Bearslayers: The Rise and Fall of the Latvian National Communists (American University Studies)

Bearslayers: The Rise and Fall of the Latvian National Communists (American University Studies)

William D. Prigge

Language: English

Pages: 174

ISBN: 1433127342

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The 1959 purge of the Latvian national communists has long been cast in black-and-white terms: Russification and resistance; victimizers and victims. Conventional wisdom holds that Nikita Khrushchev was behind the purge. After all, he was the Soviet premier; he stopped in Riga just a few weeks before; even the leading victim of the purge, Eduards Berklavs, labeled Khrushchev the culprit. For the first time, William D. Prigge’s penetrating analysis challenges this view and untangles the intricacies of Soviet center-periphery relations like a political thriller. With each new chapter, a truer understanding of events comes into sharper focus - more complex and fascinating than could ever be imagined. Ultimately, the reverberations are felt all the way to the Kremlin and weaken what Khrushchev thought was his own firm footing. For the student of Soviet and Latvian history alike, this volume provides more than just the story of a purge - it is a unique snapshot into the political machinations of the Soviet Union and one of its republics.

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events unfolding, many of the members, unsure of a prudent course, abstained. In the first re-nomination vote for Kashnikov, twenty-seven were in favor, thirty-one opposed. Consequently, the Central Committee had to vote on Berklavs for second secretary, in which thirty-two favored and three opposed. Kalnberzinš again tried to postpone the matter by electing other secretaries. Eventually, the chairman of the Council of Ministers, Vilis Lacis, proposed that the plenum should not elect a second

stalwarts. Soviet purges often took on their own dynamic, and there was no room for neutrality, simply victors and vanquished. By 20 June, it was already too late for Berklavs. Only after the Bureau meeting did Khrushchev indicate to a limited number of party members, first on the phone in Kalnberzinš’s office and next in Moscow, that he no longer favored a purge. The process of removing Berklavs was rapidly reaching the point of no return, even for Khrushchev. As clearly indicated in the June

an archive of all documented languages, the letter “ch” was abolished in Soviet Latvia and replaced with the letter “x.” Discussions on returning “ch” have been controversial. notes 141 42. Pravda, 16 June 1938, as cited in William J. Tompson, Khrushchev: A Political Life (London: MacMillan Press, 1995), 67. 43. LVA, 101. f., 12. apr., 2. l., 13 lp. 44. Iu. Sprukt, “Zametki o

Stickl, trans. Jeanne Farrow (New York: Nova Science Publishers, 1992). 98. LVA, 101. f., 16. apr., 12. l., 11 lp. 99. While there is no direct evidence that the June 1953 removal of Ivan Dsmitnek from the post of Liepaja First Secretary was ordered by Beria, the timing is suggestive. LVA, 105. f., 13. apr., 4. l., 127 lp. 146 bearslayers 1 00. Pinksis was eventually purged in July 1959 with Berklavs for bourgeois nationalism. 101. LVA, 101. f., 16. apr., 12. l., 27 lp. 102. LVA, 105.

History. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1995. Ra’anan, Gavriel D. International Policy Formation in the USSR. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1983. 170 bearslayers Books and Scholarly Articles, Cont. Rainis, Ja¯nis. Fire and Night. Translated by Reinhold Millers. W. Menlo Park, CA: Echo Publisher West, 1981. Reissinger, William M. and John P. Willerton, Jr. “Elite Mobility in the Locales: Towards a Modified Patronage Model.” In Elites and Political Power in the USSR. Edited by David Lane.

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