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|1st Prime Minister of Latvia|
November 19, 1918 –June 18, 1921
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics|
December 24, 1925 –May 6, 1926
|Preceded by||Hugo Celmiņš|
|Succeeded by||Arturs Alberings|
March 27, 1931 –December 5, 1931
|Preceded by||Hugo Celmiņš|
|Succeeded by||Marģers Skujenieks|
March 17, 1934 –June 17, 1940
|Preceded by||Ādolfs Bļodnieks|
|Succeeded by||Augusts Kirhenšteins|
|4th President of Latvia*|
April 11, 1936 –July 21, 1940
|Preceded by||Alberts Kviesis|
|Succeeded by||Augusts Kirhenšteins as Prime minister|
|Foreign Minister of Latvia|
May 4, 1926 –December 17, 1926
|Prime Minister||Arturs Alberings|
|Preceded by||Hermanis Albats (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Felikss Cielēns|
March 24, 1931 –December 4, 1931
|Preceded by||Hugo Celmiņš|
|Succeeded by||Kārlis Zariņš|
March 17, 1934 –April 17, 1936
|Preceded by||Voldemārs Salnais|
|Succeeded by||Vilhelms Munters|
|Born||September 4, 1877|
Bērze, Courland Governorate, Russian Empire
|Died||September 20, 1942 65) (aged|
Krasnovodsk, Turkmen SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||Latvian Farmers' Union (1917–1934)|
|Alma mater||University of Nebraska-Lincoln|
Kārlis Augusts Vilhelms Ulmanis (September 4, 1877 in Bērze, Bērze Parish, Courland Governorate, Russian Empire – September 20, 1942 in Krasnovodsk prison, Soviet Union, now Türkmenbaşy, Turkmenistan) was one of the most prominent Latvian politicians of pre-World War II Latvia during the interwar period of independence from November 1918 to June 1940. He served four times as Prime Minister, the last time as the head of an authoritarian regime. The legacy of his dictatorship still divides public opinion in Latvia.
Bērze is a village in Bērze Parish and Dobele Municipality in the historical region of Zemgale, and the Zemgale Planning Region in Latvia.
Courland Governorate, also known as the Province of Courland, Governorate of Kurland, and Government of Courland, was one of the Baltic governorates of the Russian Empire, that is now part of the Republic of Latvia.
The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
Born in a prosperous farming family, Ulmanis studied agriculture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and at Leipzig University. He then worked in Latvia as a writer, lecturer, and manager in agricultural positions. He was politically active during the 1905 Revolution, was briefly imprisoned in Pskov, and subsequently fled Latvia to avoid incarceration by the Russian authorities. During this period of exile, Ulmanis studied at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the United States, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture. After working briefly at that university as a lecturer, Ulmanis moved to Houston, Texas, where he had purchased a dairy business.
Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs, sheep and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first.
ETH Zurich is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Like its sister institution EPFL, it is an integral part of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain that is directly subordinate to Switzerland's Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. The school was founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, serve as a national center of excellence in science and technology and provide a hub for interaction between the scientific community and industry.
Leipzig University, in Leipzig in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, is one of the world's oldest universities and the second-oldest university in Germany. The university was founded on December 2, 1409 by Frederick I, Elector of Saxony and his brother William II, Margrave of Meissen, and originally comprised the four scholastic faculties. Since its inception, the university has engaged in teaching and research for over 600 years without interruption.
Ulmanis returned to Latvia from American exile in 1913, after being informed that it was now safe for political exiles to return due to the declaration of a general amnesty by Nicholas II of Russia. This safety was short-lived as World War I broke out one year later and Courland Governorate was partially occupied by Germany in 1915.
Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi). The country has a temperate seasonal climate.
Nicholas II or Nikolai II, known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer in the Russian Orthodox Church, was the last Emperor of Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. His reign saw the fall of the Russian Empire from one of the foremost great powers of the world to economic and military collapse. He was given the nickname Nicholas the Bloody or Vile Nicholas by his political adversaries due to the Khodynka Tragedy, anti-Semitic pogroms, Bloody Sunday, the violent suppression of the 1905 Russian Revolution, the execution of political opponents, and his perceived responsibility for the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905). Soviet historians portrayed Nicholas as a weak and incompetent leader whose decisions led to military defeats and the deaths of millions of his subjects.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
In the last stages of World War I, he founded the Latvian Farmers' Union, one of the two most prominent political parties in Latvia at that time. Ulmanis was one of the principal founders of the Latvian People's Council (Tautas Padome), which proclaimed Latvia's independence on November 18, 1918 with Ulmanis as the Prime Minister of the first Provisional government of Latvia. After the Latvian War of Independence of 1919 - 1920, a constitutional convention established Latvia as a parliamentary democracy in 1920. Ulmanis served as Prime Minister in several subsequent Latvian government administrations from 1918 to 1934.
The Latvian Farmers' Union is a centrist, agrarian political party in Latvia.
The Latvian Provisional Government was formed on November 18, 1918 by the People's Council of Latvia.
The Latvian War of Independence, sometimes called the Latvia's freedom struggles or the Latvian War of Liberation, was a series of military conflicts in Latvia between 5 December 1918, after the newly proclaimed Republic of Latvia was invaded by Soviet Russia, and the signing of the Latvian-Soviet Riga Peace Treaty on 11 August 1920.
On the night from May 15-16, 1934, Ulmanis, with the support of Minister of War Jānis Balodis, proclaimed a state of war and dissolved all political parties and the Saeima (parliament). The bloodless coup was carried out by army and units of the national guard Aizsargi loyal to Ulmanis. They moved against key government offices, communications and transportation facilities. Many elected officials and politicians (almost exclusively Social Democrats, as well as figures from the extreme right and left) were detained, as were any military officers that resisted the coup d'etat. Some 2,000 Social Democrats were initially detained by the authorities, including most of the Social Democratic members of the disbanded Saeima, as were members of various right-wing radical organisations, such as Pērkonkrusts.
Jānis Balodis was an army general, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Latvia (1919–1921), Minister of War (1931–1940) and politician who was one of the principal figures during the Latvian War of Independence and the dictatorship of Kārlis Ulmanis, when he officially was the number two of the regime as the Minister of War, Deputy Prime Minister and Vice President.
The Saeima is the parliament of the Republic of Latvia. It is a unicameral parliament consisting of 100 members who are elected by proportional representation, with seats allocated to political parties which gain at least 5% of the popular vote. Elections are scheduled to be held once every four years, normally on the first Saturday of October. The most recent elections were held in October 2018.
Aizsargi was a paramilitary organization, or a militia, in Latvia during the interbellum period (1918–1939). The Aizsargi was created on March 30, 1919 by the Latvian Provisional Government as a self-defense force, a kind of National Guard, during the period of unrest and civil warfare following the Russian October Revolution, which enabled the independence of Latvia from Russia. In 1921 it was reorganized to follow the example of the Finnish Suojeluskunta.
In all, 369 Social Democrats, 95 members of Pērkonkrusts, pro-Nazi activists from the Baltic German community, and a handful of politicians from other parties were interned in a prison camp established in the Karosta district of Liepāja. After several Social Democrats, such as Bruno Kalniņš, had been cleared of weapons charges by the courts, most of those imprisoned began to be released over time.Those convicted by the courts of treasonous acts, such as the leader of Pērkonkrusts Gustavs Celmiņš, remained behind bars for the duration of their sentences, three years in the case of Celmiņš.
The Baltic Germans are ethnic German inhabitants of the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, in what today are Estonia and Latvia. Since their expulsion from Estonia and Latvia and resettlement during the upheavals and aftermath of the Second World War, Baltic Germans have markedly declined as a geographically determined ethnic group. The largest groups of present-day descendants of the Baltic Germans are found in Germany and Canada. It is estimated that several thousand still reside in Latvia and Estonia.
Karosta is a neighbourhood in the north of Liepāja in western Latvia by the Baltic sea.
Liepāja is a city in western Latvia, located on the Baltic Sea. It is the largest city in the Kurzeme Region and the third largest city in the country after Riga and Daugavpils. It is an important ice-free port. In 2017 population of Liepāja is 69,443 people.
For the next four years, Ulmanis ruled by decree, without a parliament. A decree vested the Saeima's functions in the cabinet until a new constitution could be drafted.Incumbent State President Alberts Kviesis supported the coup and remained in office.
On March 19, 1936, Ulmanis' cabinet drafted a law that provided for Ulmanis to become State President as well as Prime Minister upon the expiration of Kviesis' term. This clearly violated the Constitution, which stipulated that the chairman of the Saeima would become acting president pending new elections. However, no one dared object. When Kviesis left office on April 11, 1936, Ulmanis combined the offices of president and prime minister.
The Ulmanis regime was unique among other European dictatorships of the interwar period. Ulmanis did not create a ruling party, rubber-stamp parliament or a new ideology. It was a personal, paternalistic dictatorship in which Ulmanis–who called himself "the leader of the people"–claimed to do what he thought was best for Latvians. All political life was proscribed, culture and economy was eventually organized into a type of corporate statism made popular during those years by Mussolini. Chambers of Professions were created, similar to Chambers of Corporations in other dictatorships.
All political parties, including Ulmanis' own Farmers' Union, were outlawed. Part of the constitution of the Latvian Republic and civil liberties were suspended. All newspapers owned by political parties or organisations and all Jewish newspapers were closedand all publications were subjected to censorship and government oversight by the Ministry of Public Affairs led by Alfrēds Bērziņš. The army and the Aizsargi paramilitary were lavished with privileges.
Ulmanis is often believed to have been a popular leader especially among farmers and ethnic Latvians. This is debatable. His party had never won more than 17 percent of the vote in any election, and had seen its support steadily decline in the years since the 1922 constitutional convention. In the 1931 election, the Farmers' Union only won 12.2 percent of the vote, an all-time low. Some historians believe that one of the chief motives for the coup was his fear of losing even more votes in the upcoming elections. From the time of his coup until his demise, for obvious reasons, no reliable voting or popularity statistics were available.
Ulmanis was a Latvian nationalist, who espoused the slogan "Latvia for Latvians" which meant that Latvia was to be a Latvian nation state, not a multinational state with traditional Baltic German elites and Jewish entrepreneurial class. At the same time, the slogan "Latvia's sun shines equally over everyone" was used and no ethnicity was subjected to repressions. German, Jewish and other minority newspapers and organizations continued to exist as far as the limitations of authoritarian dictatorship permitted. Officially Ulmanis held that every ethnic community in Latvia should develop its own authentic national culture, instead of assimilating into Latvians, but the state's primary purpose is to help Latvians to become masters in their homeland. This was to be achieved by active state involvement in economy and greater emphasis on Latvian culture. Statistics were produced showing that the German, Jewish and Polish (in Latgale) minorities had too much power in economy and certain professions, thus preventing Latvians from achieving their full potential.
Latvianisation policies were followed in the area of education, cutting and removing subsidies for minority education.During Ulmanis' rule, education was strongly emphasized and literacy rates in Latvia reached high levels. Especially in eastern Latvia Latgale region however, education was actively used as a tool of assimilation of minorities. Many new schools were built, but they were Latvian schools and minority children were thus assimilated.
It is important to notice that while an absolute ruler, Ulmanis did not allow any physical violence towards minorities and dealt harshly with right- and left-wing extremists, and with both Nazi and Communist sympathizers.Between 1920 and 1939, many Jews escaping Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany found refuge in Latvia.
During his leadership Latvia recorded major economic achievements. The state assumed a larger role in the economy and state capitalism was introduced by purchasing and uniting smaller competing private companies into larger state enterprises. This process was controlled by Latvijas Kredītbanka, a state bank established in 1935. Many large-scale building projects were undertaken - new schools, administrative buildings, Ķegums Hydroelectric Power Station. Due to an application of the economics of comparative advantage, the United Kingdom and Germany became Latvia's major trade partners, while trade with the USSR was reduced. The economy, especially the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, were micromanaged to an extreme degree. Ulmanis nationalised many industries. This resulted in rapid economic growth, during which Latvia attained a very high standard of living.[ citation needed ] At a time when most of the world's economy was still suffering from the effects of the Great Depression, Latvia could point to increases in both gross national product (GNP) and in exports of Latvian goods overseas.[ citation needed ] This, however, came at the cost of liberty and civil rights.
The policy of Ulmanis, even before his accession to power, was openly directed toward eliminating the minority groups from economic life and of giving Latvians of Latvian ethnicity access to all positions in the national economy. This was sometimes referred to as "Lettisation". [ citation needed ] Alfrēds Birznieks , the minister of agriculture, in a speech delivered in Ventspils on January 26, 1936, said:According to some estimates, about 90% of the banks and credit establishments in Latvia were state owned or under Latvian management in 1939, against 20% in 1933.
Latvian people are the only masters of this country; Latvians will themselves promulgate the laws and judge for themselves what justice is.
As a result, the economic and cultural influence of minorities – Germans, Jews, Russians, Poles – declined.
Latvia's first full-length sound movie "Zvejnieka dēls" (Fishermans' Son) was a tale of young fisherman who tries to free other local fishermen from the power of a middleman and shows them that the future lies in cooperative work.The movie was based on a widely popular novel written by Vilis Lācis who in 1940 became the Prime Minister of the Soviet occupied Latvian SSR.
On August 23, 1939, Adolf Hitler's Germany and Joseph Stalin's USSR signed a non-aggression agreement, known as the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which contained a secret addendum (revealed only in 1945), dividing Eastern Europe into spheres of influence. Latvia was thereby assigned to the Soviet sphere. Following a Soviet ultimatum in October 1939, Ulmanis signed the Soviet–Latvian Mutual Assistance Treaty and allow Soviet military bases in Latvia. In June 17, 1940, Latvia was completely occupied by the Soviet Union. Rather than risk an unwinnable war, Ulmanis gave a nationwide radio address ordering no resistance to the Red Army, saying "I will remain in my place and you remain in yours".
For the next month Ulmanis cooperated with the Soviets. He resigned as prime minister three days after the coup, and appointed a left-wing government headed by Augusts Kirhenšteins—which, in truth, had been chosen by the Soviet embassy. Soviet-controlled elections for a "People's Saeima" were held on July 14-15, in which voters were presented with a single list from a Communist-dominated alliance. The new "People's Saeima" met on July 21 with only one order of business—a resolution proclaiming Latvia a Soviet republic and seeking admission to the Soviet Union, which carried unanimously. This move was illegal under the Latvian Constitution, which stipulated that a major change to the basic constitutional order could only be enacted after two-thirds of the electorate approved it via a plebiscite.
Also on July 21, Ulmanis was forced to resign and asked the Soviet government for a pension and permission to emigrate to Switzerland. Instead, he was arrested and sent to Stavropol in Russia, where he worked in his original profession as Kolkhoz agronom for a year. After the start of German-Soviet war he was imprisoned in July 1941. A year later, as German armies were closing in on Stavropol, he and other inmates were evacuated to a prison in Krasnovodsk in present-day Turkmenistan. On the way there, he contracted dysentery and soon died on 20 September 1942. His grave site is unknown, but a small memorial site was built in Turkmenbashi cemetery.Ulmanis had no wife or children, as he used to say that he was married to Latvia.
Kārlis Ulmanis's legacy for Latvia and Latvians is a complex one. In the postwar Latvian SSR the Soviet régime labeled Ulmanis a fascist, indistinguishable from the Nazis, accusing him of corruption and of bloody repressions against Latvian workers.Ulmanis, in fact, had outlawed the fascist party and imprisoned its leader, Gustavs Celmiņš.
Among the postwar Latvian émigrés of Latvian cultural background in exile, Ulmanis was idealised by many of those who viewed his 6-year authoritarian rule as a Golden Age of the Latvian nation. Some traditions created by Ulmanis, such as the Draudzīgais aicinājums (charitable donations to one's former school), continued to be upheld.
In independent Latvia today, Ulmanis remains a popular, if also controversial figure. Many Latvians view him as a symbol of Latvia's independence in pre-World War II Latvia, and historians are generally in agreement about his positive early role as prime minister during the country's formative years. With regard to the authoritarian period, opinions diverge, however. On the one hand, it is possible to credit Ulmanis for the rise of ethnic Latvians' economic prosperity during the 1930s, and stress that under his rule there was not the same level of militarism or mass political oppression that characterized other dictatorships of the day. On the other hand, historians such as Ulmanis biographer Edgars Dunsdorfs are of the view that someone who disbanded Parliament and adopted authoritarian rule cannot be regarded as a positive figure, even if that rule was in some terms a prosperous one.
One sign that Ulmanis was still very popular in Latvia during the first years of regained independence was the election of his grand-nephew Guntis Ulmanis as President of Latvia in 1993.
One of the major traffic routes in Riga, the capital of Latvia, is named after him (Kārļa Ulmaņa gatve, previously named after Ernst Thälmann). In 2003, a monument of Ulmanis was unveiled in a park in Riga centre.
The history of Latvia began around 9000 BC with the end of the last glacial period in northern Europe. Ancient Baltic peoples arrived in the area during the second millennium BC, and four distinct tribal realms in Latvia's territory were identifiable towards the end of the first millennium AD. Latvia's principal river Daugava, was at the head of an important trade route from the Baltic region through Russia into southern Europe and the Middle East that was used by the Vikings and later Nordic and German traders.
The Prime Minister of Latvia is the most powerful member of the Government of Latvia, and presides over the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers. The Prime Minister is nominated by the President of Latvia, but must be able to obtain the support of a majority of the Saeima (parliament).
Guntis Ulmanis is a Latvian politician and was the fifth President of Latvia from 1993 to 1999.
Alberts Kviesis was a Latvian politician and the third President of Latvia.
Gustavs Celmiņš, was a Latvian politician, who was the founder of the Pērkonkrusts.
Pērkonkrusts, was a Latvian ultra-nationalist, anti-German and antisemitic political party founded in 1933 by Gustavs Celmiņš, borrowing elements of German nationalism—but being unsympathetic to German National Socialism at the time—and Italian fascism. It was outlawed in 1934, its leadership arrested, and Celmiņš eventually exiled in 1937. Still-imprisoned members were persecuted under the first Soviet occupation; some collaborated with subsequently invading Nazi Germany forces in perpetrating the Holocaust. Pērkonkrusts continued to exist in some form until 1944, when Celmiņš, who had initially returned to work in the occupying German administration, was imprisoned.
This article gives an overview of liberalism in Latvia. It is limited to liberal parties with substantial support, mainly proved by having had a representation in the Saeima. The sign ⇒ denotes another party in that scheme. For inclusion in this scheme it isn't necessary so that parties labelled themselves as a liberal party.
The Constitution of Latvia, ratified on February 15, 1922, contains a provision regarding one of the reserve powers of the President of Latvia to initiate the dissolution of the parliament. According to Article 48-50 of the Constitution,
Aigars Kalvītis is a Latvian politician, former Prime Minister of Latvia and current Chairman of the Board of Latvijas Balzams. Since August 2015, he is CEO of the Latvian gas company Latvijas Gāze.
The Constitution of Latvia is the fundamental law of the Republic of Latvia. Satversme is the oldest Eastern or Central European constitution still in force and the sixth oldest still-functioning republican basic law in the world. It was adopted, as it states itself in the text, by the people of Latvia, in their freely elected Constitutional Assembly of Latvia on 15 February 1922 and came into force on 7 November 1922. It was heavily influenced by Germany's Weimar Constitution and the Swiss Federal Constitution. The constitution establishes the main bodies of government ; it consists of 115 articles arranged in eight chapters.
The President of Latvia, is head of state and commander-in-chief of the National Armed Forces of the Republic of Latvia.
Hugo Celmiņš was a Latvian politician. held the office of Prime Minister of Latvia from 19 December 1924 to 23 December 1925 and 1 December 1928 to 26 March 1931.
Marģers Skujenieks held the office of Prime Minister of Latvia twice from 19 December 1926 – 23 January 1928 and 6 December 1931 – 23 March 1933.
The State Chancellery of Latvia is a central public administration institution directly subordinated to the Prime Minister.
The House of the Livonian Noble Corporation is a historical building in Riga, Latvia, constructed to house the Landtag of the Livonian Noble Corporation in the Governorate of Livonia. Designed by architects Robert Pflug and Jānis Frīdrihs Baumanis, it was opened in 1867 and housed the Landtag until Latvian independence in 1919, and was subsequently damaged by fire in 1921. Today it is home to the Saeima, the parliament of Latvia. It is located in UNESCO listed Old Riga, directly opposite St. James's Cathedral.
The 1934 Latvian coup d'état, known in Latvia as the May 15 Coup or Ulmanis' Coup, was a self-coup by the veteran Prime Minister Kārlis Ulmanis against the parliamentary system in Latvia. His regime lasted until the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940.
Arveds Bergs, full name Arveds Kārlis Kristaps Bergs, was a Latvian lawyer, newspaper editor and politician actively advocating establishing of an independent Latvian state and later, as the leader of National Union, member of Saeima. Minister of Interior between December 9, 1919 and June 18, 1921 in the Latvian Provisional Government. After the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940, Bergs was arrested and deported to a prison camp where he died.
| Prime Minister of Latvia |
Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics
| Prime Minister of Latvia |
| Prime Minister of Latvia |
| Prime Minister of Latvia |
| President of Latvia |