By William D. Prigge
The 1959 purge of the Latvian nationwide communists has lengthy been solid in black-and-white phrases: Russification and resistance; victimizers and sufferers. traditional knowledge holds that Nikita Khrushchev was once in the back of the purge. in any case, he was once the Soviet greatest; he stopped in Riga quite a few weeks prior to; even the best sufferer of the purge, Eduards Berklavs, categorized Khrushchev the wrongdoer. For the 1st time, William D. Prigge’s penetrating research demanding situations this view and untangles the intricacies of Soviet center-periphery family like a political mystery. With every one new bankruptcy, a more true figuring out of occasions comes into sharper concentration - extra complicated and interesting than may perhaps ever be imagined. eventually, the reverberations are felt the entire method to the Kremlin and weaken what Khrushchev suggestion used to be his personal enterprise footing. For the scholar of Soviet and Latvian heritage alike, this quantity offers greater than simply the tale of a purge - it's a particular photograph into the political machinations of the Soviet Union and one in every of its republics.
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Extra resources for Bearslayers: The Rise and Fall of the Latvian National Communist (American University Studies, Series X: Political Science, Volume 71)
Beria escaped a purge of regional dictators in February 1937 only by eliminating many of his own supporters. In July 1938, Soviet NKVD chief Nikolai Ezhov ordered the Georgian NKVD chief, Sergei Goglidze, to arrest Beria. However, Goglidze remained loyal and informed Beria of Ezhov’s plans. Even though Beria managed to survive, Stalin continued to carefully monitor and curb “the Builder’s” growing between the anvil and the hammer 37 power. 64 Nevertheless, Beria was the first in that position to have an independent power base (something lacking with former police chiefs, Felix Dzerzhinskii, Genrikh Iagoda, and Ezhov).
In addition to recruitment, the Komsomol often served as an auxiliary branch to the MVD, helping to identify guerrilla supporters and opponents of the regime, real and imagined. What roles did Berklavs, Kruminš, and Dzerve play in the Komsomol? Once in the Party, all the Latvian members had to engage in the dirty business of subduing a conquered people. Berklavs frequently claimed that he resisted promotion in the Komsomol, but he is partly shifting responsibility on to the Soviet occupiers for his own dubious activities in these early years.
The problem facing many Russian apparatchiki when they first arrived in Latvia was their inability to communicate with a local populace largely ignorant of Russian. This was an acute predicament for those conducting agitation and propaganda. 44 russophiles and culture 19 One cannot assume that the overwhelming use of Russian by the incoming population was a conscious attempt to Russify. An alternative possibility was the simple unwillingness of recent arrivals to learn a new language. Occasionally, Moscow actually insisted that cadres in Latvia learn the local language.
Bearslayers: The Rise and Fall of the Latvian National Communist (American University Studies, Series X: Political Science, Volume 71) by William D. Prigge