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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Latvia

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The name "Latvia" originates from the ancient Latgalians, one of four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.). The region subsequently came under the control of Germans, Poles, Swedes, and finally, Russians. A Latvian republic emerged following World War I, but it was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. Latvia reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 30% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

Latvia's economy experienced gdp growth of more than 10% per year during 2006-07. the majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises. latvia officially joined the world trade organization in february 1999. eu membership, a top foreign policy goal, came in may 2004. the current account deficit - more than 22% of gdp in 2007 - and inflation - at nearly 10% per year - remain major concerns.

Environmental Issues

Latvia's environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; the main environmental priorities are improvement of drinking water quality and sewage system, household, and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution; in 2001, latvia closed the eu accession negotiation chapter on environment committing to full enforcement of eu environmental directives by 2010

Government Type

Parliamentary democracy


2,245,423 (july 2008 est.)


Eastern europe, bordering the baltic sea, between estonia and lithuania


Total: 64,589 sq km land: 63,589 sq km water: 1,000 sq km

Slightly larger than west virginia

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: republic of latvia conventional short form: latvia local long form: latvijas republika local short form: latvija former: latvian soviet socialist republic


Name: riga geographic coordinates: 56 57 n, 24 06 e time difference: utc+2 (7 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time) daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last sunday in march; ends last sunday in october

Military Service

18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished january 2007; under current law, every citizen is entitled to serve in the armed forces for life (2006)

International Disputes

Russia refuses to sign the 1997 boundary treaty due to latvian insistence on a unilateral clarificatory declaration referencing soviet occupation of latvia and territorial losses; russia demands better latvian treatment of ethnic russians in latvia; as of january 2007, ground demarcation of the boundary with belarus was complete and mapped with final ratification documentation in preparation; the latvian parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with lithuania, primarily due to concerns over oil exploration rights; as a member state that forms part of the eu's external border, latvia has implemented the strict schengen border rules with russia

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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