"What if upvote is potato, and downvote is potato. When downvote, potato is actually rock. But when upvote? Is also rock."Latvia (Latvian: Latvija), officially known as the Republic of Latvia (Latvian: Latvijas Republika), is the middle one of the three "Baltic Republics" along with Estonia and Lithuania, and has shared their modern history of brief independence following World War One before being snapped up by the Soviet Union until independence in 1991. This is why Soviet Union and allies in general aren't very popular in Latvia - as the people often see Hitler as the liberator, due to how he stopped the soviet atrocities in Latvia. (No, we're not supportive of his other policies.) In fact, it wasn't until 1918 that the three of them had clearly delineated borders - for most of their history the area known as Livonia or Courland/Kurland was a vaguely-defined parcel of land passed around between Prussia and the Teutonic Knights, Sweden, and Russia. A lot of people were drafted/volunteered into the Waffen SS Latvian Legion during the WW2 german occupation, and used to fight soviets. Not supporting Hitler directly, they saw this as the only opportunity to secure some sort of an independence from the Soviets, which, by then, had sent huge amounts of Latvians to Gulag's or just shot them. We have a rememberance day for them in the 16th of march, a date which is, unfortunately, portrayed in media as some sort of a nazi-support celebration, but this is not the case. On the other hand a lot of Latvians, ever since World War I, served as Red Latvian Riflemen. They were crucial in the Revolution in Russia, providing a cadre of battle-hardened disciplined shock-troops, and later protecting Lenin himself, many of Latvians taking high positions in Law Enforcement, military, and Intelligence services of the newly founded soviet state. During World War II many Latvians joined Red Army and fought against the Nazis, notably during the Battle of Moscow. Also, a cool thing, done together with our neighbours, Estonians and Lithuanians was getting independence via making a huge chain of people, stretching from Vilnius to Tallin. Since independence, Latvia has become a popular tourist destination, joined the European Union and will adopt the Euro as it's national currency in January 2014. Also, Latvia has one of the fastest internet connection speeds in the world as seen here due to extensive government backing. In sports, apparently, Latvians are really, really good in BMX and Beach Volleyball, getting a lot of success in these areas lately. The national sport is Ice Hockey, the fanaticism of this is around the same level as in Canada. If Latvia's only good hockey team - Dinamo Riga - performs well in KHL, it's a national celebration. And every Latvian who ends up in NHL is a national hero. Latvians were also the very first European Champions in basketball Culturally, due to everything that has happened with the small country, Latvians are in the exact middle between Russians and Germans, with the tropes associated to these countries appearing here almost equally, and sometimes in hilarious ways. (For example, Latvians are never late for work. Even when they are completely drunk.) Due to the Soviet era, Latvians are really touchy about being mistaken for Russians - and by "touchy", I mean that calling Latvian person a Russian, is a sure-fire way of getting into a fight. Also, Soviet era made us strong. One of the least politically correct countries in the region, Latvians are huge fans of Black Comedy and Self-Deprecation. (Usually such jokes, a lot like Russian 'anekdoty' are told in intentionally poor grammar for added comedy value.) Here's an example:
The Latvian flag
The flag, consisting of a carmine red field and white bar, is said to be among the oldest flags still in use. Popular legend attributes its origins as the shroud used to wrap a wounded tribal leader during the wars of the late 13th century — the parts which came into contact with him miraculously remained pure, while its edges became stained with his blood.