Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The thaw in Soviet Latvia : national politics 1953-1959
Author: Loader, Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 6786
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
My dissertation offers the definitive account of the history of national communism in Soviet Latvia. I define national communism within the context of the concepts of Russification and Sovietisation. I provide an assessment of the contention of the school of Latvian historiography that Russian migration to Latvia was due to an official policy of Russification. I found that in the wake of Joseph Stalin’s death, leadership rivals Nikita Khrushchev and Lavrentii Beria cooperated to formulate a new nationality policy in the Soviet Republics in 1953, demonstrating the manipulation of nationality policy as a feature in the power struggle. I argue that it was in this context that Latvian national communism originated rather than its previously assumed emergence in 1956. In contrast to previous scholarship, I insist that the national communists operated as an identifiable faction within the Latvian Communist Party. I investigate the political rise of the national communists between 1953 and 1958, examining and evaluating each national communist policy including their controversial language and residency laws, and I uncovered new evidence of autarkic national communist economic plans. I identify their policies as nationalist and, ultimately, incompatible with Soviet socialism despite the partial liberalisation of the Soviet Union under Khrushchev. My dissertation uses complementary new evidence from Latvian and Russian archives to support and radically expand upon the theory of recent Western scholarship that an alliance of Stalinist hardliners in Moscow and Latvia, rather than Khrushchev, conspired to purge the Latvian national communists in 1959. This throws into question the causes of the other purges in nine republics between 1959 and 1961. Finally, my project augments our understanding of how the Soviet Communist Party functioned, particularly by showing precisely how the relationship between Moscow and the Soviet periphery relaxed before the Latvian purge but became strained again afterwards. My dissertation offers the only comprehensive history of national communism in Soviet Latvia. In their attempt to wrench more autonomy from the centre, the Latvian national communists presented the greatest challenge to Moscow from the Soviet Republics in the Khrushchev era.
Supervisor: Lovell, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available