The Streets of Riga in the 90’s. Visual Archive.

Riga in the 1990’s in another great video which is shared on the video operators Reinis Traidās Youtube channel. The 90’s was a very interesting time for Latvia, as many say Riga was back in Europe. The Economical system changed from communism to capitalism, the iron curtain was destroyed and import from the west started. Many products that did not exist in the USSR entered the market and as it belongs to capitalism, huge advertisements appeared on the streets too.

The video is a bit critical and sarcastic, as Latvia had regained its independence and was, after many years of occupation a country with its own flag and official language, Latvian. At this time in public spaces instead of Russian, English was seen in advertising, shop names and also pop-music.

Of course as with all videos like this from the not so distant past we can see how much Riga and Latvia has changed and developed. Some changes actually are quite poignant though – For example nowadays you will see less people walking the streets than in these period videos. Why? Maybe more people are driving these days? But we must remember that although many big steps have been made forward for Latvia, also many big steps have been made by its citizens and non citizens in the past years to move abroad in search of new horizons.

Approximately 900,000 or more inhabitants were present in Riga during 1991, today, the number is below 700,000. Latvia as a whole is around 1.9 million inhabitants today, around the same as it was back in the early 1950’s. Food for thought!