The Latvian Exodus in 1915—1916 and the National Intelligentsia
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The Latvian Exodus in 1915—1916 and the National Intelligentsia
Annotation
PII
S207987840001853-7-1
DOI
10.18254/S0001853-7-1
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Evgenia Nazarova 
Affiliation: Institute of World History
Address: Russian Federation, Москва
Abstract
The paper dealt the history of the Latvian refugees during the 1st World War. The drama of the events and the severity of the trials endured by Latvians can be compared with the biblical Exodus. The survival of the people demanded them to concentrate forces and self-organization. It was necessary not only to save people physically, but also to save the Latvian nation, the Latvian language and culture. At that time organizers of the nation were the representatives of the Latvian intelligentsia, leaders of the national movement. There were deputies of 1st and 4th State Duma Jānis Čakste, Jānis Goldmanis, Jānis Zālītis, teachers and public figures Vilis Olavs, Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics, and hundreds of representatives of various intellectual professions. The committees of assistance to refugees were established in all cities of the Russian Empire, where Latvian refugees had been settled. Besides, assistance to Latvians in accommodation, in applying for a job, opening schools for refugee children and organization of cultural events was provided by those Latvian societies which had already been in different Russian Empire before the war. The most fruitful worked the Moscow Latvian Cultural Agency (Bureau) and Petrograd Charitable society. The Latvian Central Latvian Committee of assistance to refugees which directed the work of assistance to refugees was founded in summer 1915. The first Committee chair was Vilis Olavs, after his death at the beginning of 1917 he was succeeded by Jānis Čakste. The Central Committee had several departments, dealing with 1) organization and registration of refugees, 2) arrangement of their housing and life, 3) employment of refugees; 4) medical help; 5) legal support; 6) satisfaction of religious needs; 7) schools and education; 8) culture. Thus, the Central Committee performed the functions usually performed by governments. At those years, the organization of the Latvian society had features of the national-cultural autonomy, but as Latvians had their own ethnic territory and there were national military units — Latvian riflemen, one can recognize de facto the existence of the national-territorial autonomy. It is not by chance, that the leaders of the organizations of the assistance to refugees later took posts in the government of the Republic of Latvia and Janis Сakste was the first President of Latvia. After the February Revolution these leader headed political activity among Latvians: they were organizers of the Latvian political parties and initiators of the establishment of the Latvian Provisional National Council. Until the collapse of the Russian Empire the Latvian national leaders tried to negotiate with the state authorities on the establishment of the national-territorial autonomy. Only after the dissolution of the All-Russian Constituent Assembly on January 5, 1918 they began consistent work on the foundation of the Independent Latvian state.
Keywords
Latvian intelligentsia; Jānis Čakste; Vilis Olavs, Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics; Latvian refugees of the 1st World war; Latvian organizations of assistance to refugees
Received
25.02.2017
Publication date
14.05.2017
Number of characters
103061
Number of purchasers
28
Views
4616
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