Border Established Between Latvia and Russia... Finally!

It's been only a long sixteen years since the fall of the Soviet Union and Latvia's regained independence, and one would think that would be enough time to establish some things... like a border. Well, sometimes it takes sixteen years for the Russian bureaucratic machine to handle something as important as establishing official borders, and for the wounds of the past to begin to heal on both sides.

In a historic meeting between the Latvian and Russian prime ministers, Aigars Kalvitis of Latvia and Mikhail Fradkov of Russia, the two signed an official border treaty in Moscow this week. Though so long to ratify due to many disagreements between the two countries, particularly about Russia's Soviet past and Latvia's present treatment of its ethnic Russian population. Also, a large part of the disagreement focused on the actual border established by the treaty, which gives Russia a tiny piece of soil that was originally part of Latvia before Soviet times, but became part of Russia during. But perhaps the most important part of this border is its duality - not only is it the new Latvian-Russian border, it's now the border between the EU and Russia as well, making this a greater European issue.

The phrase "better later than never" is especially poignant in this situation, and we can hope that this historic agreement will lead to a warming of relations between the two countries. Either way, the boundary between Latvia and Russia is finally official, for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.


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