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The Baltic States and the End of the Cold War

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Edited By Kaarel Piirimäe and Olaf Mertelsmann

This book examines the role of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the downfall of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War. It includes groundbreaking, archives-based research on important facets of the Soviet collapse like, for example, politics of history, Soviet Atheism, economic reforms, the military and the use of force. The authors place the Baltic struggle for independence in the context of international politics, analyzing interlinkages with the Warsaw Pact countries, the activities of the Baltic diaspora, small-state diplomacy and strategic and security-related questions from the end of the Cold War and into the 1990s.

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Latvian Diaspora’s Involvement in the Latvian State Independence Renewal Processes 1989–1991 (Kristīne Beķere)

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Kristīne Beķere

Latvian Diaspora’s Involvement in the Latvian State Independence Renewal Processes 1989–1991

Abstract: Political cooperation between the Latvian diaspora and organizations in Latvia with the aim of renewing the independence of Latvia began over a relatively short period of time between 1989 and 1991. During this short time, a series of negotiations and meetings brought about a change in attitudes from suspicion and distrust to cooperation and joint effort. The Latvian diaspora joined in processes under way in Latvia and worked in close cooperation with leading Latvian independence-seeking organizations like the Popular Front to ensure and facilitate the restoration of state independence. The involvement of diaspora Latvians was extensive and far-reaching and ranged from political lobby work in their home countries and coordination of foreign visits of Latvian representatives to donations of money and equipment and moral support.

The Latvian diaspora since the end of the Second World War had entertained a vivid longing for the renewal of their home country’s independence and done all in their power to promote this aim. At the same time, it was deemed unlikely that any impulses towards independence could come from Latvia itself, and the attitude in political issues towards the home country was characterized by suspicion and mistrust. Generally, diaspora Latvians did not believe that any action without communist party control was possible and tended to interpret early attempts as communist provocations. Even the desirability or admissibility of personal...

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