On this day, August 21, 1991, 24 years ago, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia enacted the Constitutional Law "On the Statehood of the Republic of Latvia", marking the end of transition to the de facto independence of Latvia.
This was made possible by the fiasco of the coup d’etat in Moscow, which was initiated as an attempt to halt the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The decision of the parliament of that time marked a legal turning point from the transition period defined by the May 4 Declaration of Independence and intending to fully restore the independence of the country, to doing so.
Thus, on August 21, 1991, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia ruled that "Latvia is an independent democratic republic, and the sovereign power of the State of Latvia is vested in the people of Latvia".
De facto independence opened the path to international recognition and admission to global and regional cooperation structures. This, however, was only the starting point since actual reinstatement of independence, the creation of state institutions and relevant regulation, demanded a colossal effort.
It was a historical event, thanks to which Latvia has developed into a strong, sovereign and democratic country. Therefore every citizen is called upon to remember the course of events which led us to August 21, because only by working together, as the nation did then, can Latvia be successfully developed in the future.
Needless to say, this whole week is very dear to us all. The road to restoring independence was long and full of peril. People of the Baltic States have learned never to take freedom for granted.
Latvia has three important dates, all of which could be called independence days because of their major role in Latvian history. Those are as follows: November 18 (1918), the official Independence Day of Latvia, when the Declaration of Independence of Latvia was signed; May 4 (1990), the Restoration of Independence Day, marking the decision to declare Latvia as a sovereign state, entering a transitional period and separating from the Soviet Union after 50 years of occupation; and, of course, August 21 (1991), when de facto independence was officially claimed and international recognition soon followed.