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Tag: Latvia

Resign and rule: Latvia’s local elections analysed

The low voter turnout and inconclusive results in the Latvian municipal elections are likely to be repeated in next year’s general election.

July 13, 2021 - Samuel Kramer

The Baltic states. Three peas in a pod?

The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are often together associated as a bloc, with a similar history, culture and politics. While there are some commonalities among the three countries, there are also some key characteristics that make them quite different from each other.

From the outside, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are usually viewed as one – “the Baltics”. However, their fates have only been intertwined during the last century. Prior to the end of the First World War, Lithuania had been closely connected with Poland, while Estonians and Latvians had been under Baltic German domination for seven centuries, no matter whether the ruling power was Sweden, Poland or Russia. Lithuanian and Latvian are the two surviving Baltic languages, whereas Estonian belongs to a completely different language family, together with Finnish and Hungarian.

April 11, 2021 - Andres Kasekamp

Russians in Estonia. We are not “them”, we are “us”

Access to good education, healthcare, social welfare and general public services has all contributed to the often difficult process of better integrating mostly older generations of Russian-speakers into Estonian society. The relative ease of conducting everyday life, the security of state support and the prospect of a European future for their children have bound Russians with Estonia over the last three decades.

Estonia’s Russian-speaking community became irritated by a recent speech of the Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, on Estonia’s Independence Day on February 24th, where she emphatically called on fellow citizens “with a different cultural and linguistic background” to understand “(us), Estonians”. The way she chose to address Russian-speakers and other non-ethnic Estonians living in the country – paraphrased as “you, who are different, need to understand us, Estonians” – signifies the lack of understanding in the president’s office of the sensitivities of “the Russian question” from the perspective of Russian-speakers.

April 11, 2021 - Kristina Kallas

Latvia prepares for big step in LGBTQ+ rights

The issue of granting parental rights to same-sex partners has become the most important fight for equality in modern day Latvia. As parliament prepares to decide on key amendments to the country’s constitution, Latvians are struggling to understand that their freedom should not infringe on the freedom of others.

No one embodies the individual and collective fight for one's liberties and freedom in modern-day Latvia as much as Evita Goša. When her fiancée found out she was not entitled to a ten-day paid leave usually granted to fathers of new-borns, she petitioned the Constitutional Court of Latvia which agreed to hear the case.

April 11, 2021 - Ričards Umbraško

Image of ‘digital Baltics’ cracks under weight of pandemic

Despite being lauded as a digital posterchild, Estonia’s e-governance fell short during the COVID-19 crisis. Its Baltic neighbours, Latvia and Lithuania, fared no better.

March 11, 2021 - Keegan McBride

Riga in detail

A photostory exploring the city through details that often go unnoticed.

April 7, 2020 - Solveiga Kaļva

Who is behind the plot to topple the Latvian parliament?

What started as a justifiable reason for protest was quickly hijacked by a handful of individuals looking to profit from the growing polarisation in Latvian society. A proposal by several anti-establishment political groups on November 14th last year called for the dissolution of the national legislature. It was at that point when it became clear that the groups had started a movement that would cause an unprecedented rift in civil society.

There exists a very common misconception in modern-day Latvian politics that all political conundrums can be solved by the most radical expression of civic action one can find within a democracy. However the idea of a movement pushing towards dissolving the national parliament, which is very popular, is flawed to the core and has the potential to stir up domestic and regional politics to an unprecedented level.

April 7, 2020 - Ričards Umbraško

Who owns the state? Latvian anti-establishment party aims for power

Through a rhetoric of radical change, issue-oriented politics and a centre-right platform, KPV LV has become one of the main forces in Latvia’s new parliament.

November 13, 2018 - Stefano Arroque

Talk Eastern Europe podcast – Latvia

"Talk Eastern Europe" is a podcast hosted by New Eastern Europe dedicated to debating the issues facing the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

November 7, 2018 - New Eastern Europe

What does independence mean in the Baltics?

The three Baltic countries are celebrating 100 years of independence this year. What kind of societies have they become in the last century marked by both freedom and occupation? Three creative leaders from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania reflect on their struggles.

Not a lot of countries are so often mentioned in the same breath as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. When Pope Francis visited the three Baltic republics in September, he did not even need a whole week to set foot in all the countries. In recent history, of course, the trio have a lot in common. All suffered under Soviet occupation for nearly half of the 20th century, a period included in the 100 years of independence because they (plus the western world) never agreed with Moscow that the Baltics entered the USSR voluntarily.

November 5, 2018 - Koen Verhelst

Elections in the Baltic and Balkans

This weekend the citizens of Latvia and Bosnia and Herzegovina had the chance to influence the direction of their countries.

October 8, 2018 - New Eastern Europe

There is no question – we are able to defend ourselves

An interview with Raimonds Bergmanis, the Latvian minister of defence. Interviewer Linas Jegelevicius

LINAS JEGELEVICIUS: In a recent interview, your Lithuanian counterpart claimed that the situation in which the Baltics face now is “the riskiest and most dangerous since 1990”. Do you agree with this assessment?

RAIMONDS BERGMANIS: It is relative and the context should be taken into account. In the 1990s, our countries were still in the process of recovery and building our new state institutions like the armed forces, intelligence, security forces, etc. Alongside the domestic challenges, we were experiencing Russian pressure as well. We were vulnerable back then and, by no means, were these risk-free times. We were lucky that Russia was also vulnerable. However, it was not until 2004 when we joined NATO that we were able to have a real sense of security.

January 2, 2018 - Linas Jegelevicius Raimonds Bergmanis

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