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(3,385 words)

Author(s): Talonen, Jouko
1. General Situation Latvia, the central country of the Baltic States (Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south), is bordered by Russia and Belarus on the east. A democratic parliamentary republic, Latvia is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the Council of Europe, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In 2001 the six largest ethnic groups were the Latvians (57.6 percent, vs. 75.5 percent in 1935), Russians (29.6 percent, vs. 10.6 percent in 1935), Belorussians (4.1 percent), Ukrainians (2.7 percent), Poles (2.5 per…