On 23rd of August 1939 Soviet Union and Germany concluded nonaggression pact in Moscow, which included secretive protocol, also known as Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which was aimed against independent states of Baltics. In this pact leaders of two influential countries came to agreement to divide Eastern-Europe in spheres of interest. It was a green light for World War II and genocide against latvian nation.
In October of 1939 minister of Foreign Affairs W. Munter was put under pressure and Soviet–Latvian Mutual Assistance Treaty was signed, which in practice allowed the Soviet government to establish military bases in Latvia. At first, soldiers were discreet and overall nervousness quited down, but on 16th of June 1940 Soviet Union raised the ultimate in which they ordered to change government in Latvia and allow establishing even more military forces. K. Ulmanis was put under big pressure and on 17th of June more parts of red-army entered the country and on 20th of June the government was changed. USSR tried to create the impression that the annexation of Latvia was legitimate and that it “joined voluntarily”. In violation of the Constitution and existing laws, Latvia had to organize new elections in the middle of July, which took place in the presence of the Soviet occupation troops. Only the list of candidates of the Working People’s Bloc was permitted. The authorities rejected all other lists of candidates. The election results were obviously falsified and did not reflect the will of the people. In 21st of July the newly formed government approved joining USSR. The incorporation into the USSR was completed on 5th of August. It was annexation, which was forbidden under Constitution of Latvia.
USSR tried to establish totalitarian regime, which recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible. If a group or a particular person was defying the authority, he was repressed, persecuted or tortured. Totalitarian regime left people feeling anxious and scared about their lives. Rearrangements in economic system, nationalization, introduction of the ruble and agrarian reform was made, at the end of the war there was introduced the system of collectivisation.
To ensure the totalitarian regime, USSR implemented repressions against it’s inhabitants. After the occupation of Latvia it’s intelligency, army and it’s leaders were being destroyed, their families deported far away from home. Deportations of 1941 and 1949 are described as genocide against latvians.
Professor M. Vidnere claims that “genocide means that condition, encouraging loosing the identity, patriotism and national language, is being implemeted in occupied territories. Genocide also derives from forced foreign nationality in occupied territories. (..) It also concludes assimilation with other nations to put the main nation in minority in their own motherland”.
On 14th of June in 1941 there were 15 424 people deported. 23,5% were peasants, 19% students, 13,7% housewives, also former merchants, officers, teachers, writers, journalists, doctors, engineers, lawyers, judges, priests etc. 6081 people were killed, which is 39,43% of all deported people.
On 14th of June in 1941 there were 66 people deported from Jurmala: 9 children, 23 women and 34 men. 32 or 48% were released. 34 or 52% were killed: 1 child, 5 women, 28 men. 18 Jurmala’s inhabitants were deported to region in Molotov – Usolylaga, which was one of the Gulag camps. From Jurmala only one men survived.
The main reason for deportation on 25th of March in 1949 was collectivization. The enemies of collectivization were affluent peasants, also known as kulaks, who owned some land or a farm. Potential supporters of national partisans were also deported.
In 1949 there were 44 271 people deported from Latvia in general. 26,1% were 16 or younger. 5182 people were killed.
In 1949 there were 21 human being deported from Jurmala: 4 children, 11 women, 6 men. 19 or 90% were released. 2 or 10% were killed: 1 woman and 1 man. People were deportated to Tomsk region.
Most of the deportated were able to return only in 50’s. In 1956 and 1957 a lot people were released.
Main negative expieriences of Jurmala’s inhabitants are connected with arrests. In most cases arrests were ruthless and inhuman. People weren’t ready to face the long road, awful weather and incredibly hard job. They hadn’t been told where are they going to end up and mostly there was no time to pack most important stuff. All of the valuable stuff was left to occupants.
People were loaded into the freight train. They were being hold in extreme conditions. Some people couldn’t handle it and their lifeless bodies were left on the side of the rode. This tragic expierience left huge impact on people’s future, their mental state full of despair and not knowing what’s going to happen next.
Totalitarian regime and it’s aggressive form left people feeling desperate, living in life-threatening conditions day by day. Deported inhabitants of Jurmala were living in hunger, dealing with hate, inhuman amount of work, cold, lots of various diseases.
Despite all negativity they found some positive aspects in their journey, if we can even call it a journey. Locals found them very hard-working and appreciated their passion for work and various skills. Even far away in the north latvians held their traditions close to the heart and were proud of their nationality and introduced it to locals. That’s how they kept the strong spirit going.
They drew the strength from belief in God, their faith in family, motherland, they believed in their powers. The thing that kept them going the most was faith in a chance to return home.
When they returned, it didn’t get easier. For example, they had to face discrimination and they weren’t allowed to do many things – not a chance to get a job, challenge to get a roof over their heads and quite a hard time getting an education.
Even children were put under discrimination. When they were applying to univeristies, their biography, the biography of their parents and other relatives was being closely researched. If it wans’t “clear” enough they were deprived to submit for studies, get their career going, they couldn’t leave the country to try out their abilities and skills somewhere else.
In conlclusion, repressions against inhabitants of Jurmala left a negative influence on their future – they couldn’t get high positions at work, couldn’t find a place to stay in their own motherland, there was discirmination in education sphere and health issues throughout their whole life. Repressions also impacted their mental state and the way of thinking. They got more pragmatic, even more modest in their actions, frugal, more capable of surviving in bad conditions. Totalitarian regime was aimed against youth – new generation and the most valued national potential, which impacted demografic situation in the future of Latvia.