By Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia (October 25, 2011)
On 25 October, at the III World Congress of Latvian Scientists and the IV Congress of Latvian Studies (Lettonics), the outgoing Foreign Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis spoke about the role of the Latvian exile community in sustaining the idea of an independent Latvia during the years of the Soviet occupation and indicated at the necessity of assembling testimony on this period, significant in the life of Latvian people and the country as a whole.
”Comprehensive studies of the historical testimony of expatriates, also the efforts by diplomats and consular staff to keep the dream of an independent Latvia alive over 45 years, the ability to carry out political activities in exile remains an underestimated achievement. It is hard to imagine that without these efforts outside Latvia it would have been possible to sustain the national spirit and the symbols of a national state and subsequently restore independence here, in this country,” Kristovskis accentuated.
”With the aim of providing a contemporary and interesting coverage of our nation’s experience during the years of occupation, an academic study of the above processes should be produced. A possibility should be sought for Latvian researchers to access the required historical evidence found in a number of places outside Latvia, evidence that, sadly, vanishes with the passing away of the people who were preserving it,” the minister noted.
The outgoing Foreign Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis expressed gratitude to exile organizations for their support during the period of the Awakening (Atmoda) and of restoring the statehood. Mr Kristovskis commended the contribution by these organizations to the preparation of Latvia for the EU and NATO membership. The minister also expressed support for the resolution by a section of the Congress that calls for bringing order to and cataloging the original documents of exile organizations and other materials and directing more attention to the studies of history of the Latvian exile community at the University of Latvia and Latvia’s other higher schools.