Insight in cultural processes in latvia
1991 – on the way to join the EU
As a former member of the Soviet Union, Latvia was living into the regime of the “ethnic federalism”, single-state party and centralized social, cultural and economical system. The regime was characterized by censorship, persecutions and propaganda which ruined both demography and cultural life: art was conditioned to fit with the regime, abolishing creativity and rebellion; education, the greatest source of country’s long-term cultural development, was incomplete and single-way oriented to serve the interest of the country; religion and spirituality and even the self-realization and self-representation of people was controlled in order to fulfill the needs of an artificial society. Even if the reforms of Perestroika and Glasnost launched by Gorbachev hastened the society’s liberalization, Latvia was still under the fifty-five-year trauma of the centralization. However, only twelve years later, the burgundy-white-burgundy country fascinatingly entered the European Union. This leads us to enter in the details of the cultural processes from the reestablishing of independence to the way of joining the EU. First of all, the author of the essay will detail Latvia’s national affirmation and its conflicts with minorities, so as to better understand in the second part the cultural effects of its policy of integration to EU and globalization.
On May 4 1990, the first clear political step of national affirmation has been taken from the Latvian SSR. On August 21 1991, after a period of transition, Latvia is officially a new independent country. Politically, true. But can we really affirm so considering the cultural point of view? To understand the basis of the formation, we have to go through the political proceedings. From one side, Latvian politicians have acted on reinforcing the national commitment to one unique and united nation.