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Republic of Baltia
Republik fon Baltia
Flag of Baltia.svg
CoA Baltia2
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Faterland unt Freiheit
(Fatherland and Freedom)
Anthem: Wach auf, liefe Baltia
(Wake up, dear Baltia)
EU-Baltia.svg
Location of Baltia (dark green)
Capital Riga
Official languages Baltish
Recognised regional languages Russian, Polish, Vőro, Samogitian
Demonym Baltish / Balts
Government Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
Christine Kallenbach
Jürgen Ratzlaff
Legislature Parliament of Baltia
Formation
• Autonomy (within Russia)
10 March 1810
23 March 1918
4 May 1945
Area
• Total
175,015 km2 (67,574 sq mi) (90th)
• Water (%)
2.23
Population
• 2017 estimate
6,295,000 (109th)
• 2014 census
6,283,284
• Density
36/km2 (93.2/sq mi) (178th)
GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate
• Total
$184 billion (61th)
• Per capita
$30,000 (44th)
GDP (nominal) 2017 estimate
• Total
$100 billion (60th)
• Per capita
$17,000 (45th)
HDI (2014) 0.839
very high · 37th
Currency Euro (€)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
• Summer (DST)
EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Calling code +355
Patron saint Saint John
ISO 3166 code BL
Internet TLD .bl

Baltia, oficially the Republic of Baltia (Baltish: Republik fon Baltia), is a sovereign state in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia, to the southeast by Belarus and to the south by Poland and Königsberg. Baltia has 6,283,284 inhabitants, covering 175,015 km² of land, and is influenced by a humid continental climate.

Baltia is a democratic parliamentary republic established in 1918. The largest city and capital is Riga. Baltish is the official language, closely related to German. Baltia is a unitary state, divided into 15 regions and 380 municipalities.

In 1918, towards the end of World War I, the Declaration of Independence was signed and Baltia declared itself independent. After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, finally the country became a republic. During World War II, Baltia was then occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940, then Nazi Germany a year later and again by the USSR in 1944, establishing the Baltish Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1945, a few weeks before the German surrender, the Riga Uprising staged by the Baltish Resistance, was one of the most significant episodes during the years of occupation. As a result of this uprising, authorities were imprisoned, Soviet troops left the country, the Government returned from exile and announces the liberation of Baltia.

Baltia is member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the OECD, CBSS, IMF, NIB, OSCE, WTO and the Schengen Area. On 1 January 2011, Baltia adopted the Euro as the official currency and became the 17th member of the Eurozone.

Etymology

Beginning in the Middle Ages and through the present day, Baltia appears on the maps described in Germanic languages as German: Ostland, Danish: Østerland, Dutch: Oostland, Swedish: Österlanda, etc. In English "Ost" is "East", and in fact, Baltia lies to the east for Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

The term "Baltic" stems from the name of the Baltic Sea – a hydronym dating back to the 11th century (Adam of Bremen mentioned Latin: Mare Balticum) and earlier. It likely originates from the Indo-European root 'bhel' meaning white, fair. From the 17th and 18th centuries, in close relationship with the sea that bathes the coasts of the country, the people who lived there began to call himself "Balts" and therefore the region called it Baltia.

History

Middle Ages and pre-Russian era

In 13th century pagan Baltic and Finnic peoples in the region became target of Northern Crusades. In the aftermath of Livonian crusade a crusader state officially named Terra Mariana, but also known as Livonia, was established in central Baltia. It was divided in four autonomous bishoprics and lands of Livonian Brothers of the Sword. After Brothers of the Sword suffered defeat in Battle of Schaulen its remains became integrated in Teutonic Order as autonomous Livonian Order. Northern Baltia initially became Danish dominion, but was purchased by Teutonic Order in the mid-14th century. The majority of the crusaders and clergy were German and remained influential in northern and central Baltia until first half of 20th century. Baltic Germans formed the backbone of the local gentry, and German served both as a lingua franca and for record keeping, giving rise to the current Baltish language.

Southern Balts were also targeted by crusaders, however were able to resist and formed the Duchy of Baltia some time before 1252. It allied with Kingdom of Poland. After Union of Krewa in 1385 created dynastic union between the two countries they became ever closer integrated and finally merged into Polish–Baltish Commonwealth in 1569. After the victory in Polish–Baltish–Teutonic War the Polish–Baltish union became a major political power in the region.

Polish-Baltish Commonwealth (1619)

Outline of the Polish–Baltish Commonwealth in 1618, superimposed on present-day national borders.

In 1558 Livonia was attacked by Tsardom of Russia and the Livonian war, which lasted until 1583, broke out. The rulers of different regions within Livonia sought to ally with foreign powers, which resulted in Polish–Baltish, Swedish and Danish involvement. As a result, by the 1561 Livonian confederation had ceased to exist and its lands in the current center of Baltia became Duchy of Courland and Semigalia and Duchy of Livonia, which were vassals to Polish–Baltish Commonwealth, Ösel island came under Danish rule and Northern Baltia became Swedish Duchy of Estland. In aftermath of later conflicts in 17th century much of Duchy of Livonia and Osel also came under Swedish control as Swedish Livonia. These newly acquired Swedish territories as well as Ingria and Kexholm (now the western part of the Leningrad Oblast of Russia) became known as Baltic Dominions. Parts of Duchy of Livonia that remained in the Commonwealth became Inflanty Voivodeship, which contributed to modern Latgalia, region in Eastern Baltia becoming culturally distinct from rest of Baltia as German nobility lost its influence and the region remained Catholic just like Poland and Southern Baltia, while rest of Baltia became Lutheran.

Russian Empire era

At the beginning of the 18th century the Swedish Empire was attacked by coalition of several European powers in the Great Northern War. Among these powers was Russia seeking to restore its access to the Baltic Sea. During the course of war it conquered all of the Sweden's provinces on Eastern Baltic coast. This acquisition was legalized by the Treaty of Nystad in which Baltic Dominions were ceded to Russia. The treaty also granted the Baltic-German nobility within Estland and Livonia the rights to self-government, maintaining their financial system, existing customs border, Lutheran religion, and the German language; this special position in the Russian Empire was reconfirmed by all Russian Tsars from Peter the Great to Alexander II. Under Russian rule these territories came to be known as Ostsee Governorates (Russian: Остзейские губернии). Initially these were two governorates named after the largest cities: Riga and Reval. After the Partitions of Poland which took place in the last quarter of the 18th century the third Ostsee Governorate was set, the one of Courland. Following the annexation of Courland the two other governates were renamed to the Governorate of Livonia and the Governorate of Estland.

As a result of Partitions of Poland from 1772 to 1795 Polish–Baltish Commonwealth ceased to exist and its territories were incorporated in Russian empire, Kingdom of Prussia and Habsburg Empire. In early 1810 Alexander I, trying to appease the German nobility who lived in the north and giving more autonomy to the territory that occupied the former Duchy of Baltia in the south, decided to abolish governorates and unite them in the Grand Duchy of Baltia, within the Russian Empire and with a very similar status to the Grand Duchy of Finland. It was at this time when an exclusive dialect, baltisch-deutsch, legally spoken in the Duchy, began to be better known and used by the population.

Sagnitz Manor in Bockenhof

Sagnitz Manor in Bockenhof (North Livonia), built in 1874-1881 and used to house the ruling German landowning upper classes.

In the 1850's, as a result of the abolition of serfdom and the availability of education to Baltish-speaking population, an active Baltish nationalist movement developed in the 19th century. It began on a cultural level, resulting in the establishment of Baltish language literature, theatre and professional music and led on to the formation of the Baltish national identity and the Age of Awakening.

After the unsuccessful uprising in 1863, the Tsarist authorities implemented a number of Russification policies. They banned the Baltish press, closed cultural and educational institutions, the Orthodox Russian Church was the church of state and the Baltish army was made subject to Russian rules of military service.

Council of Baltia (March 1918)

The original 20 members of the Council of Baltia after signing the Declaration of Independence on 23 March 1918.

Independence (First Republic)

Following the Bolshevik takeover of power in Russia after the October Revolution of 1917 and German victories against the Russian army, between the Russian Red Army's retreat and the arrival of advancing German troops, the Council of Baltia issued the Baltish Declaration of Independence in Kauen on 22 March and in Riga on 23 March 1918.

The country was occupied by German troops, the Treaty of Brest-Litowsk was signed whereby the Russian government waived all claims to Baltia. The Germans stayed until November 1918 when, with the end of the war in the west, the soldiers returned to Germany, leaving an opening that the Bolshevik troops took advantage of, moving onto Baltia. This caused the Baltish War of Independence which was to last 14 months.

After winning the Baltish War of Independence against the Soviet Russia and later the Baltisch Freikorps and Baltisch Landwehr volunteers, who had earlier fought alongside Baltia, the Dorpat Peace Treaty was signed on 2 February 1920. The Republic of Baltia was recognised (de jure) by Finland on 7 July 1920, Poland on 31 December 1920, Argentina on 12 January 1921, by the Western Allies on 26 January 1921 and by India on 22 September 1921.

A constituent assembly freely elected was convened on 21 March 1919, and adopted the Constitution, which came into force on 1 January 1921. The Constitution was suspended in part by Karl Ullmann after being elected President in 1936, but was reaffirmed and amended by referendum in 1948. Since then, it has been modified and is still in force in Baltia today.

Baltia maintained its independence for 22 years until June 1940 when the Soviet Union occupied and annexed Baltia in accordance to the secret protocols of Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The occupation was followed by mass arrests and deportations having more than 1,000,000 citizens removed.

World War II

Riga (June 1940) Red Army

Red Army troops enter Riga (June 1940).

On 24 September 1939, warships of the Red Navy appeared off Baltish ports and Soviet bombers began a patrol over Riga, Reval, Libau and Windau. The Baltish government was forced to give their assent to an agreement that allowed the USSR to establish military bases and station 75,000 troops on Baltish soil for "mutual defence". On 12 June 1940, the order for a total military blockade on Baltia was given to the Soviet Baltic Fleet. Before midnight of 14 June 1940, the Soviet Union issued an ultimatum to Baltia and on 15 June the Soviet military blockade on Baltia went into effect, two Soviet bombers downed the Finnish passenger aeroplane "Kaleva" flying from Reval to Helsinki carrying three diplomatic pouches from the US delegation in Riga.

Baltia June deportation 1941

Railcars with Balts to be deported to the East during the June deportation of 1941.

On 16 June, the Soviet Union invaded Baltia. The following day, some 90,000 additional troops entered the country. In the face of overwhelming Soviet force, the Baltish government capitulated on 17 June 1940 to avoid bloodshed. The military occupation of Baltia was complete on 21 June and most of the Baltish Defence Forces surrendered according to the orders of the Baltish government, believing that resistance was useless and were disarmed by the Red Army.

Riga (July 1941) German Soldiers

German soldiers enter Riga (July 1941).

On 6 August 1940, Baltia was annexed by the Soviet Union as the Baltish SSR and the deposed president of Baltia, Karl Ullmann was imprisoned and deported to Central Asia where died later. Elections were held with single pro-Soviet candidates listed for many positions and a puppet government was established led by Anton Snyder. The repressions followed with the mass deportations carried out by the Soviets in Baltia on 14 June 1941. Many of the country's political and intellectual leaders were killed or deported to remote areas of the USSR by the Soviet authorities in 1940–1941. Repressive actions were also taken against thousands of ordinary people.

Libau Massacre 1941

Balt-Jewish women and children photographed before being murdered in Libau in December 1941.

On 21 June 1941 German troops attacked Soviet forces in Operation Barbarossa. On 22 June 1941 a diverse segment of the Baltish population rose up against the Soviet regime, declared renewed independence, and formed the short-lived Provisional Government. This period is known as the June Uprising. By 29 June Riga was reached and with Soviet troops killed, captured or retreating, Baltia was left under the control of German forces by early July and the Provisional Government, deprived of any real power, self-disbanded on August 5. The occupation was followed immediately by SS Einsatzgruppen troops who were to act in accordance with the Generalplan Ost which required the population of Baltia to be cut by 50%.

Under German occupation, Baltia was administered as part of Reichskommissariat Ostland. Baltish paramilitary and Auxiliary Police units established by the occupation authority participated in the Holocaust and other atrocities. 30,000 Jews from the Riga Ghetto being killed in the Rümbulen Forest in November and December 1941, to reduce overcrowding in the ghetto and make room for more Jews being brought in from Germany and the west. There was a pause in fighting, apart from partisan activity, until after the siege of Leningrad ended in January 1944 and the Soviet troops advanced, entering Baltia in July and eventually capturing Riga on 13 October 1944.

After the retreat of the German armed forces, the Soviets re-established the annexation of Baltia in 1944 and implemented a program of sovietization.

After World War II (Second Republic)

In late April 1945, the Riga Uprising was a civil-military insurrection organized by the Baltish Resistance and some allied forces to liberate the city of Riga from Soviet occupation. The uprising went on until 4 May 1945, ending in a ceasefire between the Baltish Resistance and the Red Army, which decided to quit Riga on the same day. Next morning, Baltia was officially liberated, government-in-exile returned from Sweden and the Constitution was reinstated. This period is called Second Republic.

When World War II ended and under border changes promulgated at the Potsdam Conference in 1945, the District of Memeland, occupied since 1939 by Nazi Germany, was again transferred to Baltia. The Treaty of Narva, signed in 1947 with the Soviet Union, included a territorial concession. Baltia was forced to cede the District of Petschur, which belonged to Baltia from 1920 to 1944. This treaty was the first step to establishing good relations between both countries since the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1945, including obligations and restraints to ensure that Baltia was never re-occupied again by Soviet forces and retained its independence.

Baltia remained outside NATO and Warsaw Pact and rejected Marshall aid, in apparent deference to Soviet desires. However, the United States provided secret development aid and helped the (non-communist) SP in hopes of preserving Baltia's independence. Constitutional change in 1948 led to a single-chamber parliament elected by proportional representation, election by direct popular vote of the President of the Republic and electoral age lowered from 23 to 21 years, among other minor changes.

The post-war period was a time of rapid economic growth and increasing social and political stability for Baltia. The five decades after the Second World War saw Baltia turn from a war-ravaged agrarian society into one country with a sophisticated market economy and high standard of living.

Johannes Fischbein, linked in his youth to BNU and other fascist organizations, was Prime Minister from 1966 to 1978.

In the 70s and 80s, Baltia built a extensive welfare state. The national Government provides unemployment insurance, maternity benefits, family allowances, and day-care centers. The Health Act 1980 provided for the establishment of free health centers in every municipality.

Recent history

Between 1990 and 1992 a political and economical crisis occurred in Baltia. Following parliamentary elections in 1990, talks between political parties were unsuccessful leading the country to a period of 66 days unable to form a government, the longest in the history of the country. In January 1991, the conservative Berthold Lutz, supported by the CSU, managed to form a minority government. In June 1992, Lutz was defeated by no-confidence vote and the government collapses. The President Leonard Meier, unable to call new elections by the approaching end of his mandate, decided to appoint a caretaker government led by Johannes Pracht until new elections held in December.

At the same time, Baltia fell into a depression caused by a combination of economic overheating, fixed currency, depressed Western, Soviet, and local markets. Stock market and housing prices declined by 50%. The growth in the 1980s was based on debt and defaults started rolling in GDP declined by 15% and unemployment increased from a virtual full employment to one fifth of the workforce. The crisis was amplified by trade unions' initial opposition to any reforms and the political crisis.

Treaty of Accession EU (2003)

The President Veronika Finke-Freiberger and the Prime Minister Einar Reitter signing the Treaty of Accession to the EU on 16 April 2003 in Athens.

Balts rejected the adhession to the EU by referendum in October 1994. Weeks later, Prime Minister Martin Lasch lost a no-confidence vote and resigns. The Deputy Prime Minister Andreas Taschner replaced Lasch as Prime Minister for just less than five months, until tensions between coalition partners and the lack of parliamentary support led to his resignation and new elections are called.

After signing the treaty on 16 April 2003 and hold a referendum on 14 September 2003, Baltia was admitted to the European Union on 1 May 2004. In the same referendum, the population also approved take part into the NATO. On 29 March 2004 Baltia joined NATO. The NATO Summit 2006 was held in Riga.

The country adopted the euro as currency on 1 January 2011.

In 2014, Riga was the European Capital of Culture.

Geography

North-Baltish Klint at Packer Peninsula in Rogerwick (24 m).

North-Baltish Klint at Packer Peninsula in Rogerwick.

Cape Kolken, the north-western limit of the Gulf of Riga.

Cape Kolken in Courland, the northwestern limit of the Gulf of Riga.

Livonian River National Park

Livonian River National Park, the largest national park in Baltia.

Baltia shares terrestrial borders with Belarus (851 km), Russia (616 km), Königsberg (227 km) and Poland (91 km). The total area of Baltia is 175,015 km², land area is 167,215 km² and water area is 7.800 km². The country lies between latitudes 53º and 59º N and longitudes 21º and 29º E.

Baltia has a long, shallow coastline (4,382 km.) along the Baltic Sea, with 1,520 islands dotting the northern shore of the country. The two largest islands are Ösel, at 2,673 km² and Dagö, at 989 km². The country's highest point, Gross Eiberg (Big Egg Mountain), is in the hilly northeast and reaches 318 m. above sea level. There are more than 10,000 natural and artificial lakes in Baltia. The largest of them is Lake Peipus (Peipussee) (3,555 km²), forms much of the border between Baltia and Russia. The second-largest is the Curonian Lake (Kurischsee) (1,619 km²), in the south, shared between Baltia and Königsberg. The third is Wirzsee (270 km²) in the centre-north of the country. The major rivers include the Döna, the Neman, the Wilia, the Livonian (Liflandisch), the Windau, the Scheschuppe, the Courlandish (Kurlandisch) and the Embach. Forests are the outstanding feature of Baltia, claiming 45% of the national territory.

Baltia has a humid continental climate (Dfb in the Köppen climate classification). Average temperatures in winter are reasonably mild, ranging from −2.5 °C in the coast of Memeland to −7.6 °C in northeastern in February, the coldest month. July temperatures range from 16 °C in Memel to 17.6 °C in Dönaburg. Baltia's proximity to the sea brings high levels of humidity and precipitation, with average annual precipitation of 656 millimeters. Heavy precipitation occurs, especially during harvest time in August and September. Snow occurs every year, it can be snowing from October to April. In some years sleet can fall in September or May. Baltia experienced a drought in 2002, causing forest and peat bog fires. The country suffered, along with the rest of Europe, a several heat wave in the summer of 2006.

There are currently 14 national parks in Baltia, comprising a total area of 5,546 km². National parks of Baltia are managed by the Baltish Nature Authority (Naturbehörde) and owned by the state. The first national park established in Baltia was Buchtland National Park (Nationalpark Buchtland), created in 1971. It lies between Harrien-Jerwen Region and Vierland Region in the northern Baltic coast and 70 kilometers east from Reval. The largest natural park of Baltia is Livonian River National Park (Nationalpark Liflandisch Fluss), established in 1973 and with an area of 917,45 km². The park administration is based in Segewold, 53 kilometers northeast from Riga.

Politics

Baltia has been a unitary parliamentary republic since 1 January 1921, when the Constitution came into force, except for the period of 1936-1940, when Karl Ullmann partially revoke the Constitution and for the period of 1940-1945, when the country was invaded by Soviet Union and by Nazi Germany. The political culture is stable in Baltia, where power is held between two and three parties that have been in politics for a long time. This situation is similar to other countries in Northern Europe. The current President of Baltia, Christine Kallenbach, has been the Baltia's representative in the European Court of Auditors from 2004 until 2016. The current Prime Minister is Jürgen Ratzlaff, who is the former Second Vice-President of the Parliament and the head of the Baltish People's Party.

Politics and government

Christine Kallenbach1

Christine Kallenbach, President of Baltia since October 2016.

Jürgen Ratzlaff1

Jürgen Ratzlaff, Prime Minister of Baltia since November 2016.

The President of Baltia (Republikpräsident fon Baltia) is Baltia's head of state. The President is elected directly by universal adult suffrage for a term of six years with a maximum of two consecutive terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain functions like calling elections, promulgate or return the laws approved by the Parliament, appoints the Prime Minister and appoints the Cabinet ministers according to the advice of the Prime Minister, among others specified in the Constitution.

The Prime Minister of Baltia (Ministerpräsident fon Baltia) is Baltia's head of government and is nominated by the President and approved by the Parliament, and must, in order to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Chamber.

The executive power is formed by the Council of Ministers (Ministerrat), the deliberative council of the Government of Baltia. The cabinet usually consists of 12 to 16 ministers and a varying number of state secretaries. The government, headed by the Prime Minister, thus represents the political leadership of the country and makes decisions in the name of the whole executive power.

The unicameral Parliament of Baltia or Baltisch Landtag, elected in direct elections on the basis of party-list proportional representation with open lists, has 190 members and influences the governing of the state primarily by determining the income and the expenses of the state (establishing taxes and adopting the budget). At the same time the Landtag has the right to present statements, declarations and appeals to the people of Baltia, ratify and denounce international treaties with other states and international organisations and decide on the Government loans.

The Landtag appoints, on the proposal of the President of Baltia, the Chairman of the Supreme Court, the chairman of the board of the Bank of Baltia, the Auditor General, the Chancellor of Justice and the Chief of Defence of the Baltish Defence Forces. A member of the Landtag has the right to demand explanations from the Government of the Republic and its members. This enables the members of the Parliament to observe the activities of the executive power and the above-mentioned high officials of the state.

Legislative elections are held every four years, or sooner in case of a national Government collapses (for example: if a Prime Minister lost a motion of no confidence, it must resign and a new cabinet must be formed or the President must dissolve the Parliament and snap elections are held).

Law

According to the Constitution of Baltia (Ferfassung fon Baltia) the supreme power of the state is vested in the people. The people exercise their supreme power of the state on the elections of the Landtag through citizens who have the right to vote. The supreme judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court (Staatsgerichtshof), with 19 justices. The Chairman of the Supreme Court is appointed by the Landtag for nine years on nomination by the President. The President of Baltia, who gives assent to the laws passed by the Landtag, also having the right of sending them back and proposing new laws. The Public Ministry, headed by the Chancellor of Justice (Justizkanzler), constitutes the independent body of public prosecutors.

Administrative divisions

Baltia is a unitary state divided into 15 first-level administrative regions (Regionens). The regions are administrated through directly elected regional councils (Regionalrat) who elect the Region President (Regionpräsident). Additionally, the President and Government are represented in every region by a Landhauptmann, who effectively acts as a Governor. The regions were created on 1 January 1982 to replace the 39 former counties.

The regions are sub-divided into 380 second-level municipalities (Kommunens), which in turn are administrated by directly elected municipal council (Kommunalrat), headed by a mayor (Bürgmeister) and a small executive cabinet. Most of municipalities are also divided in parishes (Ortschaftens), in the rural municipalities and in boroughs (Bezirkens), in the urban municipalities, both without any official political responsibilities but are traditional subdivisions in Baltia.

Regional councils and municipal councils have different roles and separate responsibilities. Public transport, regional development and certain cultural institutions are administered by regional councils. Public water utilities, garbage disposal, social services, elderly care and support to people with disabilities are administered by the municipalities.

Region Map 1
N. Flag Region Capital Area (Km²) Population (2014) Density (per Km²)
1
Flag of Harrien-Jerwen
Harrien-Jerwen Reval 9,936 618,101 62
2
Flag of Hochland
Hochland Ponewesch 15,082 391,700 26
3
Flag of Kauenland
Kauenland Kauen 8,089 596,200 74
4
Flag of Courland
Courland Libau 13,596 258,034 19
5
Flag of Latgalia
Latgalia Dönaburg 14,543 286,238 20
6
Flag of Memeland-Lower Neman
Memeland-Lower Neman Memel 9,620 440,300 46
7
Flag of North Livonia
North Livonia Dorpat 15,533 320,328 21
8
Flag of Northwest
Northwest Pernau 10,852 146,582 14
9
Flag of Riga-Peringen
Riga-Peringen Riga 10,335 1,010,406 98
10
Flag of Samogitia
Samogitia Schaulen 12,890 441,900 34
11
Flag of Semigalia
Semigalia Mitau 10,715 244,875 23
12
Flag of Sudovia-Upper Neman
Sudovia-Upper Neman Alitten 9,888 311,500 32
13
Flag of South Livonia
South Livonia Wolmar 15,328 201,915 13
14
Flag of Vierland
Vierland Narva 6,991 209,105 30
15
Flag of Vilnaland
Vilnaland Vilna 9,729 806,100 83

Foreign Relations

In recent years, Baltia has extended its responsibilities and position in European and international affairs, supporting and establishing friendly relations with other European nations and a large number of 'developing' countries.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Baltia

Ministry of Foreign Affairs located in Riga.

Baltia is a member of the European Union, NATO, the UN, the World Trade Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Council of Europe, Nordic Council, Council of the Baltic Sea States, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, International Monetary Fund, European Economic Area, Nordic Investment Bank, International Energy Agency, International Atomic Energy Agency, European Space Agency and Schengen Agreement. Baltia was a member of the League of Nations since 22 September 1921 until 20 April 1946.

From 1945 until 1991, the policy was to avoid superpower conflicts and to build mutual confidence with the Western powers and the Soviet Union. Although the country was culturally, socially, and politically Western, Balts realised they had to live in peace with the USSR and take no action that might be interpreted as a security threat.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 provoked a reorientation in Baltia's foreign relations, tightening ties with Germany and other Nordic countries, especially Finland and Sweden. Balts consider themselves a Nordic people, based on their historical ties with Sweden, Denmark and Finland. In December 1990, then president of the Baltish Institute (and since 1992 until 2004, President of Baltia) Veronika Finke-Freiberger delivered a speech entitled "Baltia as a Nordic Country" to the Swedish Institute for International Affairs. In 2003, the foreign ministry also hosted an exhibit called "Baltia: Nordic with a Twist".

Baltia hosts three European Union institutions, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC), the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) and the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT Systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA).

Military

Baltish soldiers during an exercise

Baltish soldiers during an exercise.

A Baltish Patria Pasi XA-180 in Afghanistan

A Baltish Patria Pasi XA-180 in Afghanistan.

The military of Baltia is based upon the Baltish Defence Forces (Baltisch Ferteidigungsstreitkräftens), which is the name of the unified armed forces of the republic with Landstreitkräftens (Land Forces), Seestreitkräftens (Naval Forces), Luftstreitkräftens (Air Forces), Spezialkräftens (Special Forces) and a paramilitary national guard organisation Ferteidigungbund (Defence League).

The Baltish National Defence Policy aims to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land, territorial waters and airspace, and its constitutional order. Its main strategic goals are to defend the country's interests, and to maintain and expand the capabilities of its armed forces so they may contribute to and participate in the missions of NATO and European Union member states.

Conscription was abolished by the Parliament in 2002. In September 2014 it was announced that the Baltish government planned to reintroduce gender-neutral conscription in 2017. In October 2015, the Baltish government decided to reintroduce military conscription from 1 January 2017. The current national military service (Militärdienst) is compulsory for men and women above 18 years of age and conscripts serves six-month to eleven-month tours of duty depending on the army branch they serve in. Conscripts in Baltia can to choose a legal and alternative civilian service (Zivildienst) for a six-month term.

Baltish defence expenditure per capita is one of the highest in the European Union. The Baltish military doctrine is based on the concept of total defence. The term total means that all sectors of the government and economy are involved in the defence planning. The Ministry of Defence and the Defence Forces have been working on a cyberwarfare and defence formation for some years now. In 2007, a military doctrine of an e-military of Baltia was officially introduced as the country was under massive cyberattacks in 2007.

The current Chief of Defence is General Gregor Teschner, directly subordinate to the President in matters related to military command.

Economy

BlueEurozone.svg

Baltia is part of a monetary union, the eurozone (dark blue), and of the EU single market.

Skype logo.svg

The IT sector's share in GDP has sharply increased since 2004. Skype was created by Baltish developers and is mainly developed in Baltia.

Modern Skyline of Vilna's Financial Centre

The modern skyline of Vilna's Financial Centre.

Baltia is economically deeply integarated with the economies of its northern neighbours, Sweden and Finland. As a member of the European Union, Baltia is considered a high-income economy by the World Bank. The GDP (PPP) per capita of the country, a good indicator of wealth, was in 2015 $26,582 according to the IMF, but below that of other long-time EU members such as Italy or Spain. Because of its rapid growth, Baltia has often been described as a Baltic Tiger. Beginning 1 January 2011, Baltia adopted the Euro and became the 17th eurozone member state.

A balanced budget, almost non-existent public debt, flat-rate income tax, free trade regime, competitive commercial banking sector, innovative e-Services and even mobile-based services are all hallmarks of Baltia's market economy.

Baltia produces about 75% of its consumed electricity. In 2011 about 85% of it was generated with locally mined oil shale. Alternative energy sources such as wood, peat, and biomass make up approximately 9% of primary energy production. Renewable wind energy was about 6% of total consumption in 2009. Baltia imports petroleum products from western Europe and Russia. Oil shale energy, telecommunications, textiles, chemical products, banking, services, food and fishing, timber, shipbuilding, electronics, and transportation are key sectors of the economy. Also there is a gradual but consistent shift towards a knowledge-based economy with special emphasis on biotechnology (industrial and diagnostic). Finally, mechatronics and information technology (IT) are seen as prospective knowledge-based economy directions.

Due to the global economic crisis, the economy in 2008 was fragile and the previous fast growth had switched to recession in Baltia by the end of 2008. In 2010, the economic situation stabilized and started a growth based on strong exports. The country has been experiencing economic growth ever since.

The unemployment rate in March 2016 was 6.4%, which is below the EU average, while real GDP growth in 2011 was 8.0%, five times the eurozone average. In 2012, Baltia remained the only euro member with a budget surplus, and with a national debt of only 6%, it is one of the least indebted countries in Europe.

Among the biggest private owned Baltish companies are: Achema, Air Baltia, Apranga, Citadele Bank, Ekspla, Elko, LHV Bank, LMT, Maxima Group, Orlen Baltia, Rimi Baltia, Saku, Tallink and Telia Baltia.

Demographics

Ethnic groups

Residents of Baltia by ethnicity (2014)
Ethnicity % of population
Balts 72.9 72.9
 
Russians 20.4 20.4
 
Poles 2.6 2.6
 
Belarusians 1.6 1.6
 
Ukrainians 1.2 1.2
 
Others 1.3 1.3
 
Total 100 100
 

Baltia have historically been in many different spheres of influence, from Danish over Swedish and Polish–Baltish, to German (Hansa and Holy Roman Empire), before independence in the Russian sphere and after the independence again Swedish and Finnish sphere.

In 2016, ethnic Balts make up about three quarters of the country's population. The population of Baltia stands at 6,295,000, 72.9% of them are ethnic Balts. Several sizable minorities exist, Russians (20.4%), Poles (2.6%), Belarusians (1.6%), Ukrainians (1.2%) and others (1.3%). Russians are the largest minority, concentrated in eastern and northeastern Baltia (Latgalia and Vierland). Poles are the second largest minority, concentrated mostly in Vilnaland. Today, there is still a small but very active Jewish community in the country of about 12,000 people and a Roma community of about 4,000 people.

Languages

Germanic languages in Europe0

The present-day distribution of the Germanic languages in Europe.

The official language of Baltia is Baltish, closely related to German. According to the Baltish population census of 2014, about 74% of the country's population speak Baltish as their native language and 95% of the population speak fluently this language. Since 1955, the Baltish Academy of Language (Baltisch-Sprachakademie) has been Baltia's official authority of the Baltish language, although its recommendations carry no legal power.

Other languages, such as Russian, Polish, Vőro or Samogitian are considered as regional languages and they are spoken in some cities and regions of Baltia. About 20% of population are native speakers of Russian and about 2% of Polish. Vőro and Samogitian native speakers do not reach 1% of population.

Other minority languages spoken in the country without any official status are: Belarusian, Yiddish, Swedish, Latgalian and Livonian.

The most common foreign languages learned by Baltish students are English, German and French. Other popular languages include Russian, Finnish, Spanish and Swedish.

Religion

Religion in Baltia (2014)
Religion % of population
Roman Catholic 34.2 34.2
 
Lutheranism 15 15
 
Eastern Orthodox 13.5 13.5
 
Other religions 1.9 1.9
 
Non-religious 35.4 35.4
 
Total 100 100
 
Basilica of the Assumption, Aglohn

Basilica of the Assumption in Aglohn, the most important Catholic spiritual center in Baltia.

Baltia was Christianised by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. During the Reformation, Protestantism spread, and the Lutheran church was officially established in the north of the country while the south and west remained Catholic. Before the World War II, Baltia was approximately 55% Catholic, 40% Protestant, with individuals adhering to Calvinism, as well as other Protestant branches and 5% Eastern Orthodox and other religious minorities.

Today, religion in Baltia is generally considered a personal matter and is not supposed to be propagated in public. The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and individual rights to privacy of belief and religion. After the World War II everything changed. The non-religious population grew significantly, especially in the Protestant north and to a lesser extent in the Catholic south. On the other hand, the Eastern Orthodox population grew by the Russophone population that settled mainly in Riga, Reval and the west and northwest of the country. Islam in Baltia is a very minority religion that professes mostly the immigrant population that came in late 1990s and early 2000s.

Baltia was historically home to a significant Jewish community from the 18th century until the eve of World War II. Of the approximately 300,000 Jews who lived in Baltia in June 1941, almost all were entirely annihilated during the Holocaust. The community numbered about 6,500 at the end of 2009.

Education and science

University of Riga

Main building of the University of Riga.

University of Vilna amd Church of St. Johns

The Grand Courtyard of the University of Vilna and Church of St. John.

The first documented school in Baltia was established in 1387 at Vilna Cathedral. The school network was influenced by the Christianization of Baltia. Several types of schools were present in medieval Baltia; cathedral schools, where pupils were prepared for priesthood; parish schools, offering elementary education; and home schools dedicated to educating the children of the Baltish nobility. Before University of Vilna was established in 1579, Balts seeking higher education attended universities in foreign cities, including Uppsala, Kraków, Prague and Leipzig, among others. The second oldest university is the University of Dorpat, established by the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf in 1632.

Today's education in Baltia is divided into general, vocational, and hobby. The education system is based on four levels: pre-school, basic, secondary and higher education. The Baltish education system consists of public and private institutions but only around 12% of students are enrolled in private schools (mostly specialist language and international schools).

Academic higher education in Baltia is divided into three levels: bachelor's, master's and doctoral studies. In some specialties (basic medical studies, veterinary, pharmacy, dentistry, architect-engineer and a classroom teacher programme) the bachelor's and master's levels are integrated into one unit. In addition to organising the academic life of the university, universities can create new curricula, establish admission terms and conditions, approve the budget, approve the development plan, elect the rector and make restricted decisions in matters concerning assets.

The Baltish Academy of Sciences is the national academy of science. The strongest public non-profit research institute that carries out fundamental and applied research is the National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics (NICPB). Baltia develop their scientific potential on the basis of the existing scientific traditions, particularly in organic chemistry, medical chemistry, genetic engineering, physics, materials science and information technologies.

Health

Health care in Baltia is two-tier: public and private sectors exist. The public health care system is governed by the Health Act 1980, which modify and renew the body to be responsible for providing universal health to everyone living in Baltia, the National Health Service (Nationale Gesundheitdienst), founded in 1947.

As of 2015 Baltish life expectancy at birth was 70.1 years for males and 80.1 for females, and the infant mortality rate was 4.35 per 1,000 births. The difference between male life expectancy and female is unusually large. Baltia has seen a dramatic rise in suicides in last years, 19.3 in 2012, the fifteenth highest suicide rate in the world.

Culture

Art

For an extended period, the Baltish art scene was dominated by artwork from Germany and Poland as well as by the influence of Stockholm. It was in the 18th century that a truly Baltish era began, with portraits and impressive landscapes.

National Museum of Baltia

National Museum of Baltia in Riga.

The National Museum of Baltia is the main museum of visual arts and has the richest collection of national art in Baltia. It houses more than 52,000 works of art reflecting the development of professional art in Baltia from the middle of the 18th century until the present time. Founded in 1869 in Riga, it was the first building in the country to be built for the purposes of a museum.

In 2006, KUMU, a subsidiary of the National Museum, was inaugurated in Reval.

Architecture

The architectural history of Baltia mainly reflects its contemporary development in northern Europe. Worth mentioning is especially the architectural ensemble that makes out the medieval old towns of Riga, Vilna and Reval, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In addition, the country has several unique, more or less preserved hill forts dating from pre-Christian times, a large number of still intact medieval castles and churches, while the countryside is still shaped by the presence of a vast number of manor houses from earlier centuries.

Baltia is also known for numerous palaces, most of them totally or partially rebuilt and still in use today.

Music

The earliest mention of Baltish singing dates back to Saxo Grammaticus Gesta Danorum (ca. 1179). Saxo speaks of Baltish warriors who sang at night while waiting for a battle. The older folksongs are also referred to as folklied, songs in the poetic metre fersenlied the tradition shared by other Baltic countries. Runic singing was widespread among Baltish until the 18th century, when rhythmic folk songs began to replace them.

Traditional wind instruments derived from those used by shepherds were once widespread, but are now becoming again more commonly played. Other instruments, including the fiddle, zither, concertina and accordion are used to play polka or other dance music. The kannel is a native instrument that is now again becoming more popular in Baltia.

Baltish Song Festival

The Baltish Song Festival is UNESCO's Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

In Baltia, choral music is very important. The tradition of Baltish Song Festival (Liedfest) started at the height of the Baltish national awakening in 1869. Today, it is one of the largest amateur choral events in the world. In 2013, about 33,000 people participated in the Song Festival. Since 1953, the Kaiserwald Great Bandstand (Gross Musikpavillon) in Riga have hosted the event every five years in July. The last festival took place in July 2013. The next Song Festival will take place in 2018 marking the 100th anniversary of the independence of Baltia.

In the 1950s, baritone Jürgen Obst rose to worldwide prominence as an opera singer.

Nowadays, the most known Baltish composer is Harold Panzer, who has been the most performed living composer in the world for five consecutive years.

The modern pop and rock scene has produced a few names of note internationally, including Anne Fersen, Kerstin Kolb, Lars Reinisch, Blauhaus, Lena Kurmann, Ewald and The Three Dragons, Otto Lehmann, Human Wolf, Big Mess, Mia, Jürgen Potthast, among others.

Baltia has won the Eurovision Song Contest in 3 times. In 1989 with the song "Join me" performed by Noiz, in 2001 with the song "Let’s sing along" performed by Daniel Pasche and Efren Beck and finally in 2002 with the song "I Wanna" performed by Marianne.

Literature

De Frau

De Frau's official portrait.

The Baltish literature refers to literature written in the Baltish language. The domination of Baltia after the Northern Crusades, from the 13th century to 1918 by Germany, Sweden, Poland and Russia resulted in few early written literary works in the Baltish language. The oldest records of written Baltish date from the 13th century. Originates Livoniae in Chronicle of Henry of Livonia contains Baltish place names, words and fragments of sentences. The Liber Census Daniae (1241) contains Baltish place and family names. Many folk tales are told to this day and some have been written down and translated to make them accessible to an international readership.

The self-educated De Frau (1845–1921) published a number of short stories in the late 19th century and early 20th century. She became one of the major participants in the Baltish national awakening and she was considered to be the mother of the national literature for the country.

Oscar Lutz was the most prominent prose writer of the early Baltish literature, who is still widely read today, especially his lyrical school novel Frühling (Spring). Anton Tanneberger's social epic and psychological realist pentalogy Wahrheit unt Gerechtigkeit (Truth and Justice) captured the evolution of Baltish society from a peasant community to an independent nation.

In modern times, Johannes Krauss, Georgina Ivankova, Johannes Kaplan, Andreas Kirschbaum and Inka Abetz are Baltia's best known and most translated writers.

Cinema

The film industry in Baltia started in 1896, when the first "moving pictures" were screened in Riga. The first movie theater was opened in 1908. By 1914 all major cities in Baltia had cinemas where newsreels, documentaries and short films were screened.

The first local documentary was made in 1908 with the production of a newsreel about Swedish King Gustav V’s visit to Reval. The first Baltish documentary was created by Johannes Pagels in 1912, followed by the short film Bärenjagd in Pernauland (Bear Hunt in Pernauland) in 1914. The first full-length feature film was made in 1924, Schatten fon de Fergangenheit (Shadow of the Past), directed by Konstantin Marsk. Junge Adlers (Young Eagles) (1927) is generally regarded as the cornerstone of Baltish cinema.

The film Frühling (Spring), directed by Arnold Krukenberg, was released in 1969 and is the most watched Baltish film in history. The film was re-released on 13 April 2006.

In 1987, the Baltish Film Foundation was founded by the Ministry of Culture to promote and protect the cinema of Baltia.

Media

Riga TV Tower

Riga TV Tower, the third tallest tower in Europe.

Baltia ranked 12th in the 2017 Press Freedom Index report compiled by the Reporters Without Borders. In 2007, it ranked 3rd.

Baltisch Rundfunk (BR) is Baltia's public service broadcaster, founded in 1955, held the monopoly on radio and television for a long time in the country. BR operates five national television channels, BR1, BR2, BR3/BR Kids, BR4 and B·TV. The other main private national television channels are TV4, Kanal 5 and Sechs. There are 6 regional television channels and around 20 local television channels. There are also a lot of minor channels that focuses their programs on a more specific public.

BR also operates six national stations of radio, Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio Klassik, Radio Plus and Radio World. Since the early 1980s, Baltia has a number of private national radio stations, like Radio 24, RadioCity, Sky Radio, among others, and as well an extensive network of regional and local radio stations available countrywide.

The Baltia News Service (BNS) is the largest news agency in Baltia. BNS was founded in 1919 as the Baltisch Presse Agentur by the journalist Edmund Freiberger.

Baltia has a traditionally competitive print media, which is divided into daily national newspapers, daily regional newspapers and national Sunday editions, as well as weekly magazines. The country's most larger and most selling daily national newspapers are De Telegraf (Right-wing), De Presse (Centrism), De Morgen (Centrism) and Express (Left-wing). The two main weekly magazines are Republik (Left-wing) and De Woche (Right-wing).

Cuisine

Kartoffelklössens

Kartoffelklössens is the national dish of Baltia.

Baltish cuisine features the products suited to the cool and moist climate of Baltia: barley, potatoes, rye, beets, greens, berries and mushrooms are locally grown, and dairy products are one of its specialties. Since it shares its climate and agricultural practices with Northern Europe, Baltish cuisine has some similarities to Scandinavian cuisine. Nevertheless, it has its own distinguishing features, which were formed by a variety of influences during the country's long and difficult history.

Traditionally in winter, jams, preserves and pickles are brought to the table. Gathering and conserving fruits, mushrooms and vegetables for winter has always been popular. Today, it is also very popular to grill outside in summer. Hunting and fishing have also been very common, although currently are enjoyed mostly as hobbies.

Sports

Sport plays an important role in Baltish culture. After declaring independence from Russia in 1918, Baltia first competed as a nation at the 1920 Summer Olympics, although the National Olympic Committee was established in 1923.

Basketball and ice hockey are the national sports of Baltia. The Baltia national basketball team has had significant success in international basketball events, having won the EuroBasket on four occasions (1935, 1937, 1939 and 2003), as well other medals in the EuroBasket, the World Championships and the Olympic Games. Baltia hosted the Eurobasket in 1939 and 2011, and also was one of the hosts in 2015.

Ice hockey is also popular in Baltia. Dinamo Riga is the country's strongest hockey club, playing in the Kontinental Hockey League. The 2006 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships were held in Baltia.

Association football is popular in Baltia, but has claimed poor results in international competitions. The most important tournament is the Baltish League, established in 1928.

Other popular sports in the country are tennis, volleyball, cycling, swimming, bobsleigh, skeleton and chess.

Public holidays

The Baltish National Day is the Republic Day celebrated every 23 March, the day the Baltish Declaration of Independence was issued in Riga. From 1980 there are 12 public holidays (all day) and three half-day public holidays (afternoon off) celebrated annually in all country. In addition, each municipality has one day a year to celebrate its own public holiday.

Torch's Evening Procession 2013

Torch's Evening procession 2013 in Riga.

Genkünen Cemetery in Schaulen

Genkünen Cemetery in Schaulen at All Saints' night.

Date English Name Baltish Name Remarks
1 January New Year's Day Neujahrtag
6 January Epiphany Day Epiphanietag
22 March Torch's Evening Fackelafent Half holiday
23 March Republic Day Republiktag
moveable Good Friday Karfreitag
moveable Easter Monday Ostermontag
1 May Labor Day Arbeitertag
4 May Liberation Day Befreiungtag
24 June Midsummer Day Mittsommertag
15 August Assumption Day Mariä-Himmelfahrtag
1 November All Saints' Day Alleheiligenstag
24 December Christmas Eve Weihnachtafent Half holiday
25 December Christmas Day Weihnachtag
26 December St. Stephen's Day Stefantag
31 December New Year's Eve Neujahrafent Half holiday

International rankings

The following are links to international rankings of Baltia.

Index Rank Countries reviewed
Freedom House Internet Freedom 2016 1st 65
Environmental Performance Index 2016 8th 180
Global Gender Gap Report Global Gender Gap Index 2015 21st 136
Index of Economic Freedom 2017 6th 180
Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2011–2012 11th 187
State of World Liberty Index 2006 1st 159
Human Development Index 2015[1] 30th 169
Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 22nd 176
Networked Readiness Index 2014 21st 133
Ease of Doing Business Index 2017 12th 190

See also

Republic of Königsberg


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