Latvia in Review Issue January Welcome to Latvia Home by sanmelody

VIEWS: 7 PAGES: 9

									                                    LATVIA IN REVIEW
January 25 – 31, 2011
Issue 4
CONTENTS

Government
Structural Reforms to Continue Also in Public Administration This Year
Finance Minister Calls International Donors to Be More Cooperative

Economics
Latvia to Focus on Countries with Largest Outbound Investments in Search for Investors
Latvia Supports Focused EU Cohesion Policy in Future
Bailed-Out Parex Bank Not to Need Government Support to Repay Syndicated Loan
Retail 2010 Overall Shows Cautious Growth
Chinese Company Buys Latvia’s World Expo 2010 Pavilion

Foreign Affairs
90th Anniversary of Latvia's de iure International Recognition Remembered
Latvian Foreign Minister Presents Foreign Policy Priorities to Saeima
President Discusses Foreign Policy Priorities Whilst Meeting With Ambassadors
Saeima Speaker Points out Importance of Cooperation between Latvia and Estonia
U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Davidson Talks Restitution Matters in Rīga
Foreign Ministry State Secretary Teikmanis Visits Berlin
Foreign Ministry and French Embassy Organise Lecture and Discussion
Latvian Family Repatriate from Cuba

Society
Latvians Top Sliding Sport Events Last Weekend
13th International Ice Sculpture Festival in Jelgava: February 6 – 13
Novel by Ikstena Translated into Georgian
Latvia’s Rich Church Pipe – Organ Traditions

Articles of Interest
BBC “Lessons from Latvia”
Marathon Pundit blog “Twenty Years Ago: Latvia’s Barricade Days”

Government
Structural Reforms to Continue Also in Public Administration This Year
On January 26, structural reforms will continue also in the public administration this year as part
of the efforts to achieve additional LVL 50 million (EUR 71 mln) consolidation in the 2011
national budget, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said on the public Latvian Radio on
Wednesday.
He said that the Latvian government was working on proposals for the additional budget
consolidation. “As regards the budget consolidation, we are working in all directions. There is not a
single sector that might be spared budget cuts. The measures will concern both revenues and expenditure ,”
Dombrovskis said.
The Latvian government has already been implementing reforms which required unpopular
decisions, Dombrovskis said. “The general outline of the reforms to be carried out this year has also
been defined. In case of the public administration, it will be centralization of support functions and

                                                                                                        1
broader use of e-services and e-government in order to cut costs,” he pointed out. In education, work
will continue on the reforms in the higher education system.
The additional consolidation in the amount of LVL 50 million will include also savings from the
structural reforms, Dombrovskis said. “It is obvious, and it will take both political responsibility and
will on the part of the ministers,” he underlined, adding that the ministers would be required to
demonstrate those qualities.
The proposals for additional budget consolidation measures in 2011 are expected to be
announced in late January or early February.

Finance Minister Calls International Donors to Be More Cooperative
On January 31, Finance Minister Andris Vilks would like the international donors to be more
cooperative regarding steps against shadow economy as appropriate measures for achieving the
required consolidation in the national budget.
“We would like to see the donors to respect our plan for fighting the shadow economy. There has been
comparatively little cooperation in this regard,” the minister told the press, adding that currently the
international donors were to a large extent overlooking the measures to curb the shadow
economy which was an important aspect for Latvia and an option for increasing revenues from
taxes.
Vilks said that the international donors – the European Commission and the International
Monetary Fund – were major partners for Latvia and without them it would not be possible to
revive the Latvian economy and finance the budget deficit. Therefore Latvia and the donors
have to cooperate but there was a question of flexibility – Latvia would like the donors to be
more conceding in some areas, the finance minister said.
The Latvian budget for 2011 passed by the Saeima (parliament) at the very end of last year
provides for a fiscal consolidation in the amount of LVL 290.7 million (EUR 413.6 mln). But the
international donors announced that this consolidation was insufficient and that additional
structural measures of LVL 50 million (EUR 71.1 mln) would be needed in 2011.

Economics
Latvia to Focus on Countries with Largest Outbound Investments in Search for Investors
On January 25, Latvia in its search for foreign investments will focus on the countries with the
largest outbound investments through new initiative – Polaris strategy, Māris Ēlerts, the deputy
director of the Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIAA), said at the meeting of the
parliamentary committee on public expenditure and auditing. Polaris strategy would be
submitted to the Council for Coordination of Large and Strategically Important Investment
Projects.
The Polaris envisages investment attraction, which provides for coordinate actions among
ministries, local governments, infrastructure companies and public authorities in implementation
of strategically important local and foreign investment projects.
The Polaris calls for increased efforts to attract foreign direct investments for projects that are
export-oriented, would allow import of substitute products, bring to Latvia innovative
technologies, turn out products with high added value and help to improve the country’s
competitiveness.
The priority areas for investment under the Polaris strategy are wood-processing, mechanical
engineering and metalworking, logistics, transit and warehousing services, green technologies, IT,
health care. The priority markets could be the countries with the largest outbound investments –
the US, France, Germany, Japan, India, Greece. Investors will be sought also on the markets that
might be interested in investing in the priority areas in Latvia, the LIAA official said, adding that
the Scandinavian countries, the Czech Republic and China could be such markets.

                                                                                                      2
Latvia Supports Focused EU Cohesion Policy in Future
On January 31, Latvia supports focused European Union (EU) Cohesion policy in the future,
said Finance Ministry’s spokeswoman Baiba Melnace, adding that on Monday and Tuesday the
Fifth Cohesion Forum takes place in Brussels to discuss the EU cohesion policy after 2013.
“Taking into account the significant differences in social and economic development indicators among the
EU member states and regions, and that the EU structural funds and the Cohesion Fund are the only
resources available for Latvia’s development, the EU cohesion policy is a very important issue for
Latvia,” said Melnace. Melnace added that Latvia believes that the cohesion policy after 2013
should retain its initial goal to diminish differences between lower-developed regions and the rest
of the EU. Latvia supports allocation of cohesion policy resources focusing on support to the
less-developed regions and member states.
“Latvia’s position is that the cohesion policy should be focused territorially and thematically, leading to
significant results and added value Therefore a system should be set up which would made each territory to
select and introduce a certain number of thematic priorities, clearly defined and understandable, ensuring
efficient achievement of goals. Such policy would avoid a situation when the cohesion policy support is
provided in a wide territory and to a wide range of priorities without any deep analysis. Latvia believes
that all EU budget instruments should contribute to reaching goals of “Europe 2020”,” said Melnace.

Bailed-Out Parex Bank Not to Need Government Support to Repay Syndicated Loan
On January 26, bailed-out Parex Bank will not need additional government support to repay its
syndicated loan, said Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis in an interview with Latvian
commercial television LNT.
He underscored that the management of Parex Bank has to ensure repayment of the syndicated
loan from its own resources and the prime minister hopes the bank will complete this task.
Bank’s board chairman Christopher Gwilliam told BNS news agency earlier that Parex Bank will
probably be able to repay its syndicated loan without financial assistance from the government.
“The [syndicated] loan has a government guarantee, and we are working very hard therefore to recover as
much money as possible and there was no need for the government to get involved. There are potential
resources to do without the government guarantee. We are quite sure that the government will not have to
get involved,” Gwilliam said.
Under an agreement, reached with the syndicated lenders in March 2009, Parex Bank has already
repaid 70% of the total amount and is due to repay the remaining 30% or LVL 163 million
(EUR 232 mln) in 2011.

Retail 2010 Overall Shows Cautious Growth
On January 28, Retail turnover (in comparative prices, seasonal effect excluded) dropped in
December 1.4% month-on-month. Taking into account the deterioration in the mood of both
consumers and merchants at the end of the year against the background of drafting the state
budget, such a result was not unexpected.
“As usual, there was a seasonal shopping boom at the end of the year, leading to the largest amount in
retail sales during the whole year,” Mārtiņš Āboliņš, the head of the Macroeconomics Unit under
the Finance Ministry's Department of Economic Analysis, said.
Compared to the lowest crisis point in sales (December 2009), the volume of retail sales has
gained 8.1% (13.8% including car sales). Over the course of the year, the sales volumes of
durable goods – automobiles, furniture, household appliances, and construction materials – have
increased rather substantially. By and large it indicates postponed consumption, i.e. a more active
use of savings developed during the crisis.
“Speaking about last year in general, 2010 can be seen as the first year of growth, just like in all sectors
of the economy, because it demonstrated a rather healthy pace of recovery against the lowest point of the
                                                                                                          3
crisis at the end of 2009. Although retail sales in 2009 declined at a more steep rate compared to the
growth in 2010, the current pace of recovery gives grounds for optimism about gradual growth in future ,”
Āboliņš said.
For further information see:
http://www.csb.gov.lv/en/notikumi/retail-trade-turnover-2010-31832.html

Chinese Company Buys Latvia’s World Expo 2010 Pavilion
On January 26, a Chinese company from the Liaoning province in north-eastern China has
bought Latvia’s pavilion with a vertical wind tunnel that had attracted huge numbers of visitors
during the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, the Economics Ministry said.
“Of nearly 200 pavilions at the World Expo 2010, the Latvian wind tunnel will be one of a few to
continue providing inspiration to visitors, including millions of tourists from around the world. Its
installation in Beijing where the wind tunnel will operate with Latvia’s name is a great success and a
good platform for Latvian business exports to the Chinese markets. As a result, there will be a far-
reaching economic effect from Latvia’s participation in the World Expo 2010,” Economics Minister
Artis Kampars said in a statement for the press.
An agreement has been signed about selling the Latvian pavilion to the Chinese company for
CHY 8 million (EUR 890 thousand). The pavilion with the wind tunnel will be moved to Beijing
and is expected to become operational already this year.

Foreign Affairs
90th Anniversary of Latvia's de iure International Recognition Remembered
On January 26 at the Foreign Ministry, President Valdis Zatlers, Prime Minister Valdis
Dombrovskis and Foreign Minister Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis opened an exhibition marking the
90th anniversary of the de iure recognition of the Republic of Latvia in 1921 by the Supreme
Council of the Entente Powers, and thanked diplomats and Foreign Ministry’s employees for
their work for Latvia.
Zatlers reminded that achieving the de iure recognition of Latvia’s independence had not been
easy, but on January 26 ninety years ago Latvia was able to establish diplomatic relations with
other countries. “Today marks the 90th anniversary of a service that has been working all these years
without interruption,” said Zatlers.
Dombrovskis also stressed that the de iure recognition of of Latvia was possible thanks to
Latvia’s diplomats, who were able to keep this status for the country also during the 50 years of
soviet occupation.
Kristovskis noted that on January 26, 1921, Foreign Minister Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics and
Latvian diplomats achieved de iure recognition of the statehood of Latvia and the inclusion of
Latvia in the family of European and world countries. After 1940, when Latvia lost
independence de facto, Latvian diplomatic and consular services continued to represent the
country de iure in the free world. This ensured successful resumption of the Foreign Ministry’s
work after the restoration of Latvia's independence in 1991 and Latvia’s swift return to the
international arena.
For further information see:
http://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/news/press-releases/2011/january/28-1/

Latvian Foreign Minister Presents Foreign Policy Priorities to Saeima
On January 27, Foreign Minister Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis, addressing the Saeima (parliament) at
the foreign policy debates, revised the achievements of the past years and presented further
challenges and priorities.


                                                                                                       4
Kristovskis said that Latvia’s foreign policy priorities are: sustaining the image of Latvia as a
trustworthy partner for cooperation in the European Union (EU) and in the Euro – Atlantic
space; enhancing support to outgoing business making Latvia more technology driven and
competitive; and providing quality support to Latvian nationals throughout the world.
Speaking about the first priority, Kristovskis underscored the necessity to enforce the collective
security system. Minister noted that the consolidation of Latvia’s budget for 2011 must not
jeopardize country’s participation in the ISAF mission. At the same time, minister stressed the
need for closer cooperation between NATO and the EU.
Speaking about achievements in 2010, Kristovskis said that Latvia has consistently made use of
the opportunities opened up by the Lisbon Treaty and foreign policy coordination in an EU
framework. Latvia also successfully chaired the Baltic Council of Ministers and coordinated
Baltic – Nordic cooperation.
As concerns Latvia’s EU membership, Kristovskis said that at the EU level Latvia has acquired a
new instrument which still has an unexplored potential - the European External Action Service.
Minister voiced regret that development cooperation policy has been undeservedly neglected and
relies, for the most part, on initiatives of NGOs and their projects. Kristovskis highlighted
Latvia’s upcoming EU presidency as a major challenge and said that due preparations and
capacity building measures had to be started immediately.
Kristovskis also spoke about support to Latvian businessmen in international markets as one of
his priorities reflected in the government declaration, “[..] foreign service [..] is a unique “support
network of the business interests of Latvia”, of which there is no equal either inside or outside of Latvia.
Focused use should be made of this network when promoting Latvia's external economic activities, in
developing contacts and in marketing,” minister said.
Speaking about relations with the neighbouring countries, Kristovskis underscored cooperation
with the Eastern Partnership countries, the Scandinavian countries and the Baltic states, as well
as Germany and Poland. Minister also spoke about relations with the US, Russia and Belarus.
In the conclusion, Kristovskis emphasised that the Foreign Ministry has committed itself to
improving cooperation with diaspora in their countries of residence.
See speech by Foreign Minister at the Foreign Policy Debate in the Saeima:
http://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/news/speeches/2011/27-1/

President Discusses Foreign Policy Priorities Whilst Meeting With Ambassadors
On January 24, at the Rīga Castle, President Valdis Zatlers met with accredited members of the
foreign diplomatic corps in Latvia. This was a traditional meeting which president always
organises at the beginning of the year. He addressed his audience and expressed appreciation of
the co-operation and support which foreign ambassadors have provided for Latvia over the past
year. He also summarised foreign policy achievements in 2010 and foreign policy goals in 2011.
“The main goal of Latvia’s foreign policy for 2010 was to promote and strengthen Latvia’s
competitiveness. I refer to economic competitiveness in the global market and political competitiveness in
international politics,” Zatlers noted.
President reviewed in detail the four tasks he had set for himself: “First, fostering bilateral economic
cooperation. [..] Second, significant work has been done and excellent results achieved ensuring our
security through NATO and strengthening the strategic partnership with the United States. [..] Third,
2010 was an active year in strengthening Latvia’s role in the framework of the European Union. [..]
During 2010 we have achieved significant breakthrough in developing good neighbourly relations with
Russia, based on mutual advantage and mutual respect.”
Zatlers also said that “the main goal for the year 2011 is to firmly put Latvia back on the road to
economic growth and to successfully move towards the completion of the economic recovery program by
joining Euro in 2014.” President indicated at security, the EU-related matters, Eastern
                                                                                                          5
Partnership, bilateral co-operation, a continued dialogue with Russia as priority areas for his
foreign policy efforts this year.
See address by President Zatlers at a reception to the diplomatic corps accredited to Latvia:
http://www.president.lv/pk/content/?art_id=16801

Saeima Speaker Points out Importance of Cooperation between Latvia and Estonia
On January 27, during a meeting with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in Tallinn,
Saeima (parliament) Chairwoman Solvita Āboltiņa accented the close historical links between
Latvia and Estonia, as well as the importance of continued cooperation.
“Our fates have been intertwined for many centuries. Together, we were able to regain our independence,
join the European Union and NATO, and are now looking for the most effective solutions to modern
challenges,” Āboltiņa emphasised.
Āboltiņa also pointed out the importance of the expanded Baltic – Nordic dialogue, and added
that closer cooperation between the eight countries in the region would increase each country’s
role in the region, as well as the region’s influence in global affairs.
Discussing economic cooperation, Āboltiņa congratulated Estonia on introducing the euro, and
confirmed Latvia’s resolve to introduce the euro by 2014.
Āboltiņa also participated at the academic seminar to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the de
iure recognition of Estonia, saying: “We should bear in mind that the Baltic states renewed their de
iure status by joint efforts in fights for freedom and in diplomacy”.
For further information see:
1) http://www.saeima.lv/en/news/saeima-news/18075-speaker-solvita-aboltina-discusses-
    cooperation-among-the-baltic-states-with-the-president-of-estonia
2) http://www.saeima.lv/en/news/saeima-news/18070-speaker-aboltina-the-baltic-states-
    renewed-their-de-iure-status-by-joint-efforts-in-fights-for-freed

U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Davidson Talks Restitution Matters in Rīga
Between January 24 and 26, the U.S. Department of State Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues
Douglas Davidson visited Latvia to discuss the restitution of Jewish communal and heirless
property confiscated during the Holocaust era. Davidson had a number of meetings with high-
ranking Latvian officials. Now that the Jewish community in Latvia has been restored, the U.S.
wishes to support the dialogue between Latvian government and the community, explained the
U.S. Embassy.
President Valdis Zatlers estimated the meetings between the visiting Special Envoy for
Holocaust Davidson and the Latvian officials as a dialogue and a joint solution-seeking.
After the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee session, Davidson expressed a view that Jewish
properties confiscated during the Holocaust era must be returned to Latvia’s Jewish community,
not compensated with money. He allowed the possibility that a legislative solution would be
necessary to resolve the problem of properties that now belong to other people.
During the meeting with Foreign Minister Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis and Ministry’s State Secretary
Andris Teikmanis, the parties shared the opinion that the process of restitution should be
transparent. It is based solely on the principle of historical justice, because Latvia cannot be held
responsible for crimes perpetrated in the territory of Latvia by two occupying powers during
World War II.

Foreign Ministry State Secretary Teikmanis Visits Berlin
On January 24 and 25, Foreign Ministry Secretary of State Andris Teikmanis was on a visit in
Berlin and met a number of high – ranking German officials as a follow – up to the dialogue
launched during the visit to Latvia by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

                                                                                                     6
During the meeting with his German counterpart Wolf – Ruthart Born, Teikmanis discussed
bilateral relations, including potential joint projects and exchange visits. The parties shared
opinions on energy security in the Baltic Sea Region, the EU’s Neighbourhood Policy, and
Latvia’s relations with its Baltic Sea Region neighbours. Born briefed Teikmanis on Germany’s
position in financial stabilisation in the Eurozone and strong resolve to support fiscal discipline
among the Eurozone countries.
Teikmanis and Economics Ministry State Secretary Juris Pūce met with Bernd Pfaffenbach, State
Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Industry to discuss the intensification of
economic relations and the enhancement of German investment to match mutual trade volumes.
Germany is currently second largest trade partner and fourth largest investor in Latvia. The
parties talked about opportunities for investing into high value added production in wood and
metal industries, engineering and pharmacy. The parties agreed to organise an exchange of visits
by ministers of economy and business delegations. Besides, the parties reviewed the Baltic energy
market interconnection plan that requires support from Germany. The plan includes also the
development of a liquefied natural gas terminal on the eastern coast of the Baltic.

Foreign Ministry and French Embassy Organise Lecture and Discussion
On January 25, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in association with the Embassy of France in
Latvia, hosted a public lecture and discussion titled “De iure recognition of Latvia. Viewpoints”
commemorating the 90th anniversary of the historic landmark. The discussion was dedicated to
the role of France in the history of Latvia from 1918 to 1921.
The French perspective was presented by Dr. Hist. Julien Gueslin, a holder of the Duroselle
Award for his “La France et les “petits” États baltes: Réalités baltes, perceptions françaises et ordre
européen (1920-1932)”, and author to a number of other publications on the subject of the Baltic
states and their relations with France in the context of European interbellum history. Dr.
Gueslin said: “Latvia's de iure recognition marked a new turn in the development of foreign policy of
France and other great powers. In the new Europe that the French diplomacy wanted to shape, France
recognised not only the right of the Latvian nation to its statehood but also its ability to contribute to
stabilising Baltic and Eastern European space and securing peace.”
The associate professor of the Faculty of History and Philosophy at the University of Latvia, Dr.
Hist. Ēriks Jēkabsons, for his part, said that joint research on common pages in history adds to
stronger relations between the countries and to greater awareness about the place of Latvia on
the European map. He also highlighted the role of France in Latvia's de iure recognition.

Latvian Family Repatriate from Cuba
On January 28, after years of efforts, Latvian Diāna Neimane and her children received the
necessary documents to repatriate from Cuba. Diāna’s son Linards and his family arrived in Rīga
overnight into January 28. They had had the greatest difficulties getting expatriation documents
from the authorities of the Communist state, because Linards and his wife are surgeons. Upon
return, Foreign Minister Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis welcomed Dr. Neimanis and his family at the
Foreign Ministry.
Latvian MP Vjačeslavs Stepaņenko, while visiting Cuba in 2007, met Dr. Neimanis and learned
about the Latvian family’s efforts to return to Latvia. The breakthrough in the case was achieved
during the UN General Assembly in New York in 2009 where Latvia’s then Foreign Minister
Māris Riekstiņš had a chance to talk in person with his Cuban counterpart.
Diāna Neimane has two other sons who are Latvian citizens. The eldest son, who managed to
get away from Cuba by paying a bribe, is now living and working in the U.S.. Diāna’s youngest is
expected to arrive in Latvia after he finishes school.


                                                                                                        7
The Foreign Ministry would like to note joint efforts by the Latvian and Cuban authorities that
helped the Latvian family, and in particular, personal contribution by Odita Krenberga, journalist
from TV3 broadcaster, who sustained regular contacts with the Neimanis family.

Society
Latvians Top Sliding Sport Events Last Weekend
On January 28, Martins Dukurs of Latvia sealed the skeleton World Cup title at St. Moritz by
winning his fourth race of the season. The defending champion had a combined two-run time of
2 minutes, 16.54 seconds Friday, edging Frank Rommel of Germany by 0.35 seconds.
Dukurs has 1,494 points with one race remaining and an unassailable 228-point lead over
German Sandro Stielicke. He was fourth on Friday. Dukurs, the Vancouver Olympics silver
medalist, also won the European Championship title last weekend.
On January 30, Edgars Maskalāns of Latvia won a four-man bobsled World Cup event Sunday
for his first victory of the season in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Maskalāns used the fastest second run to clock a combined 2 minutes, 9.34 seconds, beating
first-run leader Beat Hefti piloting Switzerland 2 by 0.03 seconds.
European champion Manuel Machata guided Germany 1 into third to maintain his lead in the
overall standings.

13th International Ice Sculpture Festival in Jelgava: February 6 – 13
Though cold and often unpleasant, winter is the only time to enjoy sculptures created from... ice.
The 13th International Ice Sculpture Festival displaying perfectly made artwork from ice blocks
will be held for a week in Jelgava. From February 6 to 13, in case of good weather, even to the
20th, around 30 Latvian and foreign artists will create pieces under the theme “My Religion”.
The annual International Ice Sculpture Festival has become a venue for internationally-known
sculptors to exchange experience and make new discoveries in creating sculptures from ice and
snow. During the Festival, everyone will have an opportunity to follow the creation process of
both small and big sculptures. All will be openly showcased from February 6 to 10. The festival
will also feature some works from snow. Ice slide, two ice bars, creative workshops, open stage
and various musical events are also on the programme!
For further information see:
www.icelv.lv

Novel by Ikstena Translated into Georgian
Latvian writer Nora Ikstena”s novel “Dzīves svinēšana” (Celebrating Life, 1998) is the first
Latvian contemporary prose work translated into Georgian. Up to today, the novel has seen
publications in Danish, Swedish, Russian, and Estonian.
Last year a poem by Aleksandrs Čaks was released in Georgian, while Imants Ziedonis's
“Coloured Tales” will be published in the near future. Translation of Ikstena’s novel was
presented on January 21 with a public reading in Latvian and Georgian by translator Mzia
Koberidze, accompanied by the music of Georgian singer Maia Baratashvili.

Latvia’s Rich Church Pipe – Organ Traditions
Latvia is blessed with many outstanding pipe-organs and talented musicians who maintain the
country’s rich church organ traditions. There are still approximately 300 historical pipe-organs in
Latvia built before 1945. Many people believe that Riga is not only an Art Nouveau metropolis,
but also a romantic organ metropolis.
The magnificent pipe-organ featured at the Rīga Dome Church is really a work of art in itself,
and is one of the most precious historical organs left in the world. The acoustics at the Dome

                                                                                                 8
Church is remarkable, which makes the church’s pipe-organ sound unbelievable when it is
played.
The organ at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Liepāja was constructed in 1758. When the
cathedral’s organ was expanded in 1885, it became the largest in the world at the time. The Holy
Trinity Cathedral held the honour of having the world’s largest organ until 1912, and is still one
of the largest in the world until this day.
Organ concerts at the Dome Church take place at least twice a week, when it is possible to hear
experienced organists perform, as well as younger musicians still learning the ropes. Larger and
smaller concerts and music festivals are held in many Latvian churches throughout the year.

Articles of Interest
BBC “Lessons from Latvia”
Business Daily's Lesley Curwen has been speaking to Latvia's Prime Minister, Valdis
Dombrovskis about how he thinks the economy is doing.
For full interview see:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12279815

Marathon Pundit blog “Twenty Years Ago: Latvia’s Barricade Days”
An almost forgotten event in the fall of the Soviet Union was the attempt by Soviet troop and an
elite police unit, OMON, to crush the independence movements in the three Baltic states –
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in 1991.
For full blog see:
http://marathonpundit.blogspot.com/2011/01/twenty-years-ago-latvias-barricade-days.html

THE LATVIAN INSTITUTE
The Latvian Institute promotes knowledge about Latvia abroad. It produces informative materials and
works closely with international media professionals in developing a wide variety of communications
projects.
Contacts:
Elizabetes 57 (6th floor)
Rīga, LV – 1050, LATVIA
Phone: (+371) 67503663
Fax:     (+371) 67503669
E-mail: info@li.lv
www: www.li.lv
Twitter: www.twitter.com/LatviaInstitute




                                                                                                 9

								
To top