Did Roman Abramovich, the world’s 15th richest man (and Russia’s second wealthiest), get an offer he can’t refuse?
An unknown Latvian called Andris posted a letter on petitonline.com which reads:
Dear Roman Abramovich. As you may already know our homeland Latvia went bankrupt and is currently holding talks with the International Monetary Fund on the sale of our country for 7.5 billion euros ($10.7 billion). [..]
I would like you to consider the possibility of purchasing Latvia: the population are hard working and pleasant, environmentally clean area and plenty of space to dock your yacht.
A prank, right? But one that got signed by 1,025 people (and counting).
It’s mostly Russian names – and since anyone can sign (I know; I tried), this is of course the perfect foil for a latest dig in the ongoing flamewar between Latvia and Russia. Then again, since the 40% or so Russian-speaking residents of Latvia have been largely and vocally dissatisfied ever since independence, there shouldn’t be a lack of signatories from Latvia either.
Not, moreover, that this is a first. As the bloggers at Eternal Remont point out:
Apparently this is not the first time Latvians have joined together to petition a foreign individual or state takeover. Also this year, over 2000 Latvians petitioned for Swedish occupation.
And this particular Baltic tradition goes back further than that, in one of my favourite bits of party political history. When the Estonians held their first national elections after independence in 1992, those were understandably won by conservative nationalists. But coming in sixth in a fragmented landscape was the Estonian Royalist Party.
The Royalists proposed establishing Estonia as an absolute monarchy. Of course there was the slight dilemma of Estonia never having had a royal family, so instead the party suggested the Swedish Crown Prince Carl Philip could become King of Estonia.*
The Royalists won no less than 7.1% of the vote, and 8 of the 101 seats in parliament.
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