The “serial politician” in the headline, Ainārs Šlesers, has also been a “serial entrepreneur”, actually a semi-praiseworthy description, since it involves, often, a blend of success and failure, moving on from setbacks with the “try, try again” mentality.

Šlesers’ presence at two recent anti-vaxxer and covid-skeptic rallies can be seen as the kickoff of his campaign, yet again with a new Latvia First party, to become Prime Minister of the Baltic nation in elections to be held in the fall of 2022 — unless his demands for the immediate resignation of Latvia’s entire political elite are met within weeks.

The…


In the town of Kuldiga in Courland, the western district of Latvia, a family, the Hirschovitzes, lived for many decades. They were Jews, part of a community of people of this faith that had settled in Courland/Kurzeme centuries ago and became Courlanders along with the other peoples and faiths of this region. Their family tree included a prominent rabbi. but not all men of the Hirschovitz family chose the rabbinate. One, named for a great Biblical leader — Moses Hirschovitz — became a miller. …


Around 3000 (by some estimates, up to 5000) Latvians gathered late the evening of August 18 and into the night to protest what they called mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 for a range of public contact professions and jobs and obligatory testing of schoolchildren in order to re-open schools to in-person teaching.

The protestors, who at times chanted calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Krišjānis Karins and his four-party coalition government, seemed to reflect a mixture of vaccine skepticism sometimes driven by conspiracy theories and anger and frustration at months of pandemic restrictions on social and public gatherings, shopping and…


Ilgus gadus Kuldīgā dzīvoja kurzemnieku dzimta — Hiršovici. Viņi bija ebreji. Tādēļ ciltskokā parādās cienījams rabīns. Taču garīdznieka ceļš nebija lemts visiem. Kāds no dzimtas, piemēram, lielā jūdu vadītāja vārdā nosauktais Mozus Hiršovics kļuva par dzirnavnieku. Tas bija visai vajadzīgs amats pilsētā, kurai 20.g.s. pirmajos gadu desmitos visapkārt bija lauki un zemnieku saimniecības.

Dzirnavas bija ūdensdzirnavas, tās atradās turpat pie Ventas, pavisam netālu no pazīstamās rumbas. Var iedomāties, ka zemnieki nodevuši savus graudus malšanai gaidot darba pabeigšanu, varēja vērot rumbas ūdeņus, brīžiem lecošās zivis un drosminiekus kas arī agrākos laikus centās pārbrist rumbu. …


Latvia’s Constitutional Court on April 9 issued a ruling on inheritance rights that will put more pressure on the Baltic country’s lawmakers to legalize civil partnerships for both same sex and opposite-sex couples and to thereby recognize same sex families.

The ruling declared unconstitutional and discriminatory higher fees charged for registering real property (buildings, land and residences) granted by bequest (in a will) to a same-sex partner or unmarried opposite sex partner. Spouses and certain categories of legal heirs (children, siblings and other relatives entitled to inherit by law) are charged far less for registering real estate they inherit.

It…


The Latvian parliament or Saeima voted 47 to 25 to move ahead with a proposal by the right-of-center National Alliance (NA) amending the Latvian Constitution to exclude same-sex couples from the definition of a family as protected by Latvia’s basic law.

The vote merely sent the proposal to a string of parliamentary committees and to become a constitutional amendment, it must be presented, debated and voted in three plenary session readings and passed with a two-thirds majority of the 100-member Saeima

The proposal by the NA, a member of the five party coalition under Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, came in…


Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš on January 5 asked for the resignation of Minister of Health Ilze Viņkele, claiming she has failed to timely produce a clear and viable plan for vaccinating the citizens of the Baltic country against the Covid-19 virus.

Viņkele told local media that she accepted the Prime Minister’s right to fire her, but called the move an attempt to shift responsibility for what she called “not especially coordinated and smooth crisis management, which in this complicated times should be done by the premier.”Her dismissal will be made official at a regular government meeting on January 7.


The Riga Ghetto and Holocaust Museum has just gotten a reprieve from possibly having to move or close down. It is located at the edge of the historic Spīķeru or Warehouse District by the Daugava River shoreline just outside the Riga Old Town and adjacent to the Riga Market in the Latvian capital. The newly-formed Riga City Council on October 27 extended the rent-free lease of the museum’s territory for another 10 years, but subject to restrictions on any new construction on the site.

The museum is the main project of the Jewish organization Shamir, which also does research and…


The Latvian parliament or Saeima on October 29 rejected a citizen initiative proposal that would allow registration of civil partnership between two persons regardless of their gender.

The 100-member legislature, following an at times heated debate, voted against moving the proposal along as a draft law by a vote of 55 to 30, with one deputy abstaining and several others absent or not voting at the on-line session of the Saeima. The proposed law was supported by 10 392 signatures on ManaBalss.lv


Criminal fraud charges have been brought against Juris Gulbis, the chief executive of Tet, the Latvian telecommunications and entertainment company jointly owned by Sweden’s Telia Company and the Latvian state, and other current and former Tet executives, the Latvian State Prosecutor confirmed.

The charges against Gulbis, Tet director of legal and corporate affairs Toms Meisītis, Jānis Ligers, a former executive of the company, and Gintars Kavacs, the owner and executive of a digital video broadcast equipment company, date back to transactions more than 10 years ago, when Tet was called Lattelecom.

Gulbis and the other Lattelecom executives allegedly made deals…

Juris Kaža

A freelance journalist based in Riga, Latvia who has covered the country and region for 20 years. Speak native Latvian and English, fluent Swedish and German.

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