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Latvia: Commemorate the end of World War II Moody’s cuts rating of Baltics

EXTRA PAGES: Germans in Baltics

Moody’s Investors Service lowered the credit ratings of Latvia and Baltic neighbor Lithuania. The agency downgraded Latvia’s foreign and local currency ratings to Baa3 from Baa1 and said that the outlook remains negative. “The depth and pace of the economic adjustment is much more severe than previously anticipated,” said Kenneth Orchard, senior analyst in Moody’s sovereign risk group.. “This has had negative repercussions for government revenues and the budget deficit, causing the budget-related conditions in the IMF stand-by arrangement to be missed,” he said, according to a Thursday statement. P.4

Tallinn: Old Town Days 6/01/2009 - 6/30/2009 Tallinn, Estonia Estland/Tallinn. Taking place each June in the heart of this historic city, Old Town Days is a great medieval festival which sees the streets filled with participants dressed in the traditional clothes of that period. Events include a traditional street market, authentic medieval food and drink stalls, street entertainers, folk music and traditional dancing.

Photos: Robert P. Sasse, Internet, Uldis Paze

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IMPOTENCE: Corruption in Latvia is still alarmingly POLITICS 2 Riga (lns) — Thousands of members of Latvia’s Russian minority congregated in the capital Riga Saturday to commemorate the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in WWII. Ethnic Russians of all ages congregated at a huge Soviet memorial located in Victory Park on the left bank of the River Daugava to lay flowers, sing songs from what Russians refer to as the ‘Great Patriotic War’ and listen to speeches extolling Soviet achievements. While ethnic Russians view the

Soviet victory as a liberation, Latvians regard it as the continuation of a fifty-year occupation that only ended when Latvia regained its independence in 1991. Nearly a third of Latvia’s 2.3 million inhabitants are ethnically Russian, while in Riga the numbers of Latvians and Russians are roughly equal. Pro-Russian political parties were present at the event, handing out flags and leaflets in the run-up to elections for the European Parliament and the position of mayor of

Riga, in which they are expected to perform well. The crowd was generally goodnatured and included many veterans wearing their medals and uniforms, as well as younger Russian nationalist activists in home-made paramilitary outfits. Ambassadors of both Russia and Belarus were among those laying flowers. A giant TV screen displayed broadcasts from Moscow next to the memorial, which has been partly restored using money donated by the Russian capital. P.2

Lithuania: Five Years of Membership in the European Union Vilnius — On 8 May, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Vygaudas Ušackas took part in the conference “Five Years of Lithuania’s Membership in the European Union” that was organised by the Committee on European Affairs of the Seimas (Parliament), the Office of the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the conference, Minister V.Ušackas spoke about an increased impact of globalisation on Lithuania after its EU accession and made suggestions how Lithuania could meet the challenges of globalisation and reap its benefits. P.2

PLANS: Paksas want to become president

INTERVIEW 3

MUSIC: Music in Liepaja fights for recognition PAGE 8

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