A small protest rally and an official flower-laying ceremony marked the 21st anniversary of a vote on May 4, 1990 by Latvia's then Soviet-style legislature, the Supreme Council, to start restoring the nation's independence and break out of the crumbling Soviet Union.
Two decades and a year later, Latvia fits the initial description I wrote when starting this blog under its current title -- a "failed state lite" where the facade of modern civilization remains, but society's trust in the institutions of governance and in a viable future is probably irrevocably shattered.
To be sure, independence was accompanied by some unrealistic expectations that could be still heard among the protestors. Independence is not complete economic autarky (self-sufficiency) in some kind of surreal economic system where everything is owned by "the Latvians". Independence is not a stern, all-providing powerful state/government, that ensures and enforces 19th century morals and values on an obedient population. On the same subject, independence is not an instrument for finding a new, charismatic "leader" for an isolated pastoral (largely farming) nation looking only to itself and the past.
Independence was and still may be an opportunity for Latvia and the people living there to participate in the modern, Western world as it is (hardly an ideal place, but much better than the world before the Enligtenment and the spread of much maligned and totally misinterpreted "liberalism" that gave birth to the idea and possibility of free nations of free individuals governed by the consent of these individuals).
In any case, this was not meant to be an essay, but a videoblog, which I now present: