Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic

Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic

Infobox SSR
name = Latvian SSR
rus-name = Латвийская Советская Социалистическая Республика
loc-name = "Latvijas Padomju Sociālistiskā Republika"
full-name = Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
year_start = 1940
year_end = 1991
p1 = Latvia
flag_p1 = Flag of Latvia.svg
s1 = Latvia
flag_s1 = Flag of Latvia.svg

arms = Coat of arms of Latvian SSR.png

capital = Riga
language = Latvian and Russian
Lang-ISO = lv
established = July 21, 1940
ussr-start = August 5, 1940
ussr-end = August 21, 1991
area-rank = 12th
area = 64,589
water = 1.5%
pop-rank = 14th
pop = 2,666,567 (1989)
density = 41.3
time-zone = + 3
anthem = Anthem of Latvian SSR
medals =

The Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic ( _lv. Latvijas Padomju Sociālistiskā Republika; _ru. Латвийская Советская Социалистическая Республика "Latviyskaya Sovetskaya Sotsialisticheskaya Respublika"), also known as the Latvian SSR for short, was one of the republics that made up the Soviet Union. Established on July 21, 1940 as a puppet state during World War II in the territory of the previously independent Republic of Latvia after it had been occupied by the Soviet army on June 17, 1940 in conformity with the terms of August 23, 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The Latvian SSR was formally annexed into the Soviet Union (USSR) on August 5, 1940, when it nominally became the 15th constituent republic of the USSR. Its territory was subsequently conquered by Nazi Germany in 1941, before being retaken by the Soviets in 1944-1945. The independence of Republic of Latvia was restored on August 21, 1991.


The governments of the Baltic countries, [ [ The Occupation of Latvia ] at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia ] [ [ Estonia says Soviet occupation justifies it staying away from Moscow celebrations - Pravda.Ru] ] the European Court of Human Rights, [European Court of Human Rights cases on Occupation of Baltic States] the United Nations Human Rights Council, [ [| UNITED NATIONS Human Rights Council Report] ] the United States, [ U.S.-Baltic Relations: Celebrating 85 Years of Friendship] at] and the . The European parliament in recognising the illegal occupation of the Baltic states from 1940 till the fall of the Soviet Union, led to the early acceptance of the Baltic states into the NATO alliance.

The Russian government and state officials maintain that the Soviet annexation of Latvia was legitimate according to international law. [ [ Russia denies Baltic 'occupation'] by BBC News] The State Duma passed a resolution on 19 November 1999 to "remind the deputies of the Latvian Saeima that Latvia's being a part of the Soviet Union was grounded by fact and by law from the international juridical point of view," maintaining that the incorporation of Latvia into the USSR was legal according to the laws of Latvia, the Soviet Union, and international law (de jure). [ [ ПОСТАНОВЛЕНИЕ ГД ФС РФ ОТ 19.11.1999 N 4568-II ГД О ЗАЯВЛЕНИИ ГОСУДАРСТВЕННОЙ ДУМЫ ФЕДЕРАЛЬНОГО СОБРАНИЯ РОССИЙСКОЙ ФЕДЕРАЦИИ "В СВЯЗИ С ПРИНЯТИЕМ СЕЙМОМ ЛАТВИЙСКОЙ РЕСПУБЛИКИ 8 ИЮЛЯ 1999 ГОДА ЗАКОНА ЛАТВИЙСКОЙ РЕСПУБЛИКИ "О ГОСУДАРСТВЕННОМ ЯЗЫКЕ"] - Text of the declaration in Russian ru icon]



On September 24, 1939 the USSR entered the airspace of all three Baltic states, flying numerous intelligence gathering operations. On September 25 Moscow requested that the Baltic countries allow the USSR to establish military bases and to station troops on their soil. [The Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by David J. Smith, Page 24, ISBN 0415285801] The government of Latvia accepted the ultimatum, signing the corresponding agreement on October 5, 1939.

On June 16, 1940, followed by another ultimatum the USSR invaded Latvia. [ [ Soviet invasion of the Baltic states in 1940 @ "Documents By France, International Peasant Union, Assemblée de l'Union; 1960"] ] [ [ the Soviet invasion of the Baltic states @ A Dictionary of Twentieth-century World History] ; Oxford University Press, 1997; ISBN 019280016] [,9171,764071-2,00.html Five Years of Dates] at Time magazine on Monday, Jun. 24, 1940. ]

Molotov accused Latvia along with other Baltic states forming a conspiracy against the Soviet Union, Moscow presented ultimatums, demanding new concessions, which included the replacement of governments and allowing an unlimited number of troops to enter the three countries. [see report of Latvian Chargé d'affaires, Fricis Kociņš, regarding the talks with Soviet Foreign Commissar Molotov in cite book | last = I.Grava-Kreituse, I.Feldmanis, J.Goldmanis, A.Stranga. | title = Latvijas okupācija un aneksija 1939-1940: Dokumenti un materiāli. "(The Occupation and Annexation of Latvia: 1939-1940. Documents and Materials.)" | year = 1995 | language = latvian | pages= 348-350 | url = ] Hundreds of thousands Soviet troops entered Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania across the borders. [nearly 650,000 according to cite book |last=Kenneth Christie, Robert Cribb |title=Historical Injustice and Democratic Transition in Eastern Asia and Northern Europe: Ghosts at the Table of Democracy |url =,M1 |year=2002 |publisher=RoutledgeCurzon |location= |isbn=0700715991 |pages = 83] These additional Soviet military forces far outnumbered the armies of each country. Stephane Courtois; Werth, Nicolas; Panne, Jean-Louis; Paczkowski, Andrzej; Bartosek, Karel; Margolin, Jean-Louis & Kramer, Mark (1999). "The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression". Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-07608-7.]

The Baltic governments had decided that, in conditions of international isolation and given the overwhelming Soviet force both on the borders and inside the countries, it was in their interests not to actively resist and to avoid bloodshed in an unwinnable war. [The Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania p.19 ISBN-10: 0415285801] The occupation of the Baltic states was complete with a communist coup d'état in each country, supported by the Soviet troops. [Estonia: Identity and Independence by Jean-Jacques Subrenat, David Cousins, Alexander Harding, Richard C. Waterhouse ISBN-10: 9042008903]

Most of the Defence Forces of the Baltic Countries surrendered on these orders, and were disarmed by the Red Army.

The repressions followed with the mass deportations carried out by the Soviets. Order № 001223, "On the Procedure for carrying out the Deportation of Anti-Soviet Elements from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia", contained detailed instructions for procedures and protocols to observe in the deportation of Baltic nationals.

In the following month, rigged parliamentary elections were conducted by local communists loyal to the Soviet Union and all non-communist candidates were disqualified. ["Attitudes of the Major Soviet Nationalities", Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1973] ] The election results were fabricated: the Soviet press service released them early, with the result that they had already appeared in print in a London newspaper a full 24 hours before the polls closed. [cite book |last=Mangulis |first=Visvaldis |title=Latvia in the Wars of the 20th century |url= |year=1983 |publisher=Princeton Junction: Cognition Books |isbn=0912881003 |chapter=VIII. September 1939 to June 1941 |chapterurl = ] Švābe, Arvīds. "The Story of Latvia". Latvian National Foundation. Stockholm. 1949.] [cite book |last= Ferdinand Feldbrugge "et al." |title=Encyclopedia of Soviet Law |year=1985 |publisher=Brill |location= |isbn= 9024730759 |pages = 460] The result was that all three Baltic states had communist majorities in their parliaments, and in August, despite claims prior to the elections that no such action would be taken, they petitioned the Soviet government to join the Soviet Union. The petitions were granted and Latvia was formally annexed by the Soviet Union.


The Latvian SSR, along with the other Baltic Republics was allowed greater autonomy in the late 1980s, and in 1988 the old pre-war Flag of Latvia was allowed to be used, replacing the Soviet Latvian flag as the official flag in 1990. Pro-independence Latvian Popular Front candidates gained a two-thirds majority in the Supreme Council in the March 1990 democratic elections. On May 4, the Council declared its intention to restore full Latvian independence after a transitional period through negotiations with the USSR. This is also the date, when Latvian SSR was renamed Republic of Latvia. However, the central power in Moscow continued to regard Latvia as Soviet republic in 1990-1991. In January 1991, Soviet political and military forces tried unsuccessfully to overthrow the Republic of Latvia authorities by occupying the central publishing house in Riga and establishing a Committee of National Salvation to usurp governmental functions. During the transitional period Moscow maintained many central Soviet state authorities in Latvia. In spite of this, seventy-three percent of all Latvian residents confirmed their strong support for independence on March 3, 1991, in a nonbinding advisory referendum. A large number of ethnic Russians also voted for the proposition.

The Republic of Latvia declared the end of the transitional period and restored full independence on August 21, 1991 in the aftermath of the failed Soviet coup attempt. Latvia, as well as Lithuania and Estonia de facto ceased to be parts of the USSR 4 months before the Soviet Union itself ceased to exist (December 26, 1991). Soon, on September 6, the independence of three Baltic states was officially recognised by the USSR.


Today's Republic of Latvia and other Baltic states considers themselves to be the legal continuation of the sovereign states whose first independent existence dates back to 1918-1940, and does not accept any legal connection with the former Latvian SSR which had been occupied and annexed into USSR 1940-1941 and 1944-1991. Since independence, the Communist Party of the Latvian SSR was discontinued, and a number of high-ranking Latvian SSR officials faced prosecution for their role in various human rights abuses during the Latvian SSR regime.

oviet sources prior to Perestroika

Up to the reassessment of Soviet history in USSR that began during Perestroika, before the USSR had condemned the 1939 secret protocol between Nazi Germany and itself that had led to the invasion and occupation of the three Baltic countries, [ The Forty-Third Session of the UN Sub-Commission] at Google Scholar] the events in 1939 were as follows: The Government of the Soviet Union suggested that the Governments of the Baltic countries conclude mutual assistance treaties between the countries. Pressure from working people forced the governments of the Baltic countries to accept this suggestion. The Pacts of Mutual Assistance were then signed [ru icon [ 1939 USSR-Latvia Mutual Aid Pact (full text)] ] which allowed the USSR to station a limited number of Red Army units in the Baltic countries. Economic difficulties and dissatisfaction of the populace with the Baltic governments' policies that had sabotaged fulfilment of the Pact and the Baltic countries governments' political orientation towards Nazi Germany lead to a revolutionary situation in June, 1940. To guarantee fulfilment of the Pact, additional military units entered Baltic countries, welcomed by the workers who demanded the resignations of the Baltic governments. In June under the leadership of the Communist Parties political demonstrations by workers were held. The fascist governments were overthrown, and workers' governments formed. In July 1940, elections for the Baltic Parliaments were held. The "Working People’s Unions", created by an initiative of the Communist Parties, received the majority of the votes.Great Soviet Encyclopedia] The Parliaments adopted the declarations of the restoration of Soviet powers in Baltic countries and proclaimed the Soviet Socialist Republics. Declarations of Estonia's, Latvia's and Lithuania's wishes to join the USSR were adopted and the Supreme Soviet of the USSR petitioned accordingly. The requests were approved by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

Official position of the Russian government

The Russian government and officials maintain that the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states was legitimate [ [ Russia and the Baltic States: Not a Case of "Flawed" History] - interview with Mikhail Demurin, head of the Executive Committee International Department of the "Rodina" (Homeland) party.] and that the Soviet Union liberated the countries from the Nazis. [cite news | author = BBC News|Europe | title = Russia denies Baltic 'occupation' | url = | accessdate = 09-03-2007 ] [cite news | author = BBC News|Europe | title = Bush denounces Soviet domination | url = | accessdate = 09-03-2007 ] They state that the Soviet Union acted in response to Germany-oriented policies of the three Baltic states that resulted from alleged secret talks conducted by the governments of these states with Nazi leadership [ [ "Russian intelligence justifies Soviet annexation of Baltic states"] - from RIA Novosti, 23.11.2006] and that the subsequent entry of additional Soviet troops into the Baltics in 1940 was done following the agreements and with the consent of the then governments of the Baltic republics. They also maintain that the USSR was not in a state of war and was not waging any combat activities on the territory of the three Baltic states; therefore, the word 'occupation' can not be used. The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that "The assertions about [the] 'occupation' by the Soviet Union and the related claims ignore all legal, historical and political realities, and are therefore utterly groundless." [ [ "Russia's rejection of Lithuania occupation claims final -ministry"] - from, 18.01.2007]


The Soviet period saw rebuilding and increase of the industrial capacity, including the automobile (RAF) and electrotechnic (VEF) factories, food-processing industry, oil pipelines and the bulk-oil port Ventspils. Part of the incorporation of the Latvian SSR into the Soviet Union was the introduction of the Russian language into all spheres of public life. Russian became a prerequisite for admission to higher education and better job occupations. It was also made a compulsory subject in all Latvian schools.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, all of the economy branches associated with it collapsed as well. While a significant Russian presence in Latgale predated the Soviet Union, the intense industrialization and the heavy importation of labor from the Soviet Union to support it, led to significant increases in the Russian minority in Riga, even forming a majority in Latvian urban centers such as Daugavpils, Rēzekne, Ogre. Those areas were also hardest hit economically when the Soviet Union collapsed, leading to massive unemployment. Sharp disagreement with Russia over the legacy of the Soviet era has led to punitive economic measures by Russia, including the demise of transit trade as Russia cut off petroleum exports through Ventspils in 2003 (eliminating 99% of its shipments), after Latvia refused to sell the oil port to the Russian state oil company, Transneft.dubious

See also

* Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic (1919–20)


External links

* [ "Ethnic structure of Latvia" at] , illustrating changes in population of Latvia over the last hundred years.

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