If one follows the long, unpopulated state road out of Riga heading
towards Estonia and then takes the turn-off to Seda in a area of deep
forest, one suddenly finds oneself in what appears to be Russia in
the 1950s. But the Orthodox Church is a converted liquor store and
the cemetery warden was forced to resign not long ago because he does not have Latvian citizenship…
Seda was established in 1952 and has since been inhabited by workers from the former USSR, who were relocated there to farm Latvia’s largest peat deposits. They speak Russian, and their life today is a bizarre mixture of Soviet traditions, Russian-Orthodox rituals and Latvian national holidays. Latvia’s accession to the EU has brought with it some 800,000 Russians. The people of Seda do not want to be a part of the EU. They are happy to stay in their own world – the marshlands.