• 2009-05-07
In some latest TBT issues there was [a lot] about corruption in Latvia and Lithuania. In issue #651, Fergus Dodd from London was enraged about Latvian legal system.
This time around I fully share the negative critic. Really, the Latvian court system is a substantial part of societal legal and political culture and it is often evoked in connection with eventual corruption cases.

Rather often it is hardly understandable why our courts adjourn court sittings due to negligible reasons; why defendants so rarely have been fined for failure to appear; why so often the courts pass mild, inadequate rulings on criminal acts with hard consequences; why this system functions so unwieldy, slowly and ineffectively.

I suppose that such an order of matters or dominating low morals and general poor interpersonal culture in society, largely widespread attitude "apres nous le deluge" partly can be explained with Soviet time heritage and traditions and partly with a fact that our countries are relatively new democracies; in part it can be attributed to a rather small number of residents when "everybody knows everyone."

After the Baltics regained independence at the beginning of 1990s, quite often things were going on like in the novels of Jack London about Golden Rush and Wild West, when the best law was bare force (a gun) and force (a gun) was the best law.

As we know, at the end of 1990s there emerged such a notion as "state capture" or "pocket state" in Latvia. This means that the state has been split up between oligarchs (in our case 's Skele, Lembergs, Slesers). Such an order of things apparently is widely acceptable to large portion of society because corruptibility is acute not only in state governance and its institutions, but in the everyday life of an average resident as well. It is said that a fish decays from the head and pine cones fall from the top, but to my mind, as an old adage says, "what like is the nation, such is the government."

What could be a possible solution? Probably one can think of and remember the Moses-led exodus of Jews from Egypt through desert over 40 years.
It is quite popular to blame capitalism and democracy. Herewith I have to agree with Sir W. Churchill's famed saying about democracy; I want to say, what like is democracy, such is capitalism and vice versa. There is just one remedy 's culture build up since awareness, attitude and behavior all spring out of human culture.

Gundars Sondors
Jelgava, Latvia


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