Nina Samonova has lived in Latvia for 75 years and worked as a French and Russian teacher until her retirement. She has a daughter, a son, and two grandchildren, all of whom are Latvian citizens and after years of discussion on the subject within the family finally decided the right thing to do was to become a citizen herself.
"In my family, everyone is now a citizen... it's all in order, now I'll be a citizen," said Nina before her citizenship ceremony.
Asked if the process had been difficult Nina replied: "No, I don't think so."
Despite some initial doubts that she would be able to learn the necessary historical and constitutional facts, plus pass a Latvian language test, her determination and application saw her through, according to her daughter, Margarita Baumgarte, who attended the ceremony alongside her mother and said Nina's new Latvian passport might be used to visit her granddaughter in London.
"It's a unique case. We have consulted with our colleagues all over Latvia, and this is the first such case they can remember," said Ģirts Pommers of the Office of Citizenship and Migration.
Every year, an average of 1,000 people receive citizenship through naturalization. Since 1995, when naturalization began, 146,000 persons have become citizens of Latvia by this method.
Congratulations for Nina's nonagenarian achievement were widespread on social media. Rihards Kols (National Alliance), chairman of the Saeima's foreign affairs committee, said Nina was "an example to all of what is and is not possible, of what is difficult and what isn't. It is a pleasure to welcome such a person among the citizens of Latvia!"
Ņinas kundze visiem parāda, kas ir un kas nav iespējams, kas ir grūti un - kas nav. Prieks uzņemt tādu personību Latvijas pilsoņu pulkā! https://t.co/EC3IITeJS7— Rihards Kols (@RihardsKols) May 28, 2019
Popular singer Lauris Reiniks joined the chorus of praise too, saying Nina showed it is "never too late" to achieve great things.
Mans absolūtais vakara prieks! 👏👏👏 Bravo Ņinai Samonovas kundzei! 97 gados saņemties nokārtot Latvijas pilsonību! 🇱🇻❤ Sev un pārējiem nenovēlu neko daudz. Iesākumam- aizvilkt līdz 97. Tad domāsim, ko varētu izdarīt! 😉☝️ #NekadNavParVēlu pic.twitter.com/LZjpyPFPea— Lauris Reiniks (@LaurisReiniks) May 28, 2019