Rezekne is at the heart of Latgale. Historically the city was part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and then the Russian Empire. The St. Petersburg – Warsaw highway and train route influenced the development of the city in the 1800s. Latgale become a part of Latvia in the 1917. In the 1930s, the city of Rezekne became the cultural center of Latgale region. During the Second World War Rezekne was destroyed significantly and had to be rebuilt to today’s entirety. Those older building survived the war are preserved by the city.
The demographic of Rezekne is divided almost equally between Latvians and Ethnic Russians. The Russia’s speakers of the city do pose security threat, as one of the residents Reiners put it, due to the consumption of the Russian language program aired from Russia. He added, some locals who are Latvians still prefer to speak in Russian. His father was a in the military service for 10 years during the Soviet times whom observed should Lativa was not part of NATO it would take the Russian army to reach Rezekne less than 40 hours.
Another local Laura noted the alien passport issued by the Latvian government to the Russian speakers made Russian speakers not part of the country. In the city, most shopkeepers speak just Russian. Therefore, Latvian speaking locals such as Laura are obliged to speak in Russian to be able to purchase what they want. However, Laura noted, after the war in Ukraine she insists speaking only in Latvian even if she had to run the risk of not getting what she wants.
Before the war in Ukraine, locals were tolerant. But it is changing now, according to Laura. The divide in the community is also noticeable; for example, she observed when someone carries Ukrainian flag at time they get harassed. Her husband works in a Russian speaking environment where the workers have opposing view of the war. However, she believes if the one continues to speak about the war and explain to those who are skeptical or misinformed then there might be a possibility that they may change their minds. Laura’s father who was pro Russia and pro Putin has changed his mind after the war in Ukraine as he realized the war in Ukraine is not correct. She added, unfortunately, most in Rezekne still in the Soviet times and ideas about jobs, social security and every day life.