In English

Recent blog entries:  

A letter to young European parliamentarians

When soft power turns hard

About me 

I am tremendously lucky to have been born at a particular time in a particular place. Latvia 1973! My birthplace has allowed me to partake in perhaps the most tremendous political and social seismic shift of the world in the 20th century - the downfall  and collapse of the Soviet empire. Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940 and this hugely impacted the fate of my family on both my mother's and father's sides. As a child at family gatherings, I witnessed how two of my dear uncles repeatedly relived the immense tensions of the Second World War - one of them had served in the German Nazi occupation army, the other one in the Soviet Army, literally facing each other from the two opposing trenches.   

As a child during the Brezhnev’s reign of the Soviet Union, I lived in a culture of half-truths and whispers. I would stand in the hall with my ear pressed to the closed kitchen door in my parents' humble soviet apartment trying to catch the punch line of the numerous anti-Soviet jokes that in hushed voices were cautiously passed around by my parents and their close friends. Similarly, I was bewildered why one of the few true joys of my soviet childhood - the red pioneer scarf  was not marveled over by my father.  

The revolts against the Soviet system in 1980s for me culminated in 1989, when at the age of 16, I could be one important link in a human chain that ran from northern Estonia, through Latvia, and ended in southern Lithuania, demonstrating to the world that the Baltic States had never mentally been conquered by Soviet dogma and deserve to be independent. I remember the moment when we joined hands in what has now become to be known as the Baltic Way. I felt electricity running from the fingertips of my left hand to the tips of fingers of my right hand.  

I owe a immense debt of gratitude to those who fought for and established independence for Latvia in 1990. At that time, who would have thought that a girl born during the years of Brezhnev’s frozen stagnation, who went to a small primary school under orthodox soviet control, would receive a generous scholarship to study at one of the best universities in the world - London School of Economics! My professional values and attitudes, however, came of age during the wonderful year I spent studying at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary in 1999 - 2000.  
In my professional life I have had wonderful opportunities to work with international organizations: Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Transparency International (TI), International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), Open Society Institute (OSI). I have also had generous opportunities to work at home in Latvia - as a journalist for Radio Free Europe, as an anti-corruption and good governance expert at Transparency International Latvia, and the public think tank Providus. As chairperson of the board of Transparency International Latvia chapter I lead the recovery of this vital anti-corruption wathcdog during its gloomiest years of 2008-2010 when we almost had to close the organization down due to organizational and financial disarray. 

Since 2010, I work as a Member of Parliament in Latvia. My present work is inspiring and frustrating, rewarding and disappointing, fraught with personal attacks, and frustrating loss of faith at times. Nonetheless, inspiration, support from my family, friends, acquaintances and often people I do not personally know, keep me going and help me gauge my work in a broader context of ever evolving progress that mankind creates. 

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