Original Soviet Latvian Cold War Flag of the Latvian SSR - 71 ½” x 36”

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a lovely 1981 dated example of a Soviet Republic flag for the Latvian SSR. The Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, also known as Soviet Latvia or simply Latvia, was a federated republic within the Soviet Union, and formally one of its 16 (later 15) constituent republics. The Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic was in existence for 51 years, from August 5, 1940 to September 6, 1991.

The flag is a plain red flag with a golden hammer and sickle and a gold-bordered red star in its upper canton with the blue and white rippling water at the bottom. The condition is excellent with minor fading and wear. The flag is stamped on the canvas header with OCT 8498-81, the “81” at the end we believe is for the year of manufacture, 1981.

A wonderful example more than ready for display.

On 24 September 1939, the USSR entered the airspace of Estonia, flying numerous intelligence-gathering operations. On September 25, Moscow demanded that Estonia sign a Soviet–Estonian Mutual Assistance Treaty that would allow the USSR to establish military bases and station troops on its soil. Latvia was next in line, as the USSR demanded the signing of a similar treaty. The authoritarian government of Kārlis Ulmanis accepted the ultimatum, signing the Soviet–Latvian Mutual Assistance Treaty on 5 October 1939. On 16 June 1940, after the USSR had already invaded Lithuania, it issued an ultimatum to Latvia which was followed by the Soviet occupation of Latvia on June 17.

Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov accused Latvia and the other Baltic states of forming a military conspiracy against the Soviet Union, and so Moscow presented ultimatums, demanding new concessions, which included the replacement of governments with new ones, "determined" to "fulfill" the treaties of friendship "sincerely" and allowing an unlimited number of troops to enter the three countries. Hundreds of thousands Soviet troops entered Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. These additional Soviet military forces far outnumbered the armies of each country.

The Ulmanis government decided that, in conditions of international isolation and the overwhelming Soviet force both on the borders and inside the country, it was better to avoid bloodshed and an unwinnable war. The Latvian army did not fire a shot and was quickly decimated by purges and included in the Red Army.

Ulmanis' government resigned and was replaced by a left-wing government created under instructions from the USSR embassy. Up until the election of the People's Parliament on 14-15 July 1940 there were no public statements about governmental plans to introduce a Soviet political order or to join the Soviet Union. Soon after the occupation, the Communist Party of Latvia was legalized as the only legal party and presented the "Latvian Working People's Bloc" for the elections. It was the only permitted participant in the election, after an attempt by other politicians to include the Democratic Bloc (an alliance of all banned Latvian parties, except the Social Democratic Workers' Party) on the ballot was prevented by the government. Its office was closed, election leaflets confiscated and its leaders arrested.

The election results themselves were fabricated; the Soviet press service released them so early that they appeared in a London newspaper a full 24 hours before the polls had closed. All Soviet army personnel present in the country were allowed to vote.

The newly-elected People's Parliament convened on 21 July to declare the creation of the Latvian SSR and request admission to the Soviet Union on the same day. Such a change in the basic constitutional order of the state was illegal under the Constitution of Latvia, because such a change could only be enacted after a plebiscite with two-thirds of the electorate approving. On August 5, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union completed the process of annexation by accepting the Latvian petition and formally incorporated Latvia into the Soviet Union.

Some of the Latvian diplomats stayed in the West and the Latvian Diplomatic Service continued to advocate the cause of Latvia's freedom for the next 50 years.

Following the Soviet pattern, the real power in the republic was in the hands of the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Latvia, while the titular head of the republic (Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet) and the head of the executive (the Chairman of the Soviet of the Ministers) were in subordinate positions. Therefore, the history of Soviet Latvia can broadly be divided in the periods of rule by the First Secretaries: Jānis Kalnbērziņš, Arvīds Pelše, Augusts Voss, Boris Pugo.

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