What happened in Latvia between August 18 and 21, 1991

Take note – story published 1 year and 10 months ago

On the night of August 18, 1991, a coup or putsch was attempted in Moscow. This event thirty-one years ago threatened to return the Baltic States to the dark times of the occupation by the Soviet Union. What happened in Latvia at that time?

The possibility of a coup was not taken very seriously in Latvia at the time, so the morning of August 19, when the military machinery of the Soviet army blocked the main routes of access to Riga, came unexpectedly. By the evening, the Latvian Television building and the Internal Affairs Ministry had been taken over.  


On August 21, with Special Purpose Mobile Unit OMON armored vehicles in Doma Square, the Supreme Council adopted a constitutional law on the status of Latvia as an independent state. Two days later, a red-and-white flag flew over the building of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Latvia. The putschists had lost.

If you wish to take a look at additional materials on the August coup in Latvia, you can watch a short documentary here or last year's informative video by the Saeima here, complete with English subtitles. A full documentary was produced by LTV last year, available here.

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