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Latvia : Independence through restoration

Opinió | 09/11/2010

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The recovery of the statehood lost with the Soviet invasion was the key strategic aspect of the secessionist process of Latvia in the face of the collapse of the USSR. Fully integrated in the Atlantic structures, it still has to finish accommodating the important Russian minority while it struggles to recover from the economic crisis, which is very severe in this Baltic Republic


A new state is not created; the Republic of Latvia is restored, after dying under the Soviet invasion of 1940. This nuance provided the independence of Latvia with great legitimacy in the midst of the implosion of the USSR at the beginning of the nineties. The West welcomed the new state with open arms, and it quickly looked toward NATO and the European Union, organizations that it joined just over a decade after achieving independence.

Now, twenty years later, Latvia still has doubts about how to accommodate the Russian minority, which represents almost a third of the population and which, in actual fact, voted partly in favour of independence. Indeed, a considerable number of the Latvian population of Russian origin does not have citizenship on not fulfilling a series of requirements. Latvia is now confronting a more material problem: the economic crisis had a harsh effect on its financial system and caused a severe recession. For the time being, an IMF loan has enabled it to save face.

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