It has 2.3 million inhabitants, where 1.6 million are Latvian and 600 000 Russians. About 500 000 Russians are without citizenship, since most of these do not want to learn Latvian, nor adapt to a new country with new rules.
Latvia has through history been annexed by numerous nations/states. Latvia claimed its first independence after the first world war (This was done without much sruggle, due to the collaps of Czar Russia).
In 1940 Latvia was seized by Soviet forces due to the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty, which theoretically was to divide Europe in half.
1941, Germany launched operation barbarossa and occupied Latvia. About 150 000 Latvians fought in the german army, most of who were forced into it. The Second World War ended and so did Latvia's independence.
It was not until 1989 that Baltic freedom movements stirred up, mainly due to the Gorbechev era and its implementation of Parestroika and Glasnost throughout the regime. Latvia together with Estonia and Lithuania reclaimed their independence 1991.
Even though the Baltic states were considered the most developed countries in the Soviet Union hard years were to come. Latvias BNP declined until 1994 when it started rising, and it has since grown at a rate of about 5-7% per year. Corruption was a much bigger problem then it is today, although it is far from gone. Salaries compared with Western Europe and the USA remain low, and it is estimated that Latvia will reach western standards 2020.
Tevzemei un Brivibai!
A place where untouched nature and vibrant urban environment perfectly blends together. Being the last European pagans, Latvians are proud of their ancient culture, including the native Latvian language - one of the oldest living languages in the world.
Latvia is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe with a high average income.
More than 60% of the population are ethnic Latvians, about 35% are Russian immigrants.
-Oh, that explains everything. Wanna have my slurpee?
The country has made huge progress in the past two decades. It's definitely one of the world's most agreeable places to live in!
- To Latvia.
- Cool! Are you flying AirBaltic?
- Sure. I've been boycotting effing Ryanair for ages.