Timeline Latvia / Livonija
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World History KLMA: http://www.stabi.hs-bremerhaven.de/gbs2/whkmla/
Remnants of the Liv tribe (Livonians), a coastal
Finno-Ugric group, live in Mazirbe, Latvia.
(CNT, 3/04, p.145)(www.virmus.com)
365Mil BC In 2008 scientists unearthed a
skull, dating to about this time, of the most primitive
four-legged creature in Earth's history, which should help them
better understand the evolution of fish to advanced animals that
walk on land. The fossil skull, shoulders and part of the pelvis
of the water-dweller, Ventastega curonica, were found in Latvia. Go to http://www.timelinesdb.com
1190s After trade was
established between Germany and Livonia the German missionary
Meingard, later made bishop, preached among the Livonians and
converted a good number.
(H of L, 1931, p.25)
1198 A German Bishop shipped
up the Baltic with armed forces and attacked the native people of
Livonia. The attack was repulsed.
(Ist. L.H., 1948, p.39-40)
1200 Bishop Albert was
selected leader of the Knights of the Cross. He led 23 ships of
armed soldiers up the Baltic to Livonian lands at the mouth of the
(Ist. L.H., 1948, p.39-40)
1201 The Germans founded the
city of Riga in Livonia, now Latvia, and built a castle
under the direction of Bishop Albert, leader of the Knights of the
(Ist. L.H., 1948, p.39-40)
1211 In Latvia construction
began on Riga’s Lutheran Cathedral.
(SSFC, 7/22/07, p.G5)
1228 A record in the Livonian
Statute of A.D. 1228 stated that the death penalty will be imposed
on those attempting to debase silver by adding to it even 1/16
part of other base metals. This is the reason why silver bar kapas
/ roubles, whenever found in Baltic States, are always nearly
1249 Feb 7, The Christburg
Peace Treaty forced the Prussians to recognize the rule of the
Teutonic Knights. Within about 50 years the Teutonic Knights and
Knights of the Cross had overcome most of Prussia and established
German as the dominant culture and language. The German orders
then turned to Lithuania.
(H of L, 1931, p.25)(LHC, 2/7/03)
1261 Feb 3, Samogitian
fighters defeated the Livonian Knights of the Cross at Lielvarde.
1263 Feb 9, A Lithuania army
under Treniota defeated the Livonian Knights of the Cross.
1270 Feb 16, In the Karusa
Ice war in Estonia, Lithuanian forces defeated the Livonian
Knights of the Cross.
1279 Mar 5,
Lithuanians overcame Livonian forces at Aizkraukle.
1297 The people of Riga rose
against the Teutonic Knights. The local Bishop asked Vytenis of
Lithuania to help and the Knights were pushed back. This opened a
northern trade route for Vytenis for weapons and supplies.
(Ist. L.H., 1948, p. 50)
1298 Mar 30, Duke Vytenis
joined with Riga and its archbishop against the Livonian order.
1324 Feb 10, The pope
officially chastised the Knights of the Cross for ill treatment of
Catholics and for pushing pagans away from Christianity.
1330 Mar 23, Riga surrendered
to the Livonian Order.
1336 Feb 25, The
Knights of the Cross sieged the Pilenai Castle in Samogitia. The
defenders burned all their goods and committed suicide.
1361 Mar 21, Grand duke
Kestutis was captured by the Knights of the Cross.
1402 Mar 2, In
Marienburg Svitrigaila crossed over to the Knights of the Cross
and promised to uphold the Salyn treaty that was broken by
1416 Feb 6, A Samogitian
complaint against the Knights of the Cross was read at the
Catholic Church Council at Constance.
1416 Feb 13, A Lithuanian and
Polish delegation read their grievances against the Teutonic
Knights at the Church Council at Constance.
1501 Mar 1, Lithuania
and Livonia established a 10-year union for protection against
1561 Poland-Lithuania gaining
control over Livonia. In response Sweden seized the territory of
Estonia with the major port of Reval. Denmark, also invested
in the war, seized the Livonian Islands.
1562 Mar 4,The Archdiocese
of Riga was attached to Lithuania.
1569 Jul 1, Latvia Parliament
accepted the Union of Lublin and was incorporated into Poland.
1581 Jan 14, The city of Riga
joined the Polish-Lithuanian union.
1582 Jan 15, Russia ceded
Livonia and Estonia to Poland, and lost access to Baltic.
1605 Sep 27, Jan Karol
Chodkiewicz (1560-1621), Lithuanian Hetman (Jonas Karolis
Katkevičius-Katkus), led Lithuanian and Polish forces to victory
against a Swedish army at Kircholm, Latvia. Chodkiewicz carried
the day in a victory that, taking into account the disparity of
power and strategic result, was huge. It is estimated that 6000
Swedes died. Sweden’s King Charles IX was wounded.
1651 Oct 26, Courlander
Gambia was established as a Latvian colony.
1700 Feb 22, Augustus
II (the Strong), elector of Saxony (1694-1733) and King of Poland
(1697-1706, 1709-1733), with the help of the Saxon army attacked
Swedish controlled Riga. This began the Northern War (1700-1721).
1840 Cheap land in Russia,
Siberia and the far East promoted Latvian immigration and by WW I
some 500 ethnic colonies were established. Half of these were in
Bashkiria and Siberia.
(BN, 10/96, p.1)
1877 The 1st passenger train
from Riga, Latvia, reached the beach town of Jurmala. By 1911 a
direct route reached to Moscow.
(CNT, 3/04, p.150)
1898 Jan 10, Sergei M.
Eisenstein (d.1948), Russian director (Alexandr Nevski) [OS], was
born in Riga, Latvia. He became a renowned film director in
Russia. In 1999 Ronald Bergan published the biography: "Sergei
Eisenstein: A Life In Conflict."
(SFEC, 5/2/99, BR p.1,10)(MC, 1/10/02)
1899 Rudolf Heinrich Zirkwitz
designed a building in Riga in the Art Nouveau style that in 1997
housed the Latvian insurance firm Riga-Phoenix.
(BN, 7/97, p.6)
1901-1912 George Armistead (1847-1912), a
British citizen, served as mayor of Riga, Latvia.
1903 Sep 25, Mark Rothko
(d.1970), [Marcus Rothkovich] US émigré painter (Green on Blue),
was born in Dvinsk, Russia, later Daugavpils, Latvia. His family
moved to Portland, Ore. in 1913. His work included "Subway"
(1936/1939), "Street Scene" (1936/1938), "Untitled" (1942),
"Untitled" (1942/1943), "Phalanx of the Mind" (1945), "The Source"
(1946), "Sacrificial Moment" (1946), "Number 18" (1948), and
1904 Abram Games (1914-1996),
master of graphic arts, received the Order of the British Empire
in 1958 for his WW II posters. His parents were Latvian immigrants
(SFC, 9/27/96, p.A24)
1905 Walter Zapp (d.2003) was
born in 1905 in Riga, Latvia. He later invented the Minox mini
camera which was featured in spy movies. Zapp died in Switzerland.
1905 Mihails Eizensteins, the
premier Art Nouveau architect of Latvia, built a mansion in Riga.
In 1997 it housed the Latvian campus of the Stockholm School of
(BN, 7/97, p.6)
1905 Peteris Kuzis (aka Janis
Berzins) was active in the Communist Revolution in Latvia. He was
caught by the czarist police but spared due to being under 18.
(BN, 10/96, p.1)
1909 Jan 23, An armed robbery
in Tottenham, North London, resulted in a two-hour chase between
the police and armed criminals over a distance of six miles (10
km), with an estimated 400 rounds of ammunition fired by the
thieves. The robbery was carried out by Paul Helfeld and Jacob
Lepidus, Jewish Latvian immigrants. Of the 23 casualties, two were
fatal and several others serious, among them seven policemen. The
two thieves committed suicide at the end of the pursuit, dubbed
the Tottenham Outrage.
1909 Jun 6, Isaiah Berlin
(d.1997) was born in Riga. He became a professor at Oxford and
wrote numerous essays on the history of political ideas and
concepts of liberty. The family moved to Britain in 1919.
1911 Jan 3, The Siege of
Sidney Street, also known as the Battle of Stepney, was a gunfight
in the East End of London between a combined police and army force
and two Latvian revolutionaries. At the end two bodies were found
were found inside and one fireman was killed as the building
1914-1919 Some 850,000 Latvians moved to Russia
to escape the war zone. In the ensuing war some 300,000 Latvians
(BN, 10/96, p.1)
1915 The Latvian rifleman
regiments were originally formed to defend Riga from the Germans
and liberate rest of the Latvian land.
1917 Sep 3, German troops
overran Riga Latvia.
1917 Sep 17, The German Army
recaptured the Russian [Latvian] Port of Riga from Russian forces.
1917 Karlis Ulmanis founded
the Farmer’s Party. He later became president and is considered by
many as the “father of independent Latvia."
(BN, 10/97, p.1)
1918 Jan 19, The Latvian
rifleman 6th Tukums regiment, sent to defend the Bolshevik
headquarters in Smolny institute in St. Petersburg, took part in
disbanding Russia’s Constituent Assembly.
1918 Feb 15, Estonia, Latvia
& Lithuania adopted the Gregorian calendar.
(440 Int’l., 2/15/99)
1918 Feb 22, Germany claimed
the Baltic states, Finland and Ukraine from Russia.
1918 Mar 3, Germany,
Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and Russia signed
the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which ended Russian participation in
World War I. Germany and Austria forced Soviet Russia to sign the
Peace of Brest, which called for the establishment of 5
independent countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and
Ukraine. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which ended Russian
participation in World War I, was annulled by the November 1918
armistice. The treaty deprived the Soviets of White Russia.
(HN, 3/3/99)(LHC, 3/1/03)(AP, 3/3/08)
1918 Apr 13, The Soviet
Wartime and people’s commissariat issued an order to form Latvian
Soviet rifleman division. The commander in charge was Jukums
Vacietis. It was one of the first divisions in the Red Army.
1918 Nov 13, Soviet Russia
annulled the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty.
1918 Dec 11, Latvia
(LC, 1998, p.30)
1918-1939 During the period of Baltic
independence some 236,000 Latvians returned from Russia.
(BN, 10/96, p.1)
1919 Jan 5, British ships
shelled the Bolshevik headquarters in Riga.
1921 Apr 9, Russo-Polish
conflict ended with the signing of the Riga Treaty.
1926 A Soviet census
indicated that 202,000 persons living in the USSR called
(BN, 10/96, p.1)
1933-1945 In 2008 Latvian filmmaker Edvins
Snore, directed “Soviet Story." It shows the close
connections—philosophical, political and organizational—between
the Nazi and Soviet systems beginning in 1933 thru WWII.
1934 Sep 12, Estonia, Latvia
& Lithuania signed the Baltic Entente in Geneva against the
(LC, 1998, p.24)(MC, 9/12/01)
1935 Latvia erected its
Freedom Monument, a 42-metre (138 ft) high structure in Riga, as
a symbol of resistance to foreign rule.
1936 Peteris Kuzis led a
volunteer battalion against fascism in Spain.
(BN, 10/96, p.2)
1937 Jan, Peteris Kuzis
received an “Order of Lenin" medal for his service in Spain.
(BN, 10/96, p.2)
1937 Nov, Peteris Kuzis was
called to the Kremlin and denounced as a spy. He was arrested and
(BN, 10/96, p.2)
1939 Mar 22, Germany marched
into Klaipeda (Memel), Lithuania. The Lithuanian warship
Prezidentas Smetona was left without a harbor. The ship soon
settled at Latvia’s port of Liepaja. In December Ltn. P.
Labanauskas was named captain. In 1940 Soviet occupiers called for
the ship to raise the Soviet flag, but Captain Labanauskas sailed
the ship out of Soviet territory. The ship was later handed over
to the Soviet Baltic fleet. On Jan 11, 1945, it hit a mine and
sank off the coast of
(Voruta #27-28, Jul 1996,
1939 Aug 23, German Foreign
Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Commissar for Foreign
Affairs Vyacheslav M. Molotov signed a Treaty of Non-Aggression,
the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact freeing Hitler to invade Poland and
Stalin to invade Finland. Secret protocols, made public years
later, were added that assigned Finland, Estonia, Latvia and
Bessarabia to be within the Soviet sphere of influence. Poland was
partitioned along the rivers Narev, Vistula and San. Germany
retained Lithuania enlarged by the inclusion of Vilnius. Just days
after the signing, Germany invaded Poland, and by the end of
September, both powers had claimed sections of Poland.
(WP, 6/29/96, p.A16)(AP, 8/23/97) (HNPD,
1939 Oct 5, The Soviets
signed a mutual defense pact with Latvia that allowed 30,000
troops to be stationed there.
(DrEE, 10/26/96, p.4)
1939 The USSR census
indicated 126,000 Latvians.
(BN, 10/96, p.1)
1940 Jun 17, The Soviet Union
occupied Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
1940 Jun 18, Soviet
occupation was completed.
(DrEE, 10/26/96, p.4)
1940 Jul 21, The new
USSR-organized parliaments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania held
simultaneous sessions. They declared their countries to be soviet
socialist republics and applied for admission to the USSR.
1940 Aug 3, The Supreme
Soviet officially registered the acceptance of Estonia, Latvia and
Lithuania into the USSR.
1940 Aug 25, The
‘parliaments’ of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania declared themselves
‘provisional Supreme Soviets’ and adopted new constitutions that
were composed according to the example of the constitutions of
already existing union republics of the USSR.
1940 Aug, The Armies of
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were reorganized as territorial
rifle corps of the Red Army and placed under the control of the
political leaders of the Red Army.
1941 Apr 18, In the village
of Audrini, Latvia, Boleslavs Maikovskis, chief of police for the
second precinct of Rezekne, ordered the arrest of all the 200-300
people in the village after Soviet partisans shot and killed
several policemen. He also ordered every house to be burned down.
200 villagers were then executed, but he claimed to have nothing
to do with the slaughter. He was charged with mass murder in
Germany and his trial began in 1988 but in Feb 1994 the court
ruled that he was too frail to continue.
(SFC, 5/8/96, p.C-2)
1941 Jun 14, The Russian
secret police gathered up some 40,000 men, women and children and
exiled them to Siberia in cattle cars. This was the first of many
shipments. Some 10,000 Estonians, more than 15,000 Latvians and
between 16,000 and 18,000 Lithuanians were herded onto cattle
trains and transported to the far eastern reaches of the Soviet
Union, where many of them died.
(WP, 6/29/96, p.A16)(http://tinyurl.com/5jxmas)
1941 Jul 4, Latvia partisans
shot 416 Jews dead.
1941 Jul 8, All Jews living
in Baltic States were obligated to wear Star of David.
1941 Oct 14, The 1st mass
deportations took place at Kovno, Lodz, Minsk & Riga.
1941 Nov 29, In Riga the
Nazis separated the men over 16 from their families. That night
half the ghetto population were massacred.
(SFEC, 11/1/98, p.A15)
1941 Dec 1-7, During the
first week of the month some 20-30,000 Jews were taken by the
Nazis from the Riga ghetto to nearby Rumbuli forest, shot and
buried in mass graves. In 2000 Konrad Kalejs (86) fled Britain to
Australia under allegations that he was linked to the murder of
over 30,000 people, mostly Jews, in Latvia. In 2000 Latvia and
Australia signed an extradition treaty.
(SFEC, 11/1/98, p.A14)(SFC, 1/7/00, p.D3)(SFC,
1941 Dec 8-9, A final sweep
of the Jewish ghetto in Riga resulted in over 800 bodies burned
and thrown into a mass grave at a cemetery next to the ghetto.
These events were later recalled in the book “Endless Miracles,"
by survivor Jack Ratz, who was 14 at the time, but went with the
men on Nov 29.
(SFEC, 11/1/98, p.A15)
1941 Melanija Vanaga
(1905-1997) was exiled to Siberia after being snatched from her
home in Latvia. Her story: “Suddenly, a Criminal: Sixteen Years in
Siberia" became available in English in 2015.
1941 The Germans seized
Latvia and many Latvians joined the Nazi ranks. The Latvian Legion
was formed under the German Waffen SS and its 2 divisions helped
prolong the war by defeating the Soviet Army in several battles.
Viktors Arajs headed the feared Kommando unit that was responsible
for war crimes against Jews.
(SFC, 4/8/98, p.A14)
1941-1942 Nearly 80,000 Jews, or 90% of Latvia's
prewar Jewish population, were killed during this period.
1941-1944 In Latvia Herbert Cukurs (b.1900)
served as a deputy to the leader of the Arajs Commando, an
auxiliary police unit formed after German forces captured Latvia.
The unit played a central role in the near annihilation of
Latvia's Jewish community. After the war Cukurs fled to South
America where Mossad agents assassinated him in Uruguay in 1965.
1941-1944 About 250,000 Latvians fought
alongside either the Germans or the Soviets during this period.
Some 150,000 Latvians died in the fighting.
1943 Nov 2, Jewish ghetto of
Riga, Latvia, was destroyed.
1944 Mar 27, Forty Jewish
policemen were shot in the Riga Latvia ghetto by the Gestapo.
1944 Oct 13, Riga, Latvia,
1944 The Communists regained
control of Latvia. They sent the captured members of the Latvian
Legion, who had fought under the German Waffen SS, to prison camps
(SFC, 4/8/98, p.A14)
1944 Vasily Kononov (21) led
a small band of pro-Soviet partisans in Latvia. He was arrested in
1998 for ordering the execution of 9 civilians in the village of
Mazie Bati, whom he suspected of pro-Nazi sympathies, but
maintained his innocence. In 2000 Latvia sentenced Kononov to 6
years in prison but he was soon freed pending further
investigation. Russian president Vladimir Putin granted Kononov
(SFC, 4/26/00, p.A16)
1944-1956 Some 180,000 Latvians were sent to
Siberia in the years immediately following the war. Some deportees
were allowed to filter back after the death of Stalin and the
beginning of Khrushchev’s “thaw."
(BN, 10/96, p.2)
1947 Feb 27, Gidon Kremer,
violinist (Tchaikovsky Prize 1970), was born in Riga, Latvia.
1948 Jan 16, Anatoli
Yakovlevich Solovyov, cosmonaut (TM-5,9,15,26, STS 71), was born
in Riga, Latvia.
1948 Jan 27, Mikhail
Baryshnikov, ballet dancer, was born in Riga, Latvia.
1949 Sep 30, The Baltic Univ.
in Hamburg, Germany, closed. It was opened three years earlier by
170 Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian academics in a displaced
persons camp. In 2015 Helga Merits premiered her documentary film
“A Phoenix Born of Ashes and Desire: The Story of the Baltic
1950 Apr 8, A US Navy
Privateer airplane flew from Wiesbaden, West Germany, to spy over
the Soviet Union with 10 people on board. Soviet reconnaissance
spotted the plane over Latvia and shot it down.
1958 Ludmilla Chiriaeff
(1924-1996), Latvian-born dance pioneer, founded the Les Grandes
(SFC, 9/24/96, p.B2)
1961 An experimental nuclear
reactor was built at Salapilis. It was closed in 1998.
(BN, 10/98, p.6)
1965 Feb 23, Mossad agents
in Uruguay assassinated Herbert Cukurs, a former deputy to the
leader of the Latvian Arajs Commando, an auxiliary police unit
formed after German forces captured Latvia. The unit had played a
central role in the near annihilation of Latvia's Jewish
1971 The top secret Russian
Skrunda radar station was opened.
(BN, 10/98, p.1)
1983 Andrew Ezergailis
authored “The Latvian Impact on the Bolshevik Revolution."
1986 Einars Repse graduated
from Latvia State Univ. in physics and became a founding member of
the Latvian Popular Front.
(WSJ, 12/11/02, p.B5B)
1986 A citizen’s forum was
organized by Mikhail Gorbachev in Jurmala, Latvia. 2,000
handpicked Communists faced 220 Americans on televised debates
shown to the Soviet public.
(SFEC, 9/15/96, Parade p.22)
1988 The mass production of
kvass, a popular traditional drink made of stale rye, sugar and
yeast, ceased. Popularity of the drink made a comeback in 1997.
(WSJ, 9/8/00, p.A17)
1989 Aug 23, Approximately
two million people joined their hands to form an over 600 km (373
mi) long human chain across the three Baltic states: Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania. This original demonstration was organized
to draw the world's attention to the common historical fate which
these three countries suffered. It marked the 50th anniversary of
August 23, 1939, when the Soviet Union and Germany in the secret
protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact divided spheres of
interest in Eastern Europe, which led to the occupation of these
1990 Mar 19, Latvia's
political opposition claimed victory in the republic's first free
elections in 50 years, and reformers also claimed victories in
crucial runoffs held in Russia, Byelorussia and Ukraine.
1990 May 4, Latvia's
parliament voted 138-0 (1 abstention) for Independence. The
Russophone Ravnopraviye (Equal Rights Movement) boycotted this
resolution by walking out of parliament.
1990 May 12, The presidents
of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania forged a united front by reviving
a 1934 political alliance in hopes of enhancing their drive for
independence from the Soviet Union.
1990 May 14, In separate
decrees, Soviet President Gorbachev declared that the republics of
Estonia and Latvia had no legal basis for moving toward
1991 Jan 8, Pro Soviet
demonstrators protested price rises and surrounded the parliament
in Vilnius. Fresh Soviet troops began rolling across Baltic
borders from Pskov, Russia, allegedly to deal with Baltic youth
who have been evading the Soviet draft.
1991 Jan 20, In Latvia,
“black beret" commandos of the Soviet Interior Ministry attacked
the republic’s Interior Ministry headquarters, killing five
people. Communist leader Alfred Rubiks supported a Soviet
crackdown against a move by his countrymen for independence.
(SFC,11/6/97, p.C3)(AP, 1/20/01)
1991 Mar 3, Latvia and
Estonia voted to become independent of the USSR.
1991 Aug, Alfred Rubiks was
jailed for his support of the Soviet crackdown against
independence in Jan. He was released in 1997 for good behavior.
1991 Sep 6, In the Soviet
Union, the State Council, a new executive body composed of
President Mikhail S. Gorbachev and republic leaders, recognized
the independence of the Baltic states. All three were admitted
into the United Nations later this month.
1991 Sep 14, US Secretary of
State James A. Baker III met with leaders of the Baltic nations,
which had declared independence from the Soviet Union.
1991 Sep 17, The U.N. General
Assembly opened its 46th session, welcoming new members Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuania, North and South Korea, the Marshall Islands and
1991 Independent Latvia
recognized only the citizens of the pre-1940 Latvian state and
their descendants. Some 740,000 Russian-speaking residents were
made aliens and barred from voting and government sector
(WSJ, 3/11/05, p.A9)
1991 In Latvia the KGB left
behind a catalog of 4,500 people who served as agents and contacts
during the 1980s. Parliament’s decision to open the archives, once
in 2004 and twice in 2006 was vetoed by Pres. Vaira
1992 Mar 5, In Copenhagen the
Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Estonia, Finland,
Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden, in
the presence of the representative from the European Commission,
opened a 2-day meeting and decided to establish a Council of the
Baltic Sea States to serve as a forum for guidance and overall
coordination among the participating states. Iceland joined the
CBSS in 1995
1992 KGB archivist Vasili
Mitrokhin walked into the British embassy in Riga with copies of
intelligence files he had smuggled out of Russia. Mitrokhin
defected to British intelligence and brought along 6 trunkfuls of
KGB files. The pages of the “Mitrokhin Archive" were published in
(SFEC, 9/12/99, p.A16)(Econ, 11/12/16, SR p.3)
1993 Jul 8, Guntis Ulmanis
was sworn in as president.
(BN, 10/97, p.3)
1993 The Latvian Government
Training Center opened. It was funded by the US Baltic Foundation
(USBF, V.7, #2, p.5)
1994 Jul 6, President Clinton
stopped by Latvia, then traveled to Poland as part of a
four-nation European tour.
1994 Aug 31, Russia
officially ended its military presence in the former East Germany
and the Baltics after a half-century.
1994 Estonia became the 1st
European country to introduce a flat tax (26%) on personal and
corporate income. Latvia and Lithuania soon followed suit.
(Econ, 3/5/05, p.54)
1995 The only Jewish
synagogue in Riga was bombed and caused $300,000 in damages.
(SFC, 4/8/98, p.A14)
1996 Sep 27, US Defense Sec.
William Perry said the 3 Baltic nations would not be among the
first new NATO members drawn from Eastern Europe.
(SFC, 9/28/96, p.A8)
1996 Agate Nesaule won an
American Book Award for her memoir: "A Woman in Amber--Healing the
Trauma of War and Exile."
(BN, V.15, No.55, p.1)
1996 A coalition government
was formed under Prime Minister Andris Skele. It was noted that
the Russian language was still the primary school language and the
language of communication between all non-Latvians.
(BN, V.15, No.55, p.1)
1997 Jun, Terms of the
Baltnet Group, an Air Surveillance System for Lithuania, Latvia
and Estonia, were established in Oslo, Norway.
1997 Aug 8, The largest
int’l. military exercise in Latvia’s history will take place over
5 days at the Adazi training center organized by the Northwest
Europe Command. Troops from 15 countries were to participate.
1997 Oct 2, Latvian violinist
Gidon Kremer led his Astor Quartet in a homage to Astor Piazzolla
at the Herbst Theater in Berkeley, Ca.
(SFC, 10/4/97, p.E1)
1997 Nov 5, Alfred Rubiks,
former Communist leader, was released from jail.
1997 Nov 18, Holocaust
survivors from Latvia received the first checks from a $200
million fund set up by Swiss banks. Individual survivors were to
each receive $1000.
1998 Jan 16, Baltic leaders
signed an agreement, the US-Baltics Charter of Partnership, at the
White House strengthening US and NATO ties with Latvia, Lithuania,
and Estonia. The leaders also established a $15 million fund with
equal contributions from the Agency for Int’l. Development and
George Soros to promote nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
(WSJ, 1/16/98, p.A1)(SFC, 1/17/98, p.A8)
1998 Mar, Some 500 Nazi WW II
veterans held a parade in Riga.
(SFC, 4/8/98, p.A14)
1998 Apr 2, The only Jewish
synagogue in Riga was bombed.
(SFC, 4/8/98, p.A14)
1998 Apr 3, Pres. Guntis
Ulmanis fired the commander of Latvia’s army, Juris Dalbinsh, for
marching full uniform in a Nazi parade in March. He also fired
Police Chief Aldis Lieljuksis.
(SFC, 4/8/98, p.A14)
1998 Apr 6, An anti-personnel
mine exploded outside the Russian Embassy in Riga.
(SFC, 4/8/98, p.A14)
1998 Apr 8, The Democratic
Party Samnieks, the largest of the 6-party coalition, walked out
of Parliament accusing the nationalist prime minister of souring
relations with Russia.
(SFC, 4/9/98, p.A9)
1998 Aug 31, The Skrunda
radar base, the last Russian military outpost in the Baltic
states, was closed.
(SFC, 9/1/98, p.A9)
1998 Oct 3, In Latvia voters
approved a referendum to ease citizenship requirements for
Russians left there following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Voters also selected members for the 100 seat unicameral
(WSJ, 10/5/98, p.A1)(BN, 10/98, p.1)
1998 Nov 18, The Swedish bank
Skandinavska Enskilda acquired a 32% stake in Eesti Uhispank, as
well as a 36% stake in Latvia’s Latvijas Unibanka.
(WSJ, 11/19/98, p.A16)
1998 Dec, In Sweden a Latvian
team won the first European championships in Fire Sculpture.
(SFC, 1/7/99, p.D5)
1998 The experimental nuclear
reactor at Salaspilis was closed. It was estimated that $50
million would be needed to dismantle it.
(BN, 10/98, p.1)
1998 A documentary video on
the Baltic States: “Seven years of Success and Still Growing" was
(BN, 10/98, p.6)
1999 Feb 24, Latvia became
the first Baltic state to be a full member of the World Trade
(BN, 3/99, p.1)
1999 Jun 17, Latvia's
parliament elected Vaira Vike-Freiberga (61), Canadian émigré and
retired university professor, as its first female president.
(WSJ, 6/18/99, p.A1)(USAT, 6/11/04, p.5D)
1999 Jul 16, Parliament
approved the center-right government of Andris Skele. This ended
the 6-year dominance of the centrist Latvia's Way Party.
(WSJ, 7/22/99, p.A26)
1999 Dec 10, The EU granted
preliminary consideration for membership to Bulgaria, Latvia,
Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Malta.
(SFC, 12/11/99, p.A16)
2000 Aug 17, In Latvia a bomb
exploded in Riga and 21 people were injured.
(SFC, 8/18/00, p.D6)
2002 Jul 6, In Latvia hopes
were high at a summit of 10 former communist countries aspiring to
join NATO, and many delegates already were looking ahead to the
responsibilities of membership.
2002 Sep 26, NATO planned to
issue invitations in November to Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia,
Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Expansion would commit
the current 19 members to defend the borders of the new members.
(SFC, 9/26/02, p.A1)
2002 Oct 5, In Latvia the
pro-business New Era party appeared set to win the most seats in
parliamentary elections to choose the government that will lead
this ex-Soviet republic into the European Union and NATO. Einars
Repse led polls for election as prime minister.
(AP, 10/4/02)(AP, 10/6/02)
2002 Oct 9, The European
Union's executive Commission declared Bulgaria, the Czech
Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta,
Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Slovakia nearly ready for EU
membership and recommended they be invited to join in 2004.
Romania and Bulgaria likely will be delayed until 2007 because of
weak economies, the Commission said, adding Turkey was the weakest
link among candidates.
2002 Nov 5, In Latvia Einars
Repse, a former head of the Central Bank who campaigned against
corruption, was nominated to be the next PM.
2002 Nov 7, Latvia's
parliament gave its approval to a new government headed by former
Central Bank president Einars Repse, who vowed to stop corruption
in the ex-Soviet Baltic republic.
2002 Nov 21, The Baltic
nations of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania joined former communist
states Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia as the next wave
of NATO states.
2002 Dec 13, The EU reached
agreement to accept 10 new countries in 2004. These included Czech
Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta,
Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
(SFC, 12/14/02, p.A3)
2003 May 24, The 48th edition
of the annual Eurovision Song Contest and took place in Riga,
Latvia. Turkey's pop divas Sertab Erener, came first in the
contest and the 2004 edition was then held in Istanbul.
2003 Jun 20, In Latvia Vaira
Vike-Freiberga easily won a second term as president.
2003 Sep 20, Latvians
endorsed membership in the EU.
2003 Dec 10, Four Latvian
climbers plunged hundreds of feet to their deaths on Mount Cook,
New Zealand's highest peak.
2004 Feb 5, Latvian Prime
Minister Einars Repse announced Thursday that his 14-month-old
government was stepping down, saying his Cabinet can't continue
working without a majority in parliament.
2004 Mar 29, Pres. Bush
hosted a White House ceremony to welcome Bulgaria, Estonia,
Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia into the NATO
(WSJ, 3/30/04, p.A1)
2004 Mar, In Latvia the 12th
government in 13 years took office.
(Econ, 3/13/04, p.53)
2004 Apr 27, Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov and EU officials signed an accord extending
the EU-Russia partnership accord to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus
and Malta, which join May 1.
2004 May 1, Revelers across
ex-communist eastern Europe celebrated their historic entry to the
European Union. 10 new members (Cyprus, the Czech Republic,
Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and
Slovenia) joined. Malta joined with 70 exemptions to EU rules.
Poland had 43 exemptions. Latvia had 32. The Turkish occupied area
of Cyprus was suspended from entry.
(AP, 5/1/04)(Econ, 2/28/04, p.50)(Econ,
2004 Sep 23, In Latvia
lawmakers rejected a proposal to let nearly 500,000 ethnic
Russians vote in local elections, despite giving the same right to
citizens of EU countries who live in the Baltic state.
2004 Oct 28, Latvia's
government resigned after lawmakers refused to pass the 2005
budget that had been proposed by PM Indulis Emsis.
(AP, 10/28/04)(WSJ, 10/29/04, p.A13)
2004 Dec, Latvia’s President
Vaira Vike-Freiberga appointed Aigars Kalvitis as PM, the 9th in
(Econ, 12/11/04, p.48)
2004 Latvia passed an
education law requiring all students to take exams in Latvian by
(WSJ, 3/11/05, p.A9)
2004 Latvia’s highest court
upheld the conviction of Vasily Kononov for ordering the killing
of 9 civilians while fighting for Soviet forces in Nazi-occupied
Latvia in 1944. Kononov's Soviet commando unit killed the unarmed
Latvian villagers, who were suspected of collaborating with Nazi
Germany. Kononov was sentenced to 20 months in prison, a much
shorter sentence than the 12 years prosecutors had requested, but
he was freed because he had already served that amount of time in
pretrial detention. In 2010 Europe's highest human rights court
upheld the war crimes conviction.
2005 Jan 1, Latvia was
forecast for 5.5% annual GDP growth with a population at 2.3
million and GDP per head at $5,800.
(Econ, 1/8/05, p.88)
2005 Apr, A Latvian
declaration in late April about compensation for hardships
suffered under Soviet rule rankled Russia, caused Russia to cancel
a proposed signing on May 10.
2005 May 6, President Bush
arrived in Riga, Latvia, as he opened a fast-paced, four-country
journey to mark the 60th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi
2005 May 7, In Riga, Latvia,
Pres. Bush said the Soviet domination of central and eastern
Europe after World War II will be remembered as "one of the
greatest wrongs of history" and acknowledged that the United
States played a significant role in the division of the continent.
2005 May 12, Latvia’s
parliament issued a declaration that said: "The Soviet Union
occupied and annexed the Republic of Latvia, destroyed its state
system, killed, tortured and deported hundreds of thousands of
people, robbed them of their property without any legal reason."
2005 Jun 2, Latvian lawmakers
voted to ratify the European Union constitution and challenged
other European nations not to give up hope that the charter can be
2005 Oct 27, Latvian
lawmakers endorsed a new code of ethics designed to burnish the
legislature's reputation that would prohibit deputies swearing and
smoking in public.
2005 Nov 6, Paul Tergat of
Kenya won the NYC marathon by a third of a second in the closest
finish ever. Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia took the women’s race.
(WSJ, 11/7/05, p.A1)
2005 Dec 9, In Ireland more
than 10,000 labor union members protested in Dublin and other
cities over shipping company Irish Ferries' plan to replace its
workers with Latvians making $4.25 an hour, half the local minimum
wage. It was the country's most bitter industrial showdown in
(AP, 12/09/05)(WSJ, 12/10/05, p.A1)
2006 Jun 7, Latvia's
parliament approved a bill to publish the names of nearly 4,500
suspected Soviet secret police informants. The bill went to
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga for approval. Should she veto it,
Parliament can override it with a two-thirds majority vote.
2006 Sep 15, Latvian
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga joined the race to become the next
UN secretary-general, becoming the first woman vying for the UN's
2006 Sep 19, Einars Repse,
Latvia's former prime minister (2002-2004), accidentally killed a
pedestrian while driving on a remote road. He said he would stop
campaigning for parliament, although he will remain a candidate.
The EU's official statistics agency, Eurostat, said Latvia
registered 222 traffic deaths per 1 million residents in 2004, the
highest in the union.
2006 Oct 5, The Latvian and
Thai candidates dropped out of the race to become the next U.N.
chief on Thursday, leaving South Korea's foreign minister as the
lone remaining contender and near-certain successor to Kofi Annan.
2006 Oct 7, Latvians turned
out in their droves to choose the 100 men and women who will make
their laws for the next four years in the first general election
since the Baltic state joined the EU. Latvia's PM Aigars Kalvitis
pledged to continue stimulating economic growth if his
centre-right government was re-elected.
(AFP, 10/7/06)(Reuters, 10/7/06)
2006 Oct 8, Latvia's ruling
coalition kept its grip on power in general elections, making it
first sitting government to do so since the Baltic republic broke
away from the Soviet Union 15 years ago. PM Aigars Kalvitis has
said he was ready to form and lead a new, centre-right coalition
2006 Oct 18, Queen Elizabeth
II praised Latvians' love of liberty and hailed the long-standing
ties between Britain and the Baltic state, where she began the
first-ever visit by a British monarch.
2006 Nov 5, Marilson Gomes
dos Santos of Brazil won the NYC Marathon in 2:09:58. Jelena
Prokopcuka of Latvia won the women’s race for the 2nd year in a
row in 2:25:05.
(WSJ, 11/6/06, p.A1)
2006 Nov 28, President Bush,
in Latvia to attend a NATO summit, said he will not be persuaded
by any calls to withdraw American troops from Iraq before the
country is stabilized. Bush also enlisted renewed commitments from
the NATO allies that have deployed 32,000 troops to Afghanistan.
2006 Nov 29, NATO leaders
finished a two-day summit without agreement on some members'
refusal to send troops into combat in Afghanistan's most dangerous
regions. NATO vowed to give its troubled mission in Afghanistan
the "forces, resources and flexibility needed" to tackle
increasingly ferocious Taliban fighters. Leaders invited Serbia,
Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina to join a program considered a
first step toward eventual membership, but urged Serbia and Bosnia
to fully cooperate with the UN war crimes tribunal.
(AP, 11/29/06)(AFP, 11/29/06)
2006 Dec 3, Andris Piebalgs,
the EU Energy Commissioner from Latvia, signed an accord on
nuclear cooperation with Kazakhstan. The EU hoped to increase
Kazakhstan uranium sales to the EU from 3% to 20%.
(WSJ, 12/4/06, p.A6)
2006 Dec 4, The Estlink cable
connected power grids of the Baltic States with Finland. The cost
of Estlink, which measures 100 kilometers (60 miles), was around
110 million euros (132 million dollars). It was built by
Swiss-Swedish group ABB.
2006 Dec 27, Saddam Hussein's
Baath Party threatened to retaliate if the ousted Iraqi leader is
executed, warning in an Internet posting it would target US
interests anywhere. A car bomb explosion killing 8 civilians and
wounding 10 near an Iraqi army checkpoint in Baghdad. 2 Latvian
soldiers were killed and 3 were wounded when a roadside bomb
exploded under their Humvee in Diwaniyah.
2006 Latvia’s current account
deficit was 20%, the highest in the EU, due to a hot housing
market and credit boom. Latvia’s GDP grew nearly 12% as inflation
(Econ, 3/10/07, p.46)(WSJ, 5/15/07, p.A8)
2007 Feb 23, A fire raced
through a home for the elderly and disabled in western Latvia
leaving 25 people dead or missing.
2007 May 31, Latvia's
Parliament elected Valdis Zatlers, a surgeon with no political
background as, the Baltic country's next president. He will
replace outgoing President Vaira Vike-Freiberga in July when her
second and final term ends.
2007 Jun 6, Housing prices in
the major cities of Estonia, Latia and Lithuania were reported to
average around $202,375.
(WSJ, 6/6/07, p.B9)
2007 Jul 8, Valdis Zatlers, a
trauma surgeon with no prior political experience and widely
publicized tax problems, was sworn in as Latvia's third president
since the Baltic state gained independence in 1991.
2007 Nov 7, Latvia's PM
Aigars Kalvitis said that he would step down on Dec. 5 and that
the four-party ruling coalition would immediately begin searching
for a new head of government.
2007 Dec 5, Latvia's
center-right government resigned after coming under intense
criticism for firing a popular anti-corruption investigator and
failing to restrain inflation.
2007 Dec 20, Latvian
lawmakers approved a new center-right government that will face an
uphill battle to restore popular trust and prevent the country's
red-hot economy from abruptly reversing course. Ivars Godmanis
(56) became prime minister. He led a four-party coalition which is
facing a sharply slowing economy and record high inflation.
(AP, 12/20/07)(Reuters, 6/18/08)
2007 Dec 20, Estonia, Latvia
and Lithuania along with 6 other EU members halted land and sea
border controls at midnight, becoming the first in a wave of new
members of Europe's passport-free Schengen zone.
(AFP, 12/20/07)(WSJ, 12/21/07, p.A1)
2008 Jan 21, Latvia's Foreign
Ministry declared a Russian diplomat persona non grata, citing a
report that he was a threat to national security. On Jan 25 Russia
said it will expel a Latvian diplomat in apparent retaliation.
Some 400,000 non-citizens lived in Latvia. Ethnic Russians
accounted for a third of the country's population of 2.3 million.
2008 Mar 12, The United
States signed agreements with EU members Latvia and Estonia that
will enable the tiny Baltic nations to join the U.S. visa waiver
program this year.
2008 May 31, In Latvia about
400 gay men and women and their supporters held a parade in Riga,
accompanied by a strong police presence and chants and insults
from anti-gay activists.
2008 Jun 18, Latvian PM Ivars
Godmanis suffered serious head injuries in a road accident in the
center of the capital while traveling in a car with a siren on.
2008 Jul 25, Energy companies
in the three Baltic states and Poland agreed to set up a joint
venture to develop a nuclear power plant in Lithuania.
2008 Aug 11, An Afghan police
officer was killed and two others were injured in a roadside bomb
explosion on the southeastern outskirts of Kabul. 3 civilians were
killed and 15 people were wounded, including three NATO troops,
when a suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into a NATO military
convoy in Kabul. In the northern province of Maimana meanwhile a
Latvian ISAF soldier was killed and three others wounded when
their vehicle hit a roadside bomb.
2008 Aug, Inflation in Latvia
stood at 17%.
(Econ, 8/16/08, p.53)
2008 Nov 20, Latvia said it
is looking to start talks with IMF and had formally entered into
negotiations with the European Commission on emergency financial
(WSJ, 11/21/08, p.A10)
2008 Dec 16, The central
banks of Sweden and Denmark came to the aid of Latvia with
currency swap agreements. This enabled the Bank of Latvia, to
borrow as much as €500 million.
(WSJ, 12/17/08, p.C2)
2008 Dec 19, France’s finance
ministry unveiled a package of financial aid from the EU and
others totaling $10.7 billion to help Latvia.
(WSJ, 12/20/08, p.A8)
2009 Jan 13, In Latvia a
protest against economic reforms that drew thousands in Riga
turned violent as small pockets of rioters clashed with police and
attacked government buildings.
2009 Feb 20, Latvia's
center-right coalition government resigned after weeks of
instability brought on by the Baltic country's economic collapse.
President Valdis Zatlers said he accepted the resignation of PM
Ivars Godmanis and his administration, which had been in power
since December 2007.
2009 Mar 12, Latvia's
parliament approved a new center-right government with Europe's
youngest premier as the economic crisis in this Baltic state
deepened. A 67-21 vote made PM Valdis Dombrovskis (37) and his
5-party coalition Latvia’s third government in 15 months.
2009 Jul, Latvia’s leading
newspaper, Diena, along with sister publication Dienas Bizness,
was bought by Luxembourg based Nedela S.A. in a highly clandestine
transaction. The deal was initially structured as a loan to
Tralmaks' company Nedela, allowing it to buy the two papers from
then-owner, Sweden's Bonnier Business Press. The loan was later
restructured, placing the Rowlands as the new owners. The Rowland
Capital family office runs an asset management business, Blackfish
Capital Management, a London based company.
2010 Feb 2, Latvia's
government said it will accept one inmate from the US prison at
2010 Feb 5, Latvia sold a
deserted town built around a Soviet-era radar station to a Russian
investor who bid $3.1 million at an unusual auction. The town,
formerly known as Skrunda-1, housed about 5,000 people during the
Cold War but was abandoned over a decade ago.
2010 Feb, Latvia’s
unemployment reached 22.8%, the highest in the EU.
(Econ, 2/27/10, p.59)
2010 May 11, In Latvia police
raided the home of Ilmars Poikans (31), an employee in the
artificial intelligence department of the Univ. of Latvia. He had
leaked embarrassing details to local press about top government
officials and business leaders pocketing bonuses while public
social benefits were cut as part of an austerity regime.
(SFC, 5/14/10, p.A2)
2010 Oct 2, Latvians went to
the polls, as the Baltic nation emerges from a savage economic
slump, with polls showing the Moscow-tied left being poised for
big gains. PM Valdis Dombrovskis's center-right coalition took 63
seats in the 100-member parliament in the election. His Unity
Party won 33 seats, while the Moscow-linked, left-wing Harmony
Center won 29.
(AFP, 10/2/10)(AP, 10/3/10)(Econ, 10/9/10,
2010 Nov 4, In western Sudan
3 Latvian helicopter crew working for the United Nations were
kidnapped. They were contracted to the UN Humanitarian Air
Service, which delivers aid to poverty-stricken Darfur. On Dec 8
officials said the men had been freed with no ransom paid.
(AP, 11/5/10)(AP, 12/9/10)
2011 May 20, The Embassy of
the United States of America announced the official opening of the
Office of the U.S. Secret Service in Estonia. The Secret Service
office will work closely with its law enforcement partners within
the criminal investigative infrastructure in the Baltic nations of
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
2011 May 26, In Latvia a vote
in the Saeima, or Parliament, blocked the country's
anti-corruption bureau from searching the home of Ainars Slesers,
a powerful politician known as one of Latvia's three oligarchs.
2011 May 28, Latvian
President Valdis Zatlers, in his final act in office, called for
the dissolution of the country's parliament after lawmakers
blocked an anti-corruption investigation against a prominent
(AP, 5/28/11)(Econ, 7/30/11, p.49)
2011 Jul 8, Andris Berzins
(b.1944) took office as president of Latvia.
2011 Jul 23, Latvians voted
by a large majority to sack their Parliament in a historic
referendum, setting the stage for a snap election in September.
(SSFC, 7/24/11, p.A4)
2011 Sep 17, Latvia held snap
parliamentary elections. The left-leaning Harmony Center,
representing Latvia's large ethnic Russian minority, won over 29%
of the seats in the nation's legislature. An upstart party formed
by former President Valdis Zatlers was in second place with 20.5%,
while Unity, the senior partner in the current ruling center-right
coalition, was third with 18.2%. Approximately one-third of
Latvia's 2.2 million people are minorities whose native language
is Russian. Many of them are so-called noncitizens who lack the
right to vote.
(AP, 9/17/11)(AP, 9/18/11)
2012 Feb 8, NATO said it has
decided to extend until 2018 an operation to protect the airspace
of Baltic members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with fighter jets.
2012 Feb 18, Latvia voted in
a referendum on whether Russian should become the Baltic country's
second national language. The Russians and other minorities who
organized the referendum admit they have virtually no chance at
winning the plebiscite. According to the current law, anyone who
moved to Latvia during the Soviet occupation, or was born to
parents who moved there, is considered a noncitizen and must pass
the Latvian language exam in order to become a citizen. Latvian
voters resoundingly rejected the proposal.
2012 Mar 16, Nearly 1,500
Latvians paid tribute to soldiers who fought in Nazi Germany's
Waffen SS divisions, while nearby Russians held a counter protest
to recall war crimes committed against Jews and other minorities.
2012 May 1, Latvia became the
latest of 97 countries to wipe the death penalty from its justice
2012 Jun 2, In Latvia several
hundred activists from the Baltic states and neighboring countries
braved rain and hail to participate in an annual parade in defense
of gay and lesbian rights. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia
and Lithuania have largely proven to be intolerant toward gays and
lesbians despite having joined the European Union in 2004.
2013 Mar 16, Over a thousand
Latvians commemorated Nazi-allied World War II soldiers while
police used force to prevent violence from erupting between
participants and ethnic Russians, who are a minority in the
2013 Jun 5, The EU gave
approval to Latvia to become the 18th member of the troubled euro
currency union — despite doubts among many of its people and
international concerns about its banking system. A final decision
will be made by eurozone finance ministers July 9.
2013 Jul 9, EU finance
ministers in Brussels officially agreed to make Latvia the 18th
member of the eurozone currency union. Latvia will start using the
new currency on Jan 1, 2014.
2013 Aug 6, Latvia's
government approved the extradition of Deniss Calovskis
(b.1985), a man accused by the United States of helping create a
virus that affected over a million computers worldwide, including
many at NASA, and that allowed hackers to steal millions of
dollars from victims' bank accounts. US authorities earlier this
year accused Calovskis, along with Romanian citizen Mihai Ionut
Paunescu and Russian national Nikita Kuzmin, of participating in a
conspiracy that started in 2005 to create and disseminate the
so-called Gozi virus. On August 8 the extradition was put on
hold after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said it
would take on the case.
(AP, 8/6/13)(Reuters, 8/8/13)
2013 Oct 15, Eurocrats and
transport industry folk began a two day train ride from Vilnius to
Talinn. Rail Baltica, an idea to build a proper rail way
connection from Helsinki to Tallinn, Riga, Kaunas, Warsaw and
continuing on to Berlin was on the agenda in a conference onboard
2013 Nov 21, In Latvia a
Maxima supermarket collapsed in a suburb of Riga. 54 people were
killed in the Baltic state's worst disaster in decades.
(Reuters, 11/22/13)(AP, 11/23/13)(AP, 11/25/13)
2013 Nov 27, Latvia’s prime
minister resigned after accepting political responsibility for the
collapse of a supermarket roof in the capital that killed 54
2014 Jan 1, Latvia celebrated
the new year as the 18th member of the eurozone, which for all its
dents and bruises still represents stability and security to the
Baltic country's leaders.
2014 Jan 6, Latvia Pres.
Andris Berzins nominated Laimdota Straujuma as the next prime
(Econ, 1/11/14, p.45)
2014 Jan 22, The Latvian
parliament approved the country's first woman prime minister,
Laimdota Straujuma, who pledged to stick to the fiscal discipline
of the previous cabinet and to push ahead with liberalizing the
country's gas market.
2014 Feb 28, Latvia's Olympic
Committee secretary general said a second player on its national
men's ice hockey team is suspected to have tested positive for a
banned substance at the Sochi Winter Games.
2014 Mar 19, US Vice
President Joe Biden met with leaders of Lithuania and Latvia, part
of a quick trip to reassure Baltic allies worried about what an
emboldened, aggressive Russia might mean for their nations.
2014 Mar 21, France said it
is suspending military cooperation with Russia as Defense Minister
Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Baltic states in a trip designed to
reassure them as tensions mount with Russia over its seizure of
Ukraine's Crimea region.
2014 Apr 7, Latvia said it is
joining Lithuania in banning Russian state TV broadcasts because
it found that several programs about the Ukraine crisis were
tendentious and not in the Baltic nation's security interests. A
three-month suspension of RTR Rossiya broadcasts will begin April
2014 Oct 4, Latvia held
elections as it sought to limit the influence of a pro-Kremlin
party popular with ethnic Russians. Latvia's center-right ruling
coalition scored a fresh victory, though Harmony, a Kremlin-allied
party backed by the ethnic Russian minority, nabbed 24 seats in
the 100-member parliament.
(AFP, 10/4/14)(AFP, 10/5/14)
2014 Nov 5, In Latvia the
Union of Greens and Farmers and Unity, both center-right parties,
joined with the conservative National Alliance to form a Cabinet
led by PM Laimdota Straujuma.
2014 Nov 13, Eight northern
European nations (Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia,
Lithuania, Norway, Sweden) agreed to step up cooperation to
counter an increase in Moscow's military activity that has
included a tripling of NATO intercepts of Russian jets this year.
2015 Jan 30, NATO said it
will deploy small units in six Eastern European nations to help
coordinate a spearhead force set up in response to Russia's
actions in Ukraine. The units in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Poland, Bulgaria and Romania will be the first of their kind
2015 Mar 9, The United States
delivered more than 100 pieces of military equipment to vulnerable
NATO-allied Baltic states in a move designed to provide them with
the ability to deter potential Russian threats.
2015 Mar 11, Latvia's
Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis said the country’s security
is at risk from Russian-funded advocacy groups waging "information
war" that suggests the Baltic state is persecuting its Russian
2015 Mar 16, In Latvia about
a thousand people marched to pay tribute to Latvians who fought in
German Waffen SS units against the Soviet Union during World War
II, despite jeering from protesters who say the parade glorifies
2015 Jun 1, US-led NATO
drills began in the Baltic states and Poland, a move intended to
reassure Russia's nervous neighbors amid tensions over Ukraine.
2015 Jun 4, Russia's Federal
Security Service (FSB) said it has broken up a ring that was
smuggling firearms into the country from Latvia. One Latvian
citizen and eight Russians were arrested in the case.
2015 Jun 20, In Latvia up to
5,000 people participated in a high-profile gay pride event in
Riga. Police said three people from the counter-demonstration were
arrested for trying to throw eggs and for illegal picketing.
2015 Jun 23, US Defense
Secretary Ash Carter announced that the United States will
pre-position tanks, artillery and other military equipment in
eastern and central Europe, moving to reassure NATO allies
unnerved by Russian involvement in Ukraine. Carter, during a trip
to Tallinn, said the Baltic states - Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia --
as well as Bulgaria, Romania and Poland agreed to host elements of
this heavy equipment.
2015 Aug 4, Around 250
Latvian nationalists picketed the Riga’s main government building
to protest against EU plans to resettle refugees from Africa and
the Middle East. The Baltic state has agreed to take in 250
refugees over two years under the EU's controversial plan to
distribute 40,000 migrants across the 28-country bloc.
2015 Aug 29, Russia said
Latvia has refused permission to a Russian state news agency to
open a bureau in the country, a case that Moscow says is open
2015 Sep 4, In NYC Deniss
Calovskis (30), a Latvian computer code writer, pleaded guilty to
helping create the Gozi virus, which spread to more than a million
computers worldwide and corrupted some at NASA. He admitted that
he was hired to write code for the virus.
(SSFC, 9/6/15, p.A5)
2015 Oct 15, Poland signed a
landmark $636 million deal to build the first EU gas pipeline to
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, reducing their uneasy reliance on
Russian supplies. Construction is set to begin next year on the
GIPL (Gas Interconnection Poland-Lithuania) pipeline.
2015 Dec 7, Latvian PM
Laimdota Straujuma said that she was resigning her post after
political squabbles within her center-right ruling coalition and
dissatisfaction about her leadership.
2016 Jan 13, Latvia’s
President Raimonds Vejonis nominated Maris Kucinskis from the
agrarian Greens and Famers Union as the next prime minister.
2016 Feb 5, Six
asylum-seekers arrived in Latvia, the first of 531 the nation has
agreed to accept as part of the European Union's relocation
2016 Mar 8, It was reported
that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are tightening ID controls and
erecting fences on their eastern borders, worried the Baltic
region will become a new entry point for refugees as migrant
routes through the Balkans becomes harder.
2016 Jun 13, NATO's
secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg announced that the alliance
will agree this week to send four multinational battalions to the
Baltic states and Poland to boost their defenses against Russia.
2016 Jun 25, European
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement that
VP Valdis Dombrovskis, a former PM of Latvia, will take over the
EU's financial services portfolio, following the resignation of
Britain's Jonathan Hill.
2016 Jul 1, Canadian media
reported that Canada will deploy 1,000 soldiers in Latvia to one
of four battalions NATO is assembling in Eastern Europe in
response to Russia's annexation of Crimea.
2016 Dec 14, The defense
ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia renewed their call for
a strong US engagement in the Baltic region amid concerns over the
attitude of the incoming Trump administration.
2016 Dec 14, US and Polish
defense officials said the United States has decided to accelerate
the deployment of troops to Poland, the Baltic states and Romania
as part of raising the security of the region.
2016 Dec 27, In Estonia US
Sen. John McCain pledged US support to the security of Russia's
three Baltic neighbors amid worries that the US may not be fully
committed to the defense of NATO allies following statements by
President-elect Donald Trump.
2016 Dec 28, In Latvia US
senators visiting eastern European allies to discuss security
issues called for sanctions against Russia for interfering in the
presidential election by hacking American political sites and
2017 May 10, The Czech
government approved a Defense Ministry plan to deploy up to 290
troops in the Baltics as part of NATO forces for just over a year
from the start of 2018. They will join NATO forces in Latvia and
Lithuania. The deployment still needed approved by Parliament.
2017 May 11, After a week of
rigorous tests ranging from blind tastings to expertly pairing
wines with sumptuous meals, Raimonds Tomsons (36) of Latvia beat
out 37 rivals to become Europe's top-rated sommelier.
2017 Jun 19, NATO Secretary
General Jens Stoltenberg joined Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis
and Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan to launch the
Canadian-led NATO battalion in Latvia at the western Adazi
2017 Jul 31, US Vice
President Mike Pence met with the presidents of Estonia, Latvia
and Lithuania in the Estonian capital of Tallinn and strongly
pledged America's commitment to protecting NATO allies against
2017 Aug 15, Gunnar Birkerts
(92), Latvia-born modernist architect, died at his home in
Needham, Mass. His work included the national library in Latvia,
the country’s symbolic Castle of Light.
(SFC, 8/21/17, p.C3)
2017 Oct 8, In Latvia
civilian helicopter has crashed in Latvia during a local car
rally, killing one person and injuring three.
2017 Nov 6, A Latvian
businessman won a court case against the owners of English soccer
team Blackpool over the running of the club following its
promotion to the Premier League. A judge ruled that the Oyston
family had shown unfair prejudice against shareholders by
excluding them from key decisions, information and share of
2017 Nov 10, In Latvia about
30 people gathered outside the Spanish Embassy in Riga over the
Catalonia political crisis "to tell authorities there that they
must respect the rights of those who want independence." The rally
was organized by the Latvian Russian Union, a small left-leaning
party chiefly backed by ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking
2018 Jan 13, Latvia’s PM
Maris Kucinskis met with Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe. It was reported
that Japan has entered into a pact with Estonia, Latvia and
Lithuania to boost economic and political ties.
2018 Feb 17, Latvia’s top
central banker, Ilmars Rimsevics, was detained following questions
from the national anti-corruption agency.
2018 Feb 19, Latvia's
anti-corruption agency said it suspects the nation's central bank
chief Ilmars Rimsevics of demanding and receiving bribes of at
least 100,000 euros ($125,000) and has started a criminal
investigation against him.
2018 Feb 20, Latvia's central
bank chief, Ilmars Rimsevics, was suspended pending an
investigation into whether he solicited a bribe. The complaint
against Rimsevics was made by small Latvian lender Norvik Bank.
Its Russian owner Grigory Guselnikov had not provided evidence of
wrongdoing despite being asked. Rimsevics refused to resign.
2018 Feb 22, The European
Central Bank said it doesn't have the power to investigate money
laundering in individual nations, a thinly veiled hint that it is
up to member state Latvia to clear up its ongoing corruption
2018 Feb 24, The European
Central Bank said it has determined that Latvia's crisis-struck
ABLV Bank is failing or likely to fail along with a
Luxembourg-based subsidiary, ABLV Bank Luxembourg, and the bank
will be wound up under its home country's law. Latvian PM Maris
Kucinskis said his government won't put any taxpayer money into
2018 Mar 9, The Vatican said
Pope Francis will visit Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in September
in the first papal visit to the Baltic states in 25 years.
2018 Mar 27, It was reported
that Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former head of NATO and a current
deputy chairman of Latvian bank Norvik, has asked the prime
minister of Latvia to create an international task force to guide
the country in cleaning up its banking sector, which has been
rocked by accusations of money laundering and bribery.
2018 Mar 30, Russia ordered
new cuts to the number of British envoys in the country,
escalating a dispute with the West over the poisoning of an ex-spy
in Britain. Scores of foreign ambassadors streamed into the
Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow to receive the notices given to
23 nations: Albania, Australia, Canada, Croatia, the Czech
Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland,
Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, the Netherlands,
Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine.
2018 Apr 4, Russia began
testing missiles with live munitions in the Baltic Sea, alarming
Latvia, a member of NATO, which says the drills have forced it to
partly shut down Baltic commercial airspace.
2018 Apr 25, Slovakia's
government said it has approved a plan to deploy 152 troops in the
Baltics as part of NATO forces amid growing tensions between
Russia and the West. The soldiers will join NATO forces in Latvia,
starting in the second half of 2018.
2018 May 24, Latvian
authorities warned that an increased flow of questionable and
illegally sourced money into other EU states was expected as
Baltic authorities crack down on non-resident accounts.
2018 Jun 3, A major US-led
military exercise with 18,000 soldiers from 19 primarily NATO
countries kicked off in the alliance's eastern flank involving
Poland and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.
2018 Jun 11, Dutch King
Willem-Alexander started a tour of three Baltic countries in Riga,
Latvia, where he met with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis. He
is scheduled to go to Estonia on July 12 and will be in Lithuania
on July 14. The trip was to coincide with the Baltic nations
celebrating the centenary of their declarations of independence
from the Russian Empire.
2018 Jun 20, The Russian
Foreign Ministry said it had given Latvia a list of Latvian
citizens it has banned from entering Russia for their
"Russophobic" views and calls to tighten sanctions against Russia.
The entry ban is retaliation for a similar move by Latvia with
regard to 49 Russian citizens.
2018 Jun 20, Poland's PM
Mateusz Morawiecki warned of "very significant" crop losses as the
EU country scrambled to help farmers struggling to cope with an
unusual spring drought amid soaring temperatures. Grain and
vegetable farmers in neighboring Lithuania have also warned of
drought-related losses. Latvian officials were considering the
declaration of a state of emergency.
2018 Aug 3, Latvia's
government voted to fund the disposal of pig carcasses after a
pork producer decided to exterminate all of its livestock when the
animals contracted African swine fever. 15,570 pigs were to be
killed via lethal gassing.
2018 Aug 24, Israel's
Benjamin Netanyahu asked Baltic state leaders for help in
convincing the EU to step up pressure on Iran and slammed a
Brussels aid package for Teheran at a news conference in Vilnius
with his Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts.
2018 Sep 24, Pope Francis
traveled to Latvia and praised Latvians for persevering through
the horrors of Soviet and Nazi occupation, persecution and exile.
2018 Oct 6, Latvians voted in
a general election expected to yield a ruling coalition of
pro-Kremlin and populist parties and tarnished by a hacker attack
on a popular social network. The pro-Kremlin Harmony party won
19.8 percent of the vote ahead of two populist parties -- KPV LV
with 14.25 percent and the New Conservative Party with 13.6
percent. The center-right Greens and Farmers Union of PM Maris
Kucinskis won 9.9 percent and New Unity took 6.7 percent as the
last party crossing the five-percent threshold to have seats in
(AFP, 10/6/18)(AFP, 10/7/18)
2018 Nov 14, The leader of
Latvia's New Conservative Party, Janis Bordans, abandoned his
attempt to form a government after three potential coalition
partners pulled out of talks. The president nominated Bordans as
prime minister last week and gave him a deadline of Nov. 21 to
form a government after October's vote, which delivered a
fragmented parliament of seven parties.
2018 Nov 26, Latvia's Pres.
Raimonds Vejonis nominated Aldis Gobzems from the populist party
KPV LV as prime minister and gave him two weeks to form a cabinet
and secure majority support in parliament following an
inconclusive election last month.
2018 Dec 10, Latvia's Pres.
Raimonds Vejonis said he had withdrawn his nomination of Aldis
Gobzems of the populist KPV LV party as prime minister after
Gobzems failed to secure majority support for his proposed
2019 Jan 7, Latvia's
President Raimonds Vejonis nominated Krisjanis Karins of the
center-right New Unity party for the post of prime minister in the
country's third attempt to form a new government in the wake of a
general election in October.
2019 Jan 23, Latvia's
parliament approved the Baltic country's new five-party,
center-right coalition government. The parliament backed a new
government under PM Krisjanis Karins (54) of the center-right New
Unity party, ending months of political deadlock following
(AP, 1/23/19)(Reuters, 1/23/19)
2019 Feb 9, In Latvia several
thousand people, mostly elderly Russian speaking protesters,
rallied in front of Riga City Hall in support of Nils Usakovs, the
city's mayor and leader of the pro-Kremlin Harmony party, who is
under investigation for corruption. The gathering was supported by
the Latvian Union of Russians, a local Putinist party.
2019 Feb 26, The European
Union's top court overturned Latvia's decision to suspend Ilmars
Rimsevics, a member of the European Central Bank, while he is
investigated for alleged bribery in a scandal that has shaken the
2019 May 29, Latvian
lawmakers elected former dissident Egils Levits (63), a judge with
the European Court of Justice, as the Baltic nation's new
2019 Aug 23, Thousands of
chanting Hong Kong protesters joined peaceful "Baltic Chain" links
of hands, with almost three months of anti-government
demonstrations showing no sign of let-up across the Chinese-ruled
territory. In 1989, an estimated two million people joined arms
across the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in
a protest against Soviet rule that became known as the "Baltic
Way" or "Baltic Chain".
2019 Sep 20, Transparency
International said that Latvia's appointment earlier this week of
a banker to supervise the sector is threatening a conflict of
interest. Government officials this week announced that they had
chosen Santa Purgaile, a board member with Citadele Bank ,
Latvia's fourth-largest lender, to lead the country's financial
2019 Dec 10, Latvian
politician and oligarch Aivars Lembergs, sanctioned this week by
the US over alleged corruption, hit back saying allegations
against him were "fake news" and instigated by his political
opponents. The sanction means US citizens are prohibited from
doing business with Lembergs and four entities the US says he owns
or controls and which are crucial to the running of Ventspils
port. Latvia moved to ensure the port could still operate.
2019 Dec 12, Latvia's
parliament passed legislation to take control over the Baltic
country's two biggest ports in an effort to keep them open after
US sanctions against a Latvian oligarch threatened operations.
2020 Feb 7, President
Vladimir Putin ordered payments to be made to Russian World War II
veterans in Russia and the Baltic States as well as to those who
were held in Nazi concentration camps. The one-time payments of
50,000 rubles to 75,000 rubles ($790-$1,200) will also go to the
widows or widowers of veterans in Russia as well as Russian
citizens in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
2020 Mar 27, In the Baltic
states Estonia reported 575 coronavirus infections and one death,
Latvia reported 280 cases, Lithuania reported 344 cases and four
(Baltic News Network, 3/27/20)
2020 Apr 7, The Latvian
government said it was extending until May 12 the state of
emergency that has allowed it to implement a string of measures to
curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the Baltic country.
Latvia has reported 548 confirmed cases and 2 deaths.
2020 May 6, Estonia, Latvia
and Lithuania said they will open their borders to each others'
citizens from May 15, creating a Baltic "travel bubble" within the
2020 May 15, Estonia, Latvia
and li formally removed travel restrictions between them saying
that the first wave of the coronavirus is under control in their
(SFC, 5/16/20, p.A5)
2020 Aug 31, The Baltic
states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania slapped their own travel
sanctions on 30 top officials in Belarus, including Pres.
Alexander Lukashenko, in response to a brutal crackdown against
protesters who say the Aug. 9 presidential election was rigged.
2020 Sep 11, Latvia
restricted the entry conditions applying to people coming from
Estonia, bursting a travel bubble that had allowed individuals to
move freely within the three-country Baltic region amid the
2020 Nov 4, Latvian health
officials said 313 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the
past 24 hours, putting the cumulative total to 6,572 cases with 85
(SFC, 11/5/20, p.A5)
2020 Dec 23, The Estonian
Defense Ministry said the United States has allocated $169 million
in military aid to the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and
Lithuania for 2021.
Subject = Latvia
End of file