Arrived back to Riga yesterday and it is a true spring reigning in Latvia now. Thank you Mikko, Hanna & kids for hospitality, because that week was rich!
Back in university all seems fine and just three students arrived to consult their BA and course work progress. There was a letter from Mr. Atis Gunivaldis Bērtiņš (Kuldiga, PO BOX 88, LV3300) in my letterbox accusing me and my colleague Dr. Andris Spruds of being offensive to Latvian youth and opining our rector to expel us from the university. It sounds rather serious, but the poor old chum used rather extreme Latvian language (for example word debīls) and inadequate quoting but even then I responded diplomatically to Mr Bērtiņš:)
But why did I raise this issue at all? The fact that old chum writes a letter makes me happy because it shows that people in Latvia are not totally passive, and they are not afraid to express their worldviews. But in the meantime it shows how very much alive are totalitarian mores in the Latvian society. Instead of academic response in the mass media Mr Bērtiņš went straigth to the rector appealing to the part of the society who thinks like him, and having a strong opinion about the nature of regime in the 1930's. So be it, and also these are tasks of the university lecturer:)
In the meantime Latvian interregnum carries on and there was Latvian Radio correspondent asking my opinion, whether the possible referendum would show also the popular attitude about travails of present government, thus giving a legitimate reason to disperse Latvian parliament? Aye, aye, aye, I said, and in order to get to the popular referendum legitimate number of signatures must be collected. In the last elections to the 9th Saeima there were about 150 000 votes received by New Era (Jaunais Laix) party, and that is the same number needed for proclaiming popular referenda. My assumption is that this number of signatures in not enough and president Vīķe Freiberga is not going to ruin her credibility to announce referendum with such a shallow popular support. It would also look ridiculous if she would start agitating for the referendum because of her public stature.
The present governing coalition was flabergasted. But they have regrouped and most probably will show signs of strength already prior the Latvian-Russian border agreement signatory procedure in Moscow on May 27.
Alas, just received a message from my old mate from Geneva times Mr Gatis Ābele, and he followed the Jūrmalgate court session. Yes, Latvian folks, there are changes in the air and both Mr Milušs and former maire of Jūrmala were convicted and would serve their penalty for five years. The first BIG FISH have been convicted for corruption and it means that it gradually gives folks back the trust in the rule of law in Latvia!
OK, now it seems that there is a reason to celebrate and we are clubbing tonight with Andris! Tomorrow I am leaving for Crakow & it means that you will be updated about my feelings in Nowy Sazs. Cheerios!