Book On Latvian Diaspora Political Activities Published

December 15, 2022

At the end of 2022, the Academic Publishing House of the University of Latvia launched the monograph “For Latvia. Political activities in exile, 1940s to 1980s”. The study examines the political activity implemented by Latvians in exile in the host countries, the purpose of which activity was to sustain the idea of the independence of the Republic of Latvia and promote the restoration of Latvian statehood. The author of the monograph is PhD Kristīne Beķere, a researcher at the Latvian Institute of History, University of Latvia.

Monograph “For Latvia. Political activities in exile, 1940s to 1980s” is dedicated to the efforts of those Latvians, who as refugees were forced to leave Latvia at the end of the Second World War and after the war to settle in their host countries in Europe, both American continents or Australia. Despite the illegal nature of the occupation and later annexation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia by the USSR in 1940, even after the end of the Second World War, the territory of Latvia remained part of the USSR. In these conditions, it was the Latvians in the Western countries who, with various methods, kept alive the idea of the independence of the Republic of Latvia and the hope that independence would one day be restored.

The book describes the formation of Latvian exile communities after the Second World War, the organisation and the first political activities in the displaced persons camps in Germany. Analysed are the main types of political activity later in the home countries – how exiles spread information about the Baltic countries with the help of various media or by holding public events. The use of holidays and commemorative days in creating a public narrative about the Baltic States in their home countries is highlighted separately. The following chapters highlight the main trends in the political activity of exiles: involvement in the work of various existing anti-communist movements and organisations in the 1950s and 1960s and the invigoration and expansion of activity internationally from the beginning of the 1970s to the beginning of the Third Awakening processes in Baltic states in the late 1980s. Theoretical questions are also outlined – the various possible designations of Latvians scattered around the world after the Second World War and the possibilities of the political activity of exiles as an ethnic interest group in their home countries. The book also includes a detailed overview of the sources of the history of exile, their status and their availability in archives in different countries.