Dr.hist.Rudīte Vīksne Latvian Institute of History University of Latvia

Although formally the Republic of Latvia existed until 21 July 1940, various repressions against Latvian population were started right after the occupation of Latvia in June 1940. They became increasingly intensive after a full annexation of Latvia. Repressions served to achieve both political and economic goals and manifested themselves as direct repressions - arrests, administrative deportation as well as indirect ones - dismissal, reprisals of economic nature, etc. Often it is difficult to find a line of demarcation between them. Arrests and deportation were carried out along with the adjustment of state apparatus to meet the requirements of the Soviet system, elimination of the "Aizsargi" (Latvian paramilitary organisation), sovietisation of the Latvian army and nationalisation of the large industrial companies and banks, and the land reform.

To date the total scale of repressions has not been identified yet. This is a very extensive theme, therefore this paper will address only one type of repressions -political arrests, as a source using the materials from the archives of former KGB (now Latvian State Archives, fond No. 1986): the years of 1940/1941 and 1944/1945.

Arrests in 1940/1941

1940 July

1940 August

1940 September

1940 October

1940 November

1940 December

1941 January

1941 February

1941 March

1941 April

1941 May

1941 June

1941 July





The former KGB Archives contain information about 7292 arrested persons, out of which 263 were women. 184 were arrested during the period from 17 June 1940 to 5August 1940, i.e. untill incorporation of Latvia into the USSR. By the time the Criminal Code of RSFSR was officially introduced in November 1940, about one and a half thousand people had been arrested. As the first ones were arrested the representatives of the previous state power institutions (government members, state officials, police and court employees, the Aizsargi, border guards, etc.) as well as the members of those organisations that had contacts abroad and organisations that were regarded as antisoviet.

Arrests were mainly motivated as punishment for those persons who were fighting against revolutionary movement and the working class. The definition "fought against revolutionary movement" or "the working class" was applied very broadly. It was likewise referred to the persons that served in the Latvian army, to the employees of police and court systems and the Aizsargi. In 1940/1941, besides to the above motivation, people were often arrested as "members of counterrevolutionary organisation", "socially dangerous", less often as "anti-Soviet elements". The denomination "counterrevolutionary" was in particular frequently used. It was attributed both to the political parties of the Republic of Latvia, youth organisations, anti-Soviet leaflets and songs.

Arrests in 1944/1945

1944 July
1944 August
1944 September
1944 October
1944 November
1944 December
1945 January
1945 February
1945 March
1945 April
1945 May
1945 June
1945 July
1945 August
1945 September
1945 October

The former KGB Archives contains information about 18.438 arrested persons, out of which 1413 were women. Repressions formally were directed against the supporters of German occupants. The most frequently used justification for arresting people was "supporter or Germans'', which similarly to "fought against revolutionary movement" was very widely applied. In fact, any person who during the German occupation lived in Latvia could be denounced as "supporter of Germans" or "collaborator of German occupants". As the first ones to the reprisals were subjected the persons who during the German occupation had served in self-defence units, auxiliary police, police battalions, as well as in the Latvian SS Volunteer Legion and Aizsargi. Those who took administrative positions during the occupation were likewise subject to arrests. In many cases people were accused of using the labour of prisoners of war, not immigrating to the USSR upon the outbreak of the war, or, in case of Jews, of having survived the German occupation in Latvia.

There was no substantial difference between the repressions of 1940/1941 and 1944/1945, they both were aimed at consolidation of power and ideology, elimination of the active and passive resistance, at the same time maintaining the atmosphere of fear.

In most of the investigation cases of primarily importance was seen the membership or the position taken by a person rather than his committed offence.

In 1940/1941, compared to 1944/1945, the cases of defendants were more often investigated by the Supreme Court and the Regional Court, less by the Military Tribunal and the Special Council.

While there were slight differences in applying the RSFSR Criminal Code, both in 1940/1941 and 1944/1945 people were mainly punished according to clause 58 paragraph (for counterrevolutionary crimes), in 1944/1945 reference was made also to the USSR SSP Decree of 19April 1943.

In 1944/1945 a defendant person was most often sentenced while being in a camp.

Both in 1941 and 1945 there were carried out administrative deportations.

In 1945 appeared a new type of repressions - filtration camps.

Noziegumi pret cilvēci   Crimes against Humanity