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.