The Keys ep48 The famous RAF Latvija minibus
As fate would have it, Latvija became a household name when the country was not even on the map. It was all thanks to the famous RAF Latvija minibus. Over the course of several decades, the company produced around a quarter of a million of these vehicles. They made their way not only throughout the Soviet Union and its satellite states, but to a few European countries as well. RAF is short for Riga Autobus Factory. It was established in 1954, and for the first 20 years RAF minibuses were only produced in Riga. In 1975, a new factory was opened in Jelgava, and RAF quickly grew into one of the largest enterprises in the USSR. The city’s population swelled, as people started coming in from nearby collective farms and all corners of the Soviet Union. Within 30 years, the number of inhabitants doubled in Jelgava, and Latvians became a minority in their own town.