‘Little Latvia’ lives on in Siberia

THE people of the remote Siberian village of Bobrovka call it the ‘Little Latvia of the Taiga,’ where Baltic traditions continue more than 100 years after settlers from the region first arrived. At the end of the 19th century, several Latvian families moved 3,000 kilometres east to take up an offer of free land made as part of an agricultural reform. Latvia was at the time a part of Tsarist Russia. Today, many of the roughly 130 villagers still speak Latvian, though Russian is the language of day-to-day-life.

VILLAGERS and visiting Latvians perform a traditional dance during a reception at a village club in Bobrovka. Photo: Relaxnews

Some five hours drive from the nearest major Siberian city of Omsk, Bobrovka boasts wooden houses built in the traditional Latvian style and makes cheese based on Latvian recipes. Almost every family owns the traditional Latvian dress, which they bring out for special occasions when songs and dances from the homeland are also performed. At the end of last month, Baltic folk group Druvas Zemturi came to the tiny settlement as part of a project to support Latvian diasporas around the world. – Relaxnews