On June 14 Latvia commemorates the thousands of citizens deported to Siberia by the Soviet authorities 78 years ago - many of whom never came back.
Mazā nometņu iela, lying on the left bank of the Daugava river that tourists rarely reach, is a small, quaint street with a character and shape filled with contradictions.
Today marks 110 years since the birth of Isaiah Berlin, a Latvian-born British philosopher and historian of ideas who is regarded as one of the foremost minds of the 20th century.
After the joint forces of Baltic Germans, Latvians and the Russian White Army freed Rīga from the communist rule on May 22, 1919, many Bolshevik supporters were shot. It is not clear how many exactly, and different sources give different estimates, starting from the 1924 estimate of 174 by the head of Rīga's Gendarmerie to 4,000–5,000 people as attested to by the social democrats and communists. Mass executions in Rīga only stopped in June 1919 after Allied intervention.
A hundred years ago on May 22 the joint forces of Baltic Germans, Latvians and the Russian White Army freed Rīga from the communist rule under which the Latvian capital had spent four and a half months. It was one of the most successful military operations of the time, resulting in the collapse of Soviet Latvia and halting the spread of communism in the country for twenty years. Most Red Army soldiers deserted during retreat, whereas most of the communist party members hid their tracks. The Soviet commissaries of Pēteris Stučka's government hastily got on a train to Rēzekne to retreat to Russia.
Members of Latvia's large Russian minority gathered in the capital Riga May 9 in large numbers to mark the end of World War II and the role of the Soviet Union in victory over Nazi Germany.
Ceremonies, speeches and thoughts on the nature of freedom were the order of the day across Latvia May 4 with the country marking the restoration of independence 29 years ago.
Altogether, more than 20,000 Latvian residents chose to partake in the national resistance against the Soviet occupation. They were supported by thousands of people who weren't up to taking to arms themselves. One of the chief reasons for a resistance of this scale was the brutal and ill-considered occupation policy on the part of the USSR. Anti-Soviet sentiment merged with belief in patriotic ideals, thereby creating the national resistance movement.
Reconstruction work in the western Latvian port of Ventspils has uncovered structures that may be hundreds of years old which give a glimpse into the port's past, reported LTV on May 1.
On April 16, 1919 a putsch took place in Liepāja, western Latvia, against Kārlis Ulmanis' Provisional Government. Two of the government ministers were arrested, while the rest fled aboard the Saratov steamboat stationed at the port. For two-and-a-half months, the Republic of Latvia would be governed from the ship in an era sometimes referred to as the "The Republic on the Sea". The territory of the fledgling Latvian state had shrunk to the ship and a couple of parishes that the Estonian army had freed at northern Vidzeme, the other end of the country.
April 11 saw the press screening of a new documentary film, Ally (Sabiedrotais), which explores the role of the United Kingdom during Latvia's independence struggles of 1918-19.
The Red Forest series appearing on LTV is chronicling battle-hardened men fighting to overthrow the Soviets after the Second World War, but it is not well-known that the Latvian resistance started as early as summer 1940. Tiny armed groups, chiefly of young men, wanted to achieve a free Latvia with armed resistance, but their lack of experience and idealism made them end up badly.
On April 9, 1919 at midday the first US ship carrying foodstuffs arrived in the western Latvian port of Liepāja. The Lake Wimico ship carried 1,200 tons of flour from the American Relief Organization, providing immense help for the fledgling Provisional Government.
Members of the Saeima Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee have different opinions about the future of the huge Uzvaras (Victory) Monument in Riga's Pardaugava.
On March 31, 1919 the North Latvia Brigade was set up in Tartu. Under colonel Jorģis Zemitāns (the HQ chief was the legendary lieutenant colonel Voldemārs Ozols), the brigade was provisionally controlled by the Estonian Army and played a great role in freeing the Vidzeme cultural region, back then under the control of the Red Army, for the forces of nascent Latvia.
Ceremonies were due to be held across Latvia March 25 in memory of the thousands of people deported to Siberia by occupying Soviet forces on this day in 1949.
The 1940 Welles Declaration started a five-decade non-recognition of the Soviets' Baltic invasion. Unwavering support by the United States did great things to ensure continued support for Baltic statehood, and it is widely held that, if not for the declaration, the Baltics would have had a harder time re-establishing themselves as internationally recognized countries in 1990-1.
This year, the British Embassy in Latvia will implement two projects related to the centenary of Latvia, based upon records of British support for the fledgling state in 1918 and 1919, the embassy said March 18.
After Latvia fell to the Soviets, diplomat Kārlis Reinholds Zariņš (1879–1963) was, for a time, all but the only embodiment of the idea that there was still a Latvian state, legally speaking. As head of the diplomatic and consular service of Latvia, Zariņš protected the interests of the Latvian exiles but was also criticized by the opponents of Kārlis Ulmanis' authoritarian regime.
As the Second World War ended, more than 12 million Europeans found themselves forced outside their native country. Between these 12 million, 120,000 were Latvians fleeing Soviet occupation. They ended up in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Sweden. Termed displaced persons (DPs, or, in Latvian, dipīši), these people faced an uncertain fate between starting a new life in the West or being forced to return to occupied Latvia.
The end of the Second World War marked the beginning of a new war in Latvia. Resistance would last for years. Were the so-called Forest Brothers – Latvia's anti-Soviet partisans – heroes, bandits, or fools? Their fight was hopeless but perhaps not pointless, according to LTV's Atslēgas show (this episode aired last year).
On February 13, 1919 the Revolutionary Military Council of Soviet Latvia decided to create a network of concentration camps in the territory of Latvia. They were nicknamed "menageries" (zvēru dārzi) for the brutal conditions inside.
Not far from Rīga's busy Central Railway Station is a bunker. Built during the Soviet occupation years, it was known by a suitably anonymous and sinister name: Object Number 100. Its purpose was simple: to protect select railway workers from chemical warfare and atomic bombs. To that end the bunker was equipped with an air purification system, its own power supply and heating equipment.
In January 1991 people flowed into the capitals of the Baltic states and erected makeshift barricades around strategic locations like the parliament and the national radio to protect them against Soviet troops that wanted to crush the Baltic nations' independence drive.
January 12 marked fifty years since one of the largest catastrophes in Latvia as a gas explosion took the lives of 41 persons at Raiņa street 9, Jelgava, in 1969.
2019 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way – the day in 1989 when Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians joined hands, forming a live human chain from Tallinn to Vilnius via Rīga to protest the Soviet occupation of their countries, which resulted from the signing of the notorious Molotov-Ribbentrop pact on August 23, 1939. They called for the renewed independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – a goal that was achieved within two years.
Why does Latvia need to be a member of the European Union (EU) and NATO? For a full belly and protection, and for a Brussels you can blame for all your problems? Or perhaps these institutions are a door for Latvia, a door that was locked until this point in history.
Since the first batch of Latvia's KGB documents were published on the Internet, a number of individuals have turned to courts, wishing to prove that they did not collaborate with the KGB, the Court Administration of Latvia representative Inara Makarova told the LETA newswire December 27.
In 1991 Latvia closed the KGB Soviet secret service and took over what was left of its archives. These are now to be published before Christmas, but that this step will lead to full justice and clarity is unlikely.
The files held by the KGB in Latvia, known colloquially as the "Cheka bags", will be published online before Christmas, the director of the Latvian National Archives, Māra Sprūdža, told Latvian Radio December 3.