a brief period of independence between the two World Wars, Latvia was annexed
by the USSR in 1940. It reestablished its independence in 1991 following the
breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994,
the status of the Russian minority (some 30% of the population) remains of concern
to Moscow. Latvia continues to revamp its economy for eventual integration into
various Western European political and economic institutions.
Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania