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Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a [country] in the [Baltic region] of [Northern Europe] . It is bordered to the north by [Estonia] (343 km), to the south by [Lithuania] (588 km), to the east by the [Russian Federation] (276 km), and to the southeast by [Belarus] (141 km). Across the [Baltic Sea] to the west lies [Sweden] . The territory of Latvia covers and it has a [temperate seasonal climate] .

The [Latvians] are [Baltic people] culturally related to the [Estonians] and [Lithuanians] , with the [Latvian language] having many similarities with [Lithuanian] , but not with the [Estonian language] (a [Finno-Ugric] language). Today the Latvian and Lithuanian languages are the only surviving members of the [Baltic languages] of the [Indo-European] family. The modern name of Latvia is thought to originate from the ancient Latvian name Latvji , which, like the [name of Lithuania] , may have originated from the river named Latuva.

Latvia is a [unitary] [parliamentary republic] and is divided into 118 [municipalities] (109 counties and 9 cities). The capital and largest city is [Riga] . With a population of 2.24 million Latvia is one of the least-populous members of the [European Union] , and its population has declined since 1991. Latvia has been a member of the [United Nations] since September 17, 1991; of the [European Union] since May 1, 2004 and of the [NATO] since March 29, 2004.

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