Latvia quietly marks 30 years of restored independence

Ceremonies, speeches and gatherings around tables are usually the order of the day across Latvia May 4 when the country marks the restoration of its independence, but with COVID-19 emergency measures still in place, this year's 30-year celebrations are a little quieter and more private than originally planned, though no less significant for that.

President Egils Levits took part in a flower-laying ceremony at the Freedom Monument in central Rīga where an impressive floral arrangement in the shape of Latvia was awaiting him.

The President also gave a short speech in which he reflected on history.

"In the crucial vote on 4 May, our deputies confirmed the clear will of the people. Therefore, today, as we celebrate 30 years since the restoration of Latvia's independence, first of all, I would like to thank the hundreds of thousands of people who selflessly and bravely, setting aside their ordinary lives, won the restoration of Latvia's independence 30 years ago," Levits said.

Other officials were also quick to mark the occasion online, with Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņs offering congratulations to all who "have Latvia in their hearts".

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said the last 30 years had been a "remarkable journey".

The Republic of Latvia was proclaimed on November 18, 1918, however the Latvian calendar marks the Independence Restoration Day as well. Latvians lost the state they found to totalitarian aggressors of the period – Soviet Union and Nazi Germany – during and after World War II.

Documents

4th May events in English.pdf

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The long years of Soviet occupation came to an end on May 4, 1990 as the parliament of Latvia restored independence. You can re-live those heady days in these pictures from the time

This motion began a democratic transitional period until a full restoration of the constitution. The transition was finalized in 1993 when fresh Saeima elections took place.

The attached PDF file gives a fuller account of the events of that time, along with the broader historical context.

The timeline of events is shown in the graphic below, produced by the Saeima press service in 2014.

May 4 restoration of Latvian independence
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