Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic 1987: Photos, Culture, Economy, History & more -- Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union Series

In the mid-1980s the Soviet press agency Novosti released a series of small books looking the USSR's 15 republics. Each book dealt with a republic's history, culture, development, industry, agriculture, etc. They provide a fascinating look at the Soviet Union's accomplishments and plans. The series was known as the "Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union".

Over the past several months we have been taking a look at these books and the republics. The books have been slightly edited for length and repetition in some cases and the photographs and illustrations have been dispersed more evenly throughout the text.

In our two most recent posts in the series we looked at the Estonian and Byelorussian Republics in 1987 and 1986. Written by a Latvian journalist this booklet looks at the Latvian SSR in 1987.

This installment begins with a look at some of the legends and geography of Latvia and then has a brief overview of its history including its revolutionary movements in the early 20th century and the role played by Red Latvian riflemen in trying to establish Soviet power in the republic. They were ultimately defeated by the forces of reaction and right wing nationalists with the aid of foreign intervention.

There is a look at the capital Riga, a beekeeping collective, a visit to a collective farm, notes on the importance of fisheries and shipping to the economy and overviews of economic growth on several fronts. There are also sections dedicated to the impressive advancements in science, health, housing and learning. Significant attention is paid to how the Latvian economy was integrated into the broader Soviet economic system. A variety of Latvian specific industries such the production of perfumes and home electronics are given attention. 

Various aspects of Latvian culture and sport, including theatre and folk music are also looked at at length.

(Click on scans to enlarge)

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