Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic

This article is about the Soviet Latvian state in 1918–1920. For the constituent republic of the USSR in 1940–1991, see Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic
Latvijas Sociālistiskā Padomju Republika
Flag Coat of arms
"Visu zemju proletārieši, savienojieties!"
Workers of the world, unite!
Capital Riga (to 22 May 1919)
Dvinsk (Daugavpils)
Rezhitsa (Rezekne)
Languages Latvian · Russian
Government Socialist republic
   19181920 Pēteris Stučka
Legislature All-Latvian Congress of Workers' Soviet Deputies
   Established 17 December 1918
  Recognized by Russian SFSR 22 December 1918
  Riga captured by German Freikorps 22 May 1919
   Disestablished 13 January 1920
Currency Ruble
Preceded by
Succeeded by
United Baltic Duchy
a. Local languages included German, Yiddish, Lithuanian and Estonian.[1]

The Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic (Latvian: Latvijas Sociālistiskā Padomju Republika, LSPR) was a short-lived socialist republic formed during the Latvian War of Independence. It was proclaimed on 17 December 1918 with the political, economic, and military backing of Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik government in the Russian SFSR. The head of government was Pēteris Stučka.


The LSPR armed forces, which consisted of the Red Latvian Riflemen and other units of the Red Army, quickly captured most of the territory of present-day Latvia, forcing Kārlis Ulmanis's provisional government into a small pocket of territory around the city of Liepāja.

Stučka's government introduced sweeping communist reforms, resuming the radical policy direction from the abortive Iskolat regime. Some reforms were initially popular, such as the expropriation of property from the bourgeoisie. The decision to unilaterally nationalise all agrarian land, however, had dire economic consequences for the cities, as rural support for the regime declined drastically.

The peasants no longer agreed to supply the townsfolk with foodstuffs on the government's terms, and shortages became critical. When the people in Riga and other cities began to starve, contributing to widespread discontent among the proletariat as well, a wave of terror swept both rural and urban areas, seeking out alleged counter-revolutionaries supposedly responsible for the failures of the regime. Arbitrary Revolutionary Tribunals and the so-called Flintenweiber ("Gun-Women") were memorable components of this wave of terror.

When the Entente-backed Ulmanis government counter-attacked with the backing of German Freikorps units in the spring of 1919, they quickly regained the lost territory. The capital, Riga, was recaptured on 22 May 1919, and the territory of the LSPR was reduced to a part of Latgale in eastern Latvia, until the final defeat in the Battle of Daugavpils by combined Latvian and Polish forces in early 1920.

After the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940 the official historians began to claim, that Soviet power has been re-established in Latvia, and the 1920 - 1940 period of Independence was viewed just as a temporary break in the Soviet power.

See also


  1. (Latvian) Decree on use of languages in official documents, 8 March 1919


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