Latvia: new currency, new leader – but no problem

Latvia’s gotten credit for its generally sober and steady handling of overlapping political and economic transitions, but is everybody sold on all the changes?

Ints Kalnins/Reuters
Long-time civil servant Laimdota Straujuma, who was nominated as Latvia's prime minister, smiles as she speaks to the media during a news conference in Riga, Latvia, January 6, 2014.

Latvia has bolstered its image as a stable polity with the nomination this weekend of Laimdota Straujuma to be the country’s next prime minister. An economist who currently heads the agriculture ministry, Ms. Straujuma belonged to no party until joining the ruling Unity party over the weekend. She has since sounded notes of consistency of economic policy so as not to spook investors as it prepares for fall elections and begins a new chapter as the newest eurozone member.

“This is merely a caretaker government until the elections in October,” says our Baltics correspondent in Tallinn. “[S]he has stated explicitly the intention to continue the austerity program of her predecessor.”

Her nomination by the Unity party follows the resignation in November of the previous prime minister, who stepped down to take responsibility for a roof collapse at a supermarket that left more than 50 dead. The sudden change at the top didn’t faze analysts as the preparations for the Jan. 1 accession to the eurozone were already in place.... For the rest of the story, continue reading at our new business publication Monitor Frontier Markets.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.