! party, took in a conference hosted by Hungary's right-wing Jobbik party and signed a declaration on eliminating wage disparities across Europe, reported LTV7's Lichnoye Delo on March 17.
The expenses for his stay were paid for by Jobbik, discovered Rus.lsm.lv and Lichnoye Delo. Pupurs claimed that he was representing the National Alliance and participated with the knowledge of the party's leadership. However Raivis Dzintars, one of the leaders of the party, denies it.
A declaration for setting up a "European wage union" was signed on March 14 in Budapest. According to a Jobbik press release, the party aims to close the wage gap between Eastern and Western European states with an European Citizens' Initiative.
Such initiatives compel the European Commission to review proposals that are signed by at least a million citizens living in at least seven EU states.
The declaration was signed by representatives of Hungarian, Slovak, Polish, Croatian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Latvian and Estonian political parties.
However on several issues, most notably the recognition of Russia's annexation of Crimea, Jobbik's position is diametrically opposed to that of the National Alliance.
Raivis Dzintars told LTV7 that the initiative had not been discussed within the party, and the declaration should be discussed with the people who signed it. Dzintars attempted to distance his party from the declaration, stressing that the National Alliance had not signed anything.
He also dodged Lichnoye Delo's question of whether the party is informed over Jobbik's stance on Crimea and whether the party knew about Pupurs' visit, implying again that they should ask Pupurs.
While Pupurs told LTV7 that he represented the National Alliance but spoke on behalf of the whole nation as concerns the initiative.
Pupurs also claimed that his visit had been discussed within the party, and told LTV7 that Dzintars might simply had not been informed.
He also admitted that the visit was funded by Jobbik.
From Estonia, the declaration was signed by MP Jaak Madison of the right-wing opposition Conservative People's Party. Postimees journalist Georgi Beltadze contacted him at the request of Rus.lsm.lv.
Madison said that while accommodation and transport expenses were paid for, participants had to get to Budapest using their own money.
He claimed that the parties selected for the conference chose whom to send. "I know that it was the same for Latvia as well, that they decided who wants to go and can go," said Madison.
Madison also revealed that Jobbik has a representative in Latvia who serves as Estonia's representative as well.
Lichnoye Delo points out that Jobbik have close ties to several Russian ideologists. In summer 2013 Gábor Vona, the leader of Jobbik and curator of the conference held in February this year, lectured at Moscow State University alongside Kremlin ideologist Aleksandr Dugin. Back then Vona said that as soon as Jobbik ascends to power it will make Hungary join the Eurasian Economic Union. He claimed that they would make Hungary leave the EU should they become a ruling party.
Jobbik MEP Béla Kovács lectured alongside Vona, saying that the party's job is well received by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Apparently the job he referred to was uncovered in 2015 when the European Parliament stripped Kovács of his MEP immunity so that he could be investigated over allegations about him working for Russia's Federal Security Service since 2010.
Kovács participated as an observed at the 2014 Crimean referendum. Márton Gyöngyösi, one of the leaders of the Jobbik, later said that his party views the people's vote legitimate. He also signed the declaration signed by Pupurs.
Pupurs claimed ignorance over Jobbik's views on Crimea.
"First of all, I don't know it. Secondly, I'm not interested in it, as we didn't talk about this matter," he told LTV7.
"The crucial thing to us is the welfare of Latvian citizens. It's good if we have any points on which we can cooperate with the Jobbik party or any other party in Eastern Europe over this matter," said the National Alliance politician.
While Jaak Madison told Rus.lsm.lv that, to date, he hasn't seen any fact that would attest to Jobbik's ties to the Kremlin.