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Is THIS true about Latvia???

#1 | Posted: 23 Aug 2013 12:30
Hello all.

Today I have read the article named In Latvia, Riga has become a ghost town, published in NewStatesman magazine by a Polish writer Agata Pyzik.

I was a bit shocked . Is it really true? She writes, for example:

The third-poorest country in the EU, Latvia punitive welfare conditions and the exclusion of Russian-speakers from surrounding nations has lead to a depopulation of 30,000 a year.

Latvia is the third-poorest country in the EU; 12.8 per cent of the adult population is unemployed. The dole lasts only nine months. Youth unemployment has almost halved from a peak of 42 per cent in 2010 – but soon the government, apparently following the UK’s lead, plans to turn welfare into workfare, with forced jobs such as road sweeping. The result has been depopulation. Approximately 30,000 people a year are leaving Latvia. Those who migrate are young and often well educated.

Some measure of Latvians’ real feelings can be taken in the results of the local elections in June, won decisively by the social-democratic Harmony Centre, which ran on an anti-austerity platform. Yet Latvian national politics is marked by a division between ethnic Latvians and the Russian speakers – people of Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian descent –who make up a third of the population. Thousands of these are denied citizenship and do not have the right to vote.

The anti-Russian politics is only a veil. Behind it is an attempt to justify privatization and austerity. Despite its crisis, the eurozone has a special attraction for the former communist countries that have found themselves among the happy few in the EU since 2004. Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia all joined the euro – this was proof to some that they had finally vanquished the “ghosts of communism” and were showing their true worth.

Latvians are often compared favorably with the Greeks as those who meekly accepted austerity and are now reaping the rewards. Yet that lack of resistance stemmed from the cynical manipulation of ethnic differences – which is now dividing Latvian society.

Is it really true?

I was going to visit Latvia next month and not sure if I'd really get a pleasure there. If there's such a depression, I'm afraid I could choose another destination to feel more happy... let me know.
Male Admin 
#2 | Posted: 23 Aug 2013 16:45 | Edited by: Plomb
It's all true. Despite many "root" Latvians will come to you and say it is bullshit, and that Latvia has "abnormally grown" since USSR times. For those, I would like to say: take your van and make a trip to Eastern Latvia, i.e. Latgale. If your van won't lose wheels because of almost everywhere broken no-roads, then you must have a lucky guy.

Riga is just not the whole Latvia. It's just a little part of Latvia. If you really will come to Latvia, you will see it is even worst than in Riga. May be some cities like Ventspils could look more cleaner - but only because they are small. Latvian government was not able to handle such a "big country" of less than 2 million of people. That shows the true nature of Latvian ideology: people got independence, but didn't know where to start - and they still started. Which lead to failing, in final.

No strategy. We are doing first, then think what we've done.

That only shows the real nature of Latvian government and Latvian national politics, which in the last 20 years looks more to genocide. This politics lead to:

- low level of education - people ending the basic school, only know Latvian and some basics from biology. Maths, physics, chemistry were all subjects did not passing on total exams;

- low level and quality in medicine - in the recent 5 years, in Latvia there were closed approx. 50% of existing clinics, those which left, are cut in finances; all major doctor specialists left Latvia to work for EU - soon, there will be a situation, when even having a cough, you must wait for your audience for weeks; already, only few pharmacies work at night; mostly all of them are closed after 22.00 - if something happens at night, you can't even buy Aspirin in Latvia.

- political pols - Russian-speaking and Latvian-speaking hate each other by default, and this is not going to change;

- instant inflation - in the last 10 years, prices became 2-3 times bigger for everything, and this saga is going to be continued;

- unemployment level... as mentioned above;

- thorough depression and apathy.

I am wondering HOW Latvia could join EU after all that.
Male Forums Member 
#3 | Posted: 27 Aug 2013 22:23
I've been in Latvia for over 3 years now. It's quiet disappointing to see the amount of alcoholics, lunatic drivers, people peeing outside your home.

People often look at me like they want to kill me. I can understand that it's a poor country, but that's not true for a lot of citizens. Plenty of wealthy people reside in Latvia, and that's why, in my opinion, so many people are depressed. Nobody wants to see so many people dressed nicely, driving nice cars, ect...

It should be absolutely standard for people living in Latvia to appreciate whatever they have. They do not live in a first world country, try going to India and live in the slums. People in Latvia complain about not being able to afford nice things like going to the cinema, buying nice food, buying a car.

The country in my opinion does not deserve to be part of the eu, the people make me sick. They appreciate nothing, can't say thank you when necessary. They are scum of the earth.

As for the racism, I'm not even going to get started on that.

Another thing is that plenty of international investment is going on in Latvia, especially in the riga area. Im ashamed to say that Latvia is vastly evolving into a better country, the locals are to dumb to see it.

If you are hesitant of coming to Latvia, i will tell you it's a great country to visit for its culture, i just wish the Latvians and Russians living here would just wake up a little.

Leave them to drink vodka while we take over the country, they deserve nothing less.
Bro Profile Pictures: 3
Male Girls Lover 
#4 | Posted: 30 Aug 2013 22:14 | Edited by: Bro
Agata Pyzik:
Areas such as the Moscow District are crammed with crumbling tenements and emptywooden
houses; it could be the set for a ghost town in a low-budget western.

Yes, I am still keeping some of my earlier "Maskachka" pictures - some are attached below. They are from 2009 - I'm afraid now it's ever changed to worst! This district was mentioned on these forums a few times, too...

Bro Profile Pictures: 3
Male Girls Lover 
#5 | Posted: 30 Aug 2013 22:26
While also living in Latvia for about 6 years now, I tend to say one of the government's mistakes is to apply too difficult taxes system to obviously too easy people. Also, the taxing system appears to be double-based or even triple-based. If you buy food, you pay tax. If you own a car, you pay a car tax and roads tax (despite of it, Latvian roads are terrible - I'll post about it below). If you make some profit from something, you should pay tax. Besides of it, there are social taxes and soon there will be medical taxes.

Guess what - I'm not sure where they plan to get all these taxes, if Latvian population is going to decrease???

This all shows the purely "Latvian" side of nature, as some will agree. In All times,Latvians were dependent to some other nation, which gave them education and food. Most recently in USSR times Latvia was one of countries getting major investments from Communist Leaders. Now it's trying to get something for definitely no-way-to-return debt from European Union. Of course, the government also tries to apply all sorts of taxes to its poor nation, instead of thinking of how to earn on Latvian location or something else - there could be tons of ways.

On the streets these days, you may often see the advertisement promoting donations, in the time of deep economical crisis in Latvia this appears to be the right business. Attached is the picture of it, coming from the very center of Riga, taken near the Central Station. In the middle it says "Begging is hard" and below "Donating is easy" - I'm wondering to ask these guys: WHAT? Begging is hard? Working is hard guys, didn't you try to get a job?

I've drawn a sketch version of this highly conceptual ad...
Begging is Hard...
Begging is Hard... about to get up the fuck up?.. about to get up the fuck up?..
Bro Profile Pictures: 3
Male Girls Lover 
#6 | Posted: 30 Aug 2013 22:45
As about roads... in Latvia, many of them have truly bad condition. In many suburbs of Riga, or even in living zones of districts of Riga your cab risks to lose wheels in a deep hole in the middle of the crossroad, where you highly must watch the street around not its condition... and so about about MANY roads in Latgale (specially those laying closely to the Russian border), and even in the middle of Latvia you will often meet no-roads.

Not sure - what they charge tax for? They increase this tax each ear, I've heard they are going to charge Latvian ports +20% of tax more to spread it for roads... then what roads tax is for?..

If in Latvia they want to promote tourism, they must think of how to get tourists inside, without good roads it's impossible!!
Welcome to Latvian roads
Welcome to Latvian roads
yuta Profile Pictures: 2
Female Lady Blady 
#7 | Posted: 31 Aug 2013 11:57
Bro, when you will stop being so cynical and true?

Beggars... you will see them mostly in the center of Riga! In Latvian smaller cities, too, but in a much smaller amount, and only in those places where they got luck to catch a tourist.

I agree seeing beggars on streets creates a bad impression, not even on posters - live. Riga's council could be more responsible to their problems. For tourists it's a bad sign when they see a stinky beggar right on the downstairs to the subway.

For me it also reminds the movie "Antichrist", it had three beggars in its story... meaning Pain, Grief, and Despair - isn't it a story about Latvia? It already has all three in.
yuta Profile Pictures: 2
Female Lady Blady 
#8 | Posted: 2 Sep 2013 12:34 | Edited by: yuta
I've read today that in the recent years, in Latvia there were closed about 88 schools! And this amount is going to grow...

Congratulations on the Knowledge day, Latvia...
Lucky Bastard 
#9 | Posted: 10 Sep 2013 11:27
88 schools were closed, but the new 18 were opened. Anyway, negative balance, I know.

I just wanted to make a note about the taxing system. I am living and working in Latvia and got onto taxes calculating problem, because this system is truly back to feudalism. Common person who is not familiar with book keeping, could get crazy when trying to understand what s/he needs to do and how. And if something will be calculated wrong way, it's a backdoor to penalties. So besides of paying the taxes, you should do it carefully and with knowledge, else you risk to pay double. There is also a "simple" taxes plan for individuals which is about 15% constant from all the profit, but I don't know any individual who would love to pay such amount. Also, you could hire a book keeper, but then you will need to pay a percent to him/her. So the system is fully created to rip off the regular worker, to give food and pleasures to those who's shifting papers.

Latvia is truly a poor country, by now, the minimal salary is about 1,70 EUR/hour or about 285 EUR, this is fake money, you can't even normally pay the heating expense in winter for this money, you can't buy a normal food for this money. But employees are happy to pay this salary "officially" on papers, but in real life, they pay much more and this is not taxed, so this is profitable for them. I would say, 95% of private companies in Latvia do no pay the full tax, otherwise they would bankrupt.

It is all because in Latvia, there is truly big amount of aid officials, before the crisis they were about 250,000 -- imagine that each 10th Latvian citizen is supporting 1 clerk --, after the crisis they have shortened a bit and now they are about 170,000, which in proportion, is the same 1/10 part, because recently, in Latvia, there are living less than 2 millions of people, at least officially. Officials are those persons who live on taxes, because they don't produce anything. But their "official" salaries are at least 2,5 times bigger than minimal salaries. Of course, they are paying all taxes, these are official salaries, on paper. Getting about 700 EUR/month at least for any official is now must-have, that's why when they start to speak about the MIDDLE salary in Latvia, it seems like the middle salary would be in the range of 600-700 EUR, but this is because the middle is calculated like arithmetical mean, not proportionally. Let's say if we take an official and a regular worker, they get 700 EUR + 300 EUR = 1000 EUR / 2 = 500 EUR average, but this is not true.

Now it becomes clear, I hope, to understand, why in Latvia there are so inadequately big taxes, and what does it mean the "middle" salary in Latvia, which is split 50/50 by the officials and proletarians.
Bro Profile Pictures: 3
Male Girls Lover 
#10 | Posted: 11 Sep 2013 16:47
Lucky Bastard
Lots of emotions, but... you are sooooooooo right! I have passed the taxing system In Latvia on my own, when trying to start a business here... I must say, it's very difficult for a foreigner, if you don't know local contacts. Also, if your business is promising, take care about your "krysha" or "roof", which in Russian bandits language means "protection". That means, you are "protected" from other kryshas, but you must pay a solid fee to your own krysha, meaning it could be up to 15% from your business; so it's kind of "private" tax. This practice was specially "popular" in the end of 90s, not sure what's happening now... because I throw my plans about my business, and company here long time ago!

Also, if you follow all rules of paying taxes carefully, you should know the Latvian language, because all documentation, laws are in Latvian ONLY and nobody will translate them for you for free.
Male Forums Member 
#11 | Posted: 28 Dec 2013 02:23
Latvia sometimes seems to have partly switched back to an exchange economy, people have to be very inventive to survive.
It hurts to see that.
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