Sunday, August 21, 2011

Twenty years ago today: Latvia's independence restored

Popular Front Leader Mavricks Vulfsons.
Signs say "Freedom" and "1940--
Year of Stalinist Occupation Regime"
One of the final acts of World War II ended twenty Augusts ago when two of the three Baltic States, Latvia and Estonia, declared their formal independence from the Soviet Union. Lithuania, the other Baltic State, had done so the year before. Each became independent after the First World War. The three countries were handed over to the Soviets in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which was signed on August 23, 1939. The nations were annexed to the USSR the following year.

The hardliners' coup against Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev took place on August 19, 1991, within days it collapsed. The following month the Baltic States took their seats in the United Nations, and by Christmas, the Soviet Union was no more.

And on August 21, 1991, Latvia said atā to the Evil Empire.

Related Estonian post:

Videos: Estonian ice roads

Related Lithuanian post:

Mrs. MP in Latvia, 1991
Gorbachev denies asking for cash in exchange for Lithuanian independence

Related Latvian posts:

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