Reports of Ex-president Valdis Zatlers’ moral victory in yesterday’s decisive vote will surely pave the way for his return as the political head of Latvia but to what good end? The anti-corruption schtick that’s caught the imagination of the average fed-up voter is a step in the right direction but the oligarchs sold out the country so very long ago.
A 7.5 billion Euro bailout by the EU and IMF in 2008 fostered widespread discontent that sent unemployment past 25% with thousands migrating abroad. By February 2010, Baltic recession cut economic output by a fourth of it’s pre-capitalist self and the wealthy business types who’d wormed their way into politics prefer to keep it that way.
In their ‘Latvia’s Road to Serfdom’ article, Michael Hudson and Jeff Sommers outline the malfunctions;
“Not even corruption alone can be blamed – a legacy of the late Soviet period’s dissolution, to be sure, but magnified, intensified and even encouraged in the kleptocratic form that has provided such rich pickings for Western bankers and investors. It was Western neoliberals who financialized these economies with the “business friendly reforms” so loudly applauded by the World Bank, Washington and Brussels.”