Latvia. At the beginning of the year, Swedish TV 3 aired
the controversial movie "Buy Bye Beauty" about prostitution
in L.A. that there are up to 18,000 prostitutes, that cops
are customers and that the low wages in the country drive
people into prostitution. L's ambassador to Sweden protested
at the Swedish Film Institute which supported the
production. Latvian Interior Minister Marek Seglins was very
upset over some of the claims in the film, and his
department was considering suing the Swedish director for
Countryaah, the Latvian nurses' trade unions conducted extensive
protest demonstrations in the spring and demanded
substantial salary increases. A planned strike in health
care was averted in June by the government's decision to
increase funding for the healthcare sector. This enabled a
salary increase to 84 lati (about SEK 1,350) a month for the
nurses who previously earned between 50 and 60 lati.
Prior to the EU summit in Gothenburg in June, L. had made
great strides in the negotiations for EU membership and had
largely reached the former sealing group among the candidate
countries. In addition to the Gothenburg meeting, the
government also made decisions that were suitable to
facilitate integration for the Russian-speaking minority in
L. The fee for applying for citizenship was lowered and the
high school's language degree in Latvian was approved as
equivalent to the language test everyone must pass in order
to become a citizen.
However, some parts of EU adaptation still require major
efforts, including: in justice and anti-corruption.
President Vaira Vīke-Freiberga said during the year that
corruption is the single largest barrier to development for
On June 14, in L.A., the deportation of the Soviet
occupation force in 1941 was commemorated by just over
15,000 letters. In August, several happy anniversaries were
celebrated instead. The capital of Riga celebrated 800 years
with about half a million visitors, including a number of
foreign dignitaries, including King of Sweden, Carl Gustaf.
In addition, L. celebrated the tenth anniversary of the
country's independence from the Soviet Union.
At the same time, a political crisis was triggered by the
Riga City Council, since an old statue of the Russian czar
Peter the Great suddenly appeared in one of the city's
parks. The Nationalist Party of Fosterland and Freedom left
the city government in protest, demanding the departure of
the Social Democratic mayor. This one remained docked. The
Tsar statue, which was first inaugurated in Riga in 1910,
was relocated from the city center to a warehouse.
At the end of the year, Konrad Kalejs, 88, died in
Australia before being extradited to L., where he was
suspected of war crimes on the part of the Nazis during
World War II. With Kalei's death, the hope of bringing
someone alive led to trial for these crimes disappeared.