Riga to Liepāja (Karosta)

The 9th International Festival for New Media Culture moves to the conference venue.

Karosta was constructed as a naval base for the Russian Tsar, and later served as a base for the Soviet Navy. The base is of tactical importance due to its central location in the Baltic Sea and the fact that it does not ice over in winter. Built on the bare coast it consists of a large man-made harbour including a large breakwater and inland submarine warren. When the Russian army left Latvia in 1994 after Latvian independence, Karosta became largely uninhabited and most structures fell to ruin. The area is troubled by high unemployment, street crime and drug problems. Some remaining residents are considered neither Latvian nor Russian and hold “alien passports”

During the Soviet occupation, Liepaja was a closed city and even nearby farmers and villagers needed a special permit to enter the city. The Soviet military set up its main Baltic naval base there, and closed it completely to commercial traffic in the late 1960s. One third of the city was occupied by the Soviet Naval Base with 26 thousand military staff.

Top secret USSR document about creating closed military port in Liepaja. Signed by Stalin.

The conference venue; former Admiralty palace