"Latvia"
50 Years of Terror Tyranny and Oppression 1940–1991
Home      Soviet Union Invasion and Occupation of Baltic
 
 
Soviet Union Invasion and Occupation of the Baltic’s and Bessarabia
 
The tiny Baltic States had the misfortune to be located between the totalitarian regimes of the Soviets and the Nazis. In August and September 1939, Hitler and Stalin had their countries sign treaties and secret agreements; by this time, the Baltic States were no longer republics, but had authoritarian regimes.
 
Hitler, in order to execute his plans of aggression, had to pay a price. In secret agreements he "gave" Stalin not only a part of Poland, but also a free hand in Bessarabia, Bukovina, Finland and the three Baltic states.
 
In mid-June 1940, when international attention was focused on the German invasion of France, and after first extracting a Latvian agreement under duress, Stalin personally threatened the Latvian foreign minister, in Moscow during negotiations, to the stationing of Soviet troops on Latvian soil, the Soviet Union invades Latvia on 16 June 1940.
 
Soviet NKVD troops raided border posts in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. State administrations were liquidated and replaced by Soviet cadres, in which "34,250 Latvians, 75,000 Lithuanians and almost 60,000 Estonians were deported or murdered". Elections were held with single pro-Soviet candidates listed for many positions, with resulting peoples assemblies immediately requested admission into the USSR, which was granted by the Soviet Union. Latvia, now a puppet government, was headed by Augusts Kirhenšteins. Latvia was incorporated into the Soviet Union on 5 August 1940 as the “15th Republic of the Soviet Union”. The USSR annexed the whole of Lithuania, including the Scheschupe area, which was to be given to Germany. “Lithuania had joined the Soviet Union on 3 August, Estonia followed on 6 August”. Nevertheless, although it had lost its sovereignty de facto, Latvia continued to exist de jure, in international law, since many nations including the United States and Switzerland never acknowledged its annexation.
 
Soviet Union Occupation of Latvia in 1940
 
The Soviet Union guaranteed its interests in the Baltic's with the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany on 23 August 1939. Under threat of invasion, Latvia along with "Estonia and Lithuania" signed a mutual assistance pact with Soviet Union, providing for the stationing of up to 25,000 Soviet troops on Latvian soil. Following the initiative from Nazi Germany, Latvia on 30 October 1939 concluded an agreement to repatriate ethnic Germans in the wake of the impeding Soviet takeover.
 
Seven months later, the Soviet foreign minister "Vyacheslav Molotov" accused the Baltic states of conspiracy against the Soviet Union. On 16 June 1940, threatening an invasion, Soviet Union issued an ultimatum demanding that the government be replaced and that an unlimited number of Soviet troops be admitted. Knowing that the Red Army had entered Lithuania a day before, that its troops were massed along the eastern border and mindful of the Soviet military bases in Western Latvia, the government acceded to the demands, and Soviet troops occupied the country on 17 June. Staged elections were held 14–15 July 1940, whose results were announced in Moscow 12 hours before the polls closed; Soviet documents show the election results were forged. The newly elected "People's Assembly"  declared Latvia a Socialist Soviet Republic and applied for admission into the Soviet Union on 21 July. Latvia was incorporated into the Soviet Union on 5 August 1940. The overthrown Latvian government continued to function in exile while the republic was under the Soviet control.
 
In the spring of 1941, the Soviet central government began planning the mass deportation of anti-Soviet elements from the occupied Baltic states. In preparation, General Ivan Serov, Deputy People's Commissar of Public Security of the Soviet Union, signed the Serov Instructions, "Regarding the Procedure for Carrying out the Deportation of Anti-Soviet Elements from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia." During the night of 13–14 June 1941, 15,424 inhabitants of Latvia, including 1,771 Jewish and 742 ethnic Russians, were deported to camps and special settlements, mostly in Siberia. 35,000 people were deported in the first year of Soviet occupation "131,500 across the Baltic's".