neljapäev, mai 31, 2007

Latvia Elects Seventh President

Today, Latvia elected it's seventh president since 1920, yeah, I said it, since 1920. Unlike the BBC who pussyfoot around the matter, I have no qualms in saying that Jānis Čakste, Gustavs Zemgals, Alberts Kviesis, and Kārlis Ulmanis were all presidents of Latvia, and Čakste + Zemgals + Kviesis + Ulmanis + 50-year interlude + um, Ulmanis + Vīķe-Freiberga + Zatlers = 7, not three since 1991, or whatever nonsense those monarchists try to feed you.

I mean Oliver Cromwell and his son ran England for ten years, and when the monarchy was restored, it was by Charles II. That is, they didn't start counting monarchs all over again, you bad British journalists.

Anyway, Zatlers is to most people outside of Riga an unknown quantity. He looks Latvian, which I guess is half of the battle. But the other half? "Mr Zatlers has headed several medical organisations," writes the BBC. Perfect. Some minor surgery, and all of Latvia's woes will be fixed.

For whatever reason, I find it hard to follow events in the other so-called Baltic states. I attribute it to the name thing and the border thing. First, the name thing.

The Balts all end their names in 's'. This means that each individual Balt merges into a pastiche of 's's. In Latvia there are Gunters and Valdis and Aivars and Aigars and so on. In Lithuania, there are Mindaugas and Gediminas and Rolandas and Algirdas.

These impenetrable forests of Baltic names make it difficult to distinguish one Baltic politician from another. While in the Finnic lands we have names that are easy to distinguish, like Jaak, Jüri, and Juhan, in Baltic countries it's all 's' everyday. Kaunas. Vilnius. Venstpils, Cēsis. The fun never stops.

So congratulations, Zatlers, and good luck. With all the flamboyant homosexuals whose only aim is to topple Latvian society out there, you are going to need it. Not to mention the Russians.

13 kommentaari:

Indrek ütles ...

If I understand correctly then s at the end is a nominative case for male gender words...

At least on some cases s disappears.

For example Cēsis in genitive is Cēsu.

After I got to know that I don't think that this "s thing" is so weird anymore...

Giustino ütles ...

Politics are inherently complicated. All I am saying is that Baltic naming rules throw me off when I am reading news stories. I am not saying they are "weird." We are all weird, especially me.

But the same thing happens to me with Russians. When everyone is named Dmitri, Vladimir, and Sergei, it's hard to follow the story.

Juan Manuel ütles ...

As a doctor, he will have something to talk about with Bernard Kouchner, France's new foreign minister.

PS.- Is Latvia being attacked by homosexuals? The only Latvian I have ever met is a girl that went to Harvard Law School, hated Russians and wanted to get married and have children. And yes, she was very good looking.

tambourine man ütles ...

A bit on Setos by BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/07/in_pictures_the_seto_people/html/1.stm

Aleks ütles ...

Yes, we're about to celebrate our diverse population by throwing some manure, eggs, and holy water at those sodomites. Then, we'll just kill them.

After we deport all the Russians beyond the eastern border town of Zilupe, we'll take on British tourists, Jews, and others whose loyalty to this beautiful country of ours has been thrown into question. Then, we'll deport anyone who served in the Communist Party, while those who remain will move to Ireland to work, integrate, and declare a new Latvian state.

Forgive the sarcasm -- it's become a strong Latvian way of communication.

Seriously, though, Zatlers' election to presidency concerns me greatly. The ruling coalition tighten its grip on power and soon we'll depend so much on Russia that we'll be in closer union with it than Belarus.

space_maze ütles ...

The S thingy looks especially weird when you have names that already have an S in another language - one is added on top of that, for good measure. (well, actually, because it would otherwise disappear in other cases)

So in Latvia, the president of the northern neighbour is Tomass Hendriks Ilvess. I guess the union with Russia has already deepend ;-)

Latvian abroad ütles ...

Cesis is actually a female word in plural. To make things more confusing, we also use s for nominative of those...

On Zatlers, I'm more optimistic than Aleks. Zatler's a near-unknown but I think there's more than 50% chance he'll turn out well. I've described some of the reasons on my weblog.

And, Aleks, why is this a sign of Russia taking over Latvia? I can understand it being a sign of Skele's clique taking over (although I think Zatlers won't be anyone's puppet) but how does Russia come into the picture?

karLos ütles ...

I don't understand the prejudice in Latvia. Lithuania i understand - it's a theocracy being run by the catholic church. I'd have thought Latvia had enough good healthy lutherans to be a little more pragmatic, and a little less aggressive... ha.

Aleks ütles ...

"And, Aleks, why is this a sign of Russia taking over Latvia? I can understand it being a sign of Skele's clique taking over (although I think Zatlers won't be anyone's puppet) but how does Russia come into the picture?"

In today's world, Russia can no longer openly invade its neighbors, so it buys them. Heavy dependency on Russia for our economic success would bring about our political dependency on Russia. And the Kalvitis government has already shown what it plans to do. We've signed the border treaty and forgot about our principles. Kalvitis is hoping Russian oil and gas will flow through Latvia at the time when most of Europe is looking to diminish their dependency on Russian sources of energy. That's why the rhetoric toward Russian behavior in Estonia was very subdue and belated.

Skele, the "ieridas biedrs" of the ruling Tautas Partija, was the man behind Kalvitis; he's the man behind Zatlers. From all interviews I've heard of Zatlers he strikes me as a bureaucrat and not an independent thinker at all. This is why I'm saying that we're getting closer to Russia.

Richard ütles ...

Why do you pay any attention to the BBC? Have you still got a bit of latent respect for the UK, has the war in Iraq and sexed up intelligence not at last told you that the UK, and the BBC, is merely the lapdog of America. The BBC doesn't have a correspondent with knowledge of anywere between Berlin and Moscow.


Apart from that, keep up the good work.

Sgt. Pepper ütles ...

Justin,

As the summer sets in, please make some notes of what you see around you and write on the topic of alcohol in eesti society.

urr ütles ...

surely you have heard the old pre-war joke about the latvian s-issue?
it tells us that when estonian foreign minister selter visited latvia, the latvians added the s to his name and got: selters. they were told that it was not correct. then the president of estonia päts visited latvia, the latvians wanted to call him as it should be and lost the s from the end and he was known as pätt.
(it is just an old joke).
during the april riots here in tallinn it was so moving to feel the support of latvians and lithuanians. supporting actions were gathered couple of thousand people in Lithuania, thousand in Latvia and three hundred in Rapla... more important than the support from the governments is the support what is coming directly from the hearts of so-called "ordinary" people. we will remember that. i will remember the expression on the faces of latvian people when they were holding the big estonian flag. the expression was desperate, but firm. and i feel so sorry that we were not supportive enough when latvians were under the attack of russia some years ago. hopefully there will be much more co-operation between baltic states in future. we have the same fate and we are brothers and sisters after all.

Architectse ütles ...

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