Latvia Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022

Basic information about the territory

Latvia Basic Information

Subchapters:

  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

Country name: Republic of Latvia – Latvia for short

Latvian: Latvijas Republika, abbreviated Latvija

English: Republic of Latvia, abbreviated Latvia

Country code: LV

Political system: a democratic parliamentary republic headed by a president elected by the parliament

Latvia consists of four cultural-historical regions and the capital Riga: Kurzeme (Courland), Latgale (Latgale), Zemgale (Zemgale) and Vidzeme (Vidzeme)

President: Egils Levits (elected 25/05/2019, in office since 08/07/2019)

National anthem: “Dievs, svētī Latviju!” (God bless Latvia!)

The composition of the government

Latvian government of Prime Minister Krišjānis Karinš (term of office from 23/01/2019)

Prime Minister Arturs Krišjánis Kariņš /New unity/

ministers:

Defense Artis Pabriks (Deputy Prime Minister) /Development / YES!/

Justice Jānis Bordāns (Deputy Prime Minister) /New Conservative Party/

finance Jānis Reirs /New Unity/

of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs /Nová jednota/

education and science Anita Muižniece /New conservative party/

transport Tālis Linkaits /New Conservative Party/

healthcare Daniels Pavluts /Development / YES!/

of environment and regional development Arturs Toms Plešs /Development / YES!/

interior Marija Golubeva /Development / YES!/

social affairs Gatis Eglítis /New Conservative Party/

agriculture Kaspars Gerhards /National Alliance/

economy Janis Vitenbergs /National Alliance/

cultures of Nauris Puntulis /National Alliance/

The composition of the government and the biographies of the ministers are on the website of the Government Office of LR: www.mk.gov.lv

Foreign policy of the country

Since 2004, Latvia has been a respected member of the EU (a member of the eurozone since 2014) and NATO, and its interest is to further strengthen this position. It is very sensitive to its geopolitical location in the north-east of Europe and persistently strives for the greatest possible attention, especially from NATO, or USA, Canada and Great Britain about the events in this region. Latvia considers the permanent presence of NATO troops on its territory to be most important. The base in Adaž, near Riga, is home to NATO’s multinational eFP forward presence unit, including the Czech contingent. Check computerminus to learn more about Latvia political system.

An important part of Latvia’s foreign policy is regional cooperation, especially within the Baltic and Nordic regions. It develops very close cooperation with the other Baltic countries and Nordic states, in regional cooperation organizations such as the Council of the Baltic Sea States or the Nordic-Baltic Eight, the so-called NB8. Other important partners are Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain, where it has a large diaspora. From a political, security, but also economic point of view, the most important non-European partners for Latvia are the USA and Canada.

Latvia is an active member of the Three Seas Initiative. In June 2022, the 7th Summit of the Initiative at the highest level will take place in Riga. Check relationshipsplus for Latvia defense and foreign policy.

Relations with Russia are very sensitive for Latvia – it has long openly characterized Russian foreign policy as a threat, and a number of issues remain open in Latvian-Russian relations, including energy, issues of the common border, the Russian minority (up to 30% of Latvia’s population), etc. Latvia perceives Russia’s steps towards Ukraine as definitely negative.

Latvia has submitted its candidacy for a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2026-27.

Population

As of January 1, 2022, 1,848,113 inhabitants lived on the territory of Latvia.

Latvia has been suffering from a long-term population decline, which is mainly caused by two simultaneous phenomena – a decrease in the natural increase and relatively massive emigration. In 2014, Latvia’s population curve broke the psychological threshold of two million inhabitants, and in recent years the number of inhabitants has been decreasing by an average of 15,000 per year. Four major cities experienced a large population outflow: Riga, Liepaja, Daugavpils and Rézekne, but between 2005 and 2020 the Latvian countryside was literally depopulated. According to an investigation by the National Land Office, almost 500 Latvian villages can be considered de facto extinct – nobody lives in them and there are no habitable houses left in them.

Main ethnic groups and their share of the total population:

62.2% Latvians

25.2% Russians

3.2% Belarusians

2.2% Ukrainians

2.1% Poles

1.2% Lithuanians

0.43% Jews

3.9% of other nationalities

Religious confession

Since the reformation movement in the 16th century, the Lutheran religion has been predominant in Latvia (24%). The Roman Catholic religion (18%) is widespread mainly in the eastern part of the country in the Latgale region, while the Orthodox religion (15%) is widespread in large cities. Other religions make up about 8%, 35% of the population has no religious affiliation.