“Let us learn and draw strength from our own experience. Let us be proud of our achievements and Latvia’s growth over the last thirty years,” emphasised Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima, in her address on Monday, 4 May, at the Saeima ceremonial sitting, which took place remotely, in honour of the 30th anniversary of the restoration of the independence of the Republic of Latvia.
“Thirty years ago, here, near the Saeima, it was packed to the brim. A sense of belonging and a feeling of fellowship gave people great strength and courage. Strength to all of them together and to each one individually. It helped transform the fate of Latvia,” stated the Speaker of the Saeima.
“Today we – the nation that experiences happiness while singing in the great choir at the Song Festival; that used to assemble for huge manifestations during the Awakening; and that joined hands in the Baltic Way – we are forced to be on our own, with our closest family members only, or at least two metres apart from each other. I am certain that we can overcome even these circumstances and restore our strength, as we have our Latvia, where we are always together,” stressed Speaker Mūrniece.
On 4 May 1990, the Supreme Council also adopted an Appeal to the People of Latvia. It includes a concise description of what exactly happened during the fifty years of occupation, stated Speaker Mūrniece, highlighting such issues as artificially created migration, forced assimilation, deprecation of Latvian culture, extermination of the culture of minorities living in Latvia, disruption of the natural balance in national relations, not to even mention economic decay and ideological repression.
Regaining our freedom was not easy, but the vote on 4 May changed everything, emphasised Mūrniece, stating that today we can be proud that we restored our independence taking the parliamentary, democratic route. The world saw us win our freedom twice over a single century. “On that day thirty years ago, 138 members of the Supreme Council proved by their vote their ability to see beyond their personal lives, to exert the will of the people, and change the fate of Latvia,” underlined the Speaker and thanked the Members of the Supreme Council for participating in the historic vote.
Speaker Mūrniece noted: “In thirty years, we have become a nation of mobility and creativity, a nation of excellence and determination. We are a society where, over these years, outstanding scientists and inventors, diplomats and statespeople, world-class artists, doctors and entrepreneurs have blossomed.”
As concerns the unprecedented crisis faced by the world now, the Speaker emphasised: “Along with devoting special care to the health of the Latvian population, we will continue to strengthen our security, integration in the democratic world, and cooperation with our closest partners in the Baltic States, the Nordic countries, and the European Union. We reaffirm our continued commitment to a strong NATO. Let us continue to defend a national, independent, and democratic Latvia.”
In addition, the Speaker of the Saeima affirmed: “We will continue with our commitment to streamlining the financial system, improving the business environment, ensuring equal opportunities, and combating poverty. We will continue to support families with children. Let us make our economy dynamic, modern, and competitive.” Mūrniece also stressed that we must be ready for rapid economic growth once the pandemic and the state of emergency are over.
“History has attested to the selflessness, foresight, and patriotism of our people in the most difficult of times,” said the Speaker of the Saeima and underlined that, during the pandemic, the course of our country is decided by doctors and experts, not by political motives. The people appreciate and trust these decisions, which helps the society help itself.
“We are profoundly, sincerely grateful to doctors and paramedics on emergency medical teams, as well as the police, border guards, and rescue services. They do their duty day after day and are often overstretched, but we trust that we can rely on them,” affirmed Mūrniece. In her address, the Speaker also thanked all the teachers who had to rapidly overhaul their teaching methods for schoolchildren of various ages; all the families, and everyone who helps our senior citizens, provides transportation services, and works in shops, pharmacies, and other places essential for the society.
The Speaker praised the active, open-minded, and united steps taken by the Latvian government during the pandemic, and thanked the partners in the European Union, especially the Baltic and Nordic countries, Germany, and Poland, for their consular assistance and support in bringing Latvian people home. “This is a new experience for all of us. Therefore, our mutual support and coordination is crucial,” emphasised Mūrniece.
The Speaker also reminded that 1 May 2020 marked one hundred years since the first meeting of the Constitutional Assembly. Along with convening the Constitutional Assembly, parliamentary democracy was established in Latvia. “Parliamentarianism was a decisive factor in maintaining the continuity of Latvia’s independence. The principle of parliamentarianism helped restore the independence of Latvia after 50 years of Soviet occupation,” stressed Mūrniece underlining that for this reason, the Saeima, the Parliament of Latvia, must continue its work regardless of the circumstances. The Speaker of the Saeima commended the fact that the Latvian parliament would become one of the first in Europe to function using digital solutions, once e-Saeima is introduced.
“Our country is in its second century. Thirty years have passed since the restoration of our independence. Thirty years is a brief moment in history, but a substantial period of a person’s life,” explained Mūrniece. “Today, it is our great fortune and advantage to have multiple generations who have grown up with our country – those who were born with Latvia in 1918, and young people born on 4 May 1990. Four or five different generations, each with their own perspective, their own experience and history of Latvia,” said the Speaker.
Photos from the 30th anniversary of the restoration of independence of the Republic of Latvia: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saeima/albums/72157714156660726
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Saeima Press Service