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Niitra, Nils

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Postimees - Estonia | 04/12/2009

Nils Niitra on the lack of role models for Latvia

Of the three Baltic states Latvia seems in worst shape at present, Nils Niitra concludes in the Estonian daily Postimees, but sees this as no reason to gloat: "Naturally the Estonians are reveling in their neighbour's even greater plight because at least this helps them forget that a cold wind is blowing in their country too. And what country can serve as a model for the Latvians? They are sandwiched in between the two Baltic states Estonia and Lithuania, and during Soviet times they lacked any possibility to look beyond their limited horizon, while fortunately for us here in Estonia we had our rich neighbour Finland to look to. But there's one thing the three Baltic states have in common: they all lie next to a giant who provides a particularly bad example. Historically, Estonia and Latvia are on the border between Western and Eastern culture and for this reason a daily battle plays out here between the Eastern Slavic and Western business cultures and the Byzantine and Western political cultures. ... The lack of Western models and the large number of immigrants [from Russia] could be the reason why in Latvia the eastern element has grown stronger than it has in Estonia."

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