No. 19




Latvia and its layers

18 June 2009


RiTo No. 19, 2009

The poor condition of the Latvian economy is common knowledge, the author acknowledges. There has been very much discussion and writing on the subject recently in Estonia. But what does the average Estonian know about other facets, corners and recesses of life in Latvia?

What do educated Estonians know about the origin of the Latvian language? What do the Estonian journalists who write about Latvia in dailies know about the Latvian people? Especially if they have met only a random beggar and a few disillusioned casino patrons and aroused strong feelings in conversation with them. Or two politicians, who represent their own camp, whether it happens to be the opposition or the ruling coalition. What does a self-professed “cultured” Estonian know about the layers of Latvian culture, whether we are talking about soil strata, or thoughts and mindsets, on paper and hard disks? In the opinion of the author, the only thing that has made Estonians pay more attention than usual to the politics and everyday joys and concerns of their southern neighbour was Latvian President Valdis Zatlers’s two-day visit to Estonia in April. There has been relatively little talk in the Estonian press of anything else that would provide fodder for discussion, analysis, study, description of Latvian themes. There are good reasons, but little initiative. This leads the author to repeat his conviction that both capitals should have least one journalist from a major newspaper or other media channel. This is not a marketing strategy, but a question of national culture and national security, and naturally also of guaranteeing a better future.

Full article in Estonian