+371 is the dialing code for Latvia.
Latvia is opposite Gotland on the Baltic coast. After independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Latvia became a member of both the EU and NATO. 2008 – 2010, the country struggled through Europe’s worst economic crisis and in the new year 2014, Latvia joined the euro zone.
- Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of Latvia, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Latvia is located on the Baltic Sea between Estonia in the north and Lithuania in the south. In the east the country borders Russia and in the southeast to Belarus. Latvia corresponds to about one-seventh of Sweden’s area. The distance to Gotland is about 15 km.
Latvia consists of a small hilly plateau with many rivers that flows into the Baltic Sea, as well as a few thousand lakes, most in the east. A coastal plain stretches along the approximately 50-mile coast to the west. More than half of the country’s area is less than 100 meters above sea level and about two-fifths of the country is covered by forest.
Latvia has a changing climate. In the eastern parts of the country it can be described as continental with large temperature differences between summer and winter. In the west it is more maritime. There, the summers are relatively warm and the winters not very cold.
The proximity to the Baltic Sea provides humid air, cloudy and relatively abundant rainfall. It rains most during the latter part of summer and autumn. On the coast in the west, the winter’s average temperature is only a few degrees below zero, while it can be more than 30 degrees cold and large amounts of snow against the Russian border in the east.
|Cultivated land||29.2 %|
|Land area||64589 km 2|
Population and health
|Population development||-1.06 ‰|
|Urban population (Urbanization)||67.4 %|
|Death rate||14.31 per 1000 residents|
|Life expectancy: Women||79.07 years|
|Life expectancy: Men||69.62 years|
|Birth rate||10 births per 1000 residents|
|Infant mortality||5.36 deaths / 1000 births|
Population Graph Source: Countryaah.com
|Electricity, production||6008 million kWh|
|Energy consumption per resident||2170.6 kg. oil per resident|
|Natural gas, production||million cubic meters|
|Crude oil, production||million tons|
|Internet users||76.5 per 100 residents|
|Mobile subscriptions||126 per 100 residents|
|Passenger cars||319 per 1000 residents|
Business and economics
|Unemployment||8.7% of the workforce|
|GDP||24700 per resident|
|Primary occupations||8.8 %|
|Secondary profession||24 %|
|Tertiary professions||67.2 %|
FACTS – GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
64 589 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Estonia, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania
Capital with number of residents
Riga 764 300
Other major cities
Daugavpils 113,000, Liepaja 87,000, Jelgava 66,000, Jurmala 55,000, Ventspils 44,000 (estimate 2002)
Gaizinkalns (312 m asl)
Daugava, Venta, Lielupe, Gauja
Lubans, Razna, Engure, Usma, Burtneiks
Average Precipitation / year
Riga 617 mm
Average / day
Riga 17 °C (July), -3 °C (Jan)
The Foreign Minister announces homosexuality
That such a high-ranking person as Edgar Rinkēvič’s “come out” is very unusual in the socially strong conservative Latvia, where the prejudice against same-sex relationships is widespread. In the long run, his message is believed to be able to increase acceptance for homosexuals.
Straujuma continues as prime minister
One month after the parliamentary elections, Straujuma gets the assignment to continue leading the government. Most ministers are allowed to keep their posts.
The government parties retain a majority
The four parties to the last government together get 61 of the 100 seats in the parliamentary elections. Unity retains the position as the government’s strongest party and increases from 20 to 23 seats. The Harmonic Center remains the largest party, but backs from 31 seats to 24. Concerns over Russia’s possibly aggressive intentions in the Baltic countries are believed to have received many ethnic leanings to leave the Putin-friendly party. Two new parties are able to pass the five percent block: For Latvia from the heart, which among other things profiled in the fight against corruption gets seven seats, and the Latvian Regions Association, which is an association of local small parties, gets eight seats. Voter turnout is the lowest since Latvia regained its independence in 1991, provisionally 58.8 percent. The lowest interest was in the area along the border with Russia and Belarus. (4/10)
Russian entertainment artists are stopped
A number of Russian artists are banned from performing in Latvia. Foreign Minister Edgar Rinkēvičs describes them as active propagandists who “aggressively” supported the Russian annexation of Crimea.
Measures against Russian threat
The government decides, with the support of NATO, to open a “strategic communication center” to counter what is perceived as a Russian “information war” directed at Latvia’s large Russian minority. The resolution is supported by Parliament, which at the same time approves that defense spending more than doubles by 2020 to achieve NATO’s recommendation of at least 2 percent of GDP.
Unity greatest in EU elections
The election to the European Parliament is superior to the Unity party, which receives just over 46 percent of the vote. In second place comes the National Alliance, which wins a little more than 14 percent of the vote, while the Harmonic Center receives 13 percent and the League of Green and Peasants more than 8 percent. The last mandate goes to the Latvian Russian Union.
Russian TV channel is banned
The Latvian Media Council stops the Russian Russian TV channel Rossija RTR for three months, citing its unbalanced and propagandistic reporting on the conflict in Ukraine. Similar measures are being taken in Lithuania.
Concerns after Crimean annexation
In a joint letter, the President, the Prime Minister and the President urge the people to avoid political activities that can create tension and dissatisfaction in society. The statement is to be seen in light of the concern that has arisen in several former Soviet republics with large Russian minorities following Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula. At the same time, Latvia is once again being criticized by the UN Human Rights Committee for discrimination in the labor market by Russian-speaking residents.
Minister gets fired
Prime Minister Straujuma dismisses Minister of the Environment Einārs Cilinskis after announcing his intention to participate in a parade organized by veterans of the Latvian Legion, an organization that, during the Second World War, stood on the side of the German Nazis against the Soviet forces. The annual parade has been regarded by many as a glorification of the SS-led legion.
First female prime minister
Agriculture Minister Laimdota Straujuma forms a broad government with four of Parliament’s five parties. The only opposition party is the pro-Russian Harmonic Center. The new government is supported by 64 of the 100 members.
Latvia member of the euro zone
Latvia becomes the 18th euro country, when the Latvian currency is allowed at New Year is exchanged for euro. (See Current Politics and Economics)