A Description of the Repressed
Benedikts Spridzāns, (Special Publication of the Magazine Latvijas Arhīvi, No. (1995), pp. 2-3)
Latvia's Darkest Day
March 25, 1949. This date will always be written in the history of the Latvian State and people as the most tragic day in the 50-year history of the Soviet occupation. 14 June 1941 had already passed, (On the night leading to 14 June 1941, the Soviet authorities deported thousands of Latvians to Siberia) as had the year of 1945 and other years. But the broadest deportation of repressed individuals took place between 25 and 29 March 1949.
The residents of Latvia could not know that in the case of many individuals, their days of life in their homes or apartments were coming to a rapid end and that soon they would undertake the long and tortuous road to the Far East of Russia, many never to return.
The fate of these individuals was settled in January 1949 in the Kremlin and in February in Riga.
On 29 January 1949, the Council of Ministers of the USSR issued a strictly confidential order, No. 390-138, which set out the categories of people in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to be deported. These categories included
1) Kulaks and their families;
2) Bandits and illegal nationalists and their family members, as well as the family members of bandits who have been shot;
3) Legalized bandits and their family members who continue to engage in anti-Soviet activity;
4) Family members of the supporters of bandits.
The order stated that deportation would be applied all family members residing together who had reached id age of majority. Minors and those who were unable work were not deported, but they were permitted to voluntarily go along with their family members.
Subsequent to the Soviet order, the Council of Ministers of the Latvian SSR on 17 March 1949 adopted strictly confidential order, No. 282, On the Deportations of the Families of Kulaks from the Latvian SSR. The order stated that 10,000 kulak families would be deported from the Latvian SSR to the far reaches of the Soviet Union.
The order also gave the government's imprimatur lists of kulak families which earlier had been assembled by regional committees. The actual task of deportations lit was assigned to the State Security Ministry. The chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Latvian SSR, V. Lācis, and the administrative director of the Council of Ministers, I. Bastin., signed the order.
11,000 families, or more than 38,000 individuals were included in the lists of kulak families to be deported, which indicates that there was a reserve case there was difficulty in reaching the mandated level of 10,000.
[..] From 25 to 29 March 1949, 9,147 families, or 29.252 individuals, were deported from Latvia. There were 28.107 Latvians, 482 Russians, and 663 representatives of other nationalities. |
The documents necessary to deport 9,100 families (29.114 individuals) were signed by the state security minister of the Latvian SSR, A. Noviks. The rest of the documents were signed by his deputies.
The actual number of kulak families to be deported thus was smaller than had been intended. At the same time, however, the shortcoming was evidently compensated by the deportation of nationalist families. Their number was not set out in earlier documents.
3,841 families (12,881 individuals) were deported on grounds of nationalism. The documents concerning 3,821 of these families (12,832) were signed by A. Noviks.
The decisions had to be sanctioned by the procurator of the Latvian SSR, A. Mishutin. He sanctioned the deportation of 3,808 families (12,789 individuals).
Once the individuals had been deported, the State Security Ministry of the USSR, in late 1949, adopted supplementary decisions concerning deportation of family members and confiscation of properties. The supplementary decisions included individuals who had reached 16 years of age. Children younger than that, in other words, ended up in Siberia because of decisions taken only by A. Noviks and A. Mishutin.
Of the individuals deported as nationalists, 12,158 were Latvians, 293 were Russians, and 430 were representatives of other countries.
From 29 to 29 March 1949, 33 trains (numbered 97320 - 97351 and 97383) departed for the Amur, Omsk and Tomsk regions, bearing 12,987 families (42,133 individuals):
5,487 individuals to the Amur region;
20,844 individuals to the Omsk region;
15,584 individuals to the Tomsk region.
197 individuals died en route.
The deportees were distributed to various kolhozes and sovhozes upon their arrival.
16,940 of the deportees were men. 25,193 were women.
Grouped by age, the deportee contingent looked like this:
Children under 7 years of age - 3,369;
Children from 7 to 16 years of age - 7,621;
Individuals aged 16-60 - 23,341;
Individuals aged 60-80 - 7,068;
Individuals over 80 years of age - 734.
In terms of their professions, the deportees were:
Farmers - 32,238; Workers - 1,584; Servants - 858, including 181 teachers, four clergymen, five artists and 37 medical specialists, including four physicians. There were also 7,093 schoolchildren, 230 university students and 130 students from technical institutions of learning.
Excerpt From the Stenogram of the Sixth Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the Latvian Communist Party, 22-23 June 1953 Excerpt from the Address by the First Secretary of the LCP CC, J. Kalnbērziņš
[..] It must be noted that in recent years the LCP CC and the Council of Ministers, as well as local party and soviet organs, have turned over to the Interior Ministry all matters concerning liquidation of the hostile national underground and that the Interior Ministry, in turn, has applied repression very broadly. Between 1945 and 1953, 119,000 individuals were repressed in the republic. Among them, 26,500 individuals were arrested by the institutions of the former State Security Ministry:
2,321 were shot as bandits'; 43,702 individuals were expelled from the republic as kulaks2 or supporters of bandits. The institutions of the militia and procurator's department arrested 46,350 individuals.
Latvijas Vesture, 1992, No. 1(4), p. 40.
' Bandit in this context was used to refer to anti-Soviet partisans, who remained active in the Latvian forests for a number of years after the Soviet invasion, as well as other opponents of the occupation regime.
2 Kulak is a Soviet-era word which broadly covered farmer and rural homeowners deemed to be bourgeois or over'. wealthy. The Council, of Ministers of the Latvian SSR adopted a resolution in 1947 which stated that a kulak household could be determined, by one of six indicators, including use of salaried help, profit from. the rental of agricultural equipment, et al.
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