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Encyclopedia > Latvian Riflemen
Monument to the Red Latvian Riflemen in Riga, Latvia

Latvian riflemen (Latvian: Latviešu strēlnieki, Russian: Латышские стрелки) were military formations assembled starting 1915 in Latvia in order to defend Baltic territories against Germans in World War I. Initially the battalions were formed by volunteers, and from 1916 by conscription among the Latvian population. A total of about 40,000 troops were drafted into the Latvian Riflemen Division. Download high resolution version (600x800, 61 KB)statue of the rifleman, riga, latvia, summer 2003. ... Download high resolution version (600x800, 61 KB)statue of the rifleman, riga, latvia, summer 2003. ... Coordinates: Founded 1201 Government  - Mayor Jānis Birks Area  - City 307. ... 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar). ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... 1916 (MCMXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ...


From 1915 to 1917, Latvian Riflemen fought in the Russian army against the Germans in positions along Daugava river. In December 1916 and January 1917, Latvian riflemen suffered heavy casualties in month-long Christmas Battles which began with a surprise attack on German positions during Christmas. Suffering heavy casualties, Latvian riflemen managed to break the German line of defense but the effort was wasted as the attack was not continued. The Russian Army lost over 26,000 soldiers in the failed attack. The casualties included 9,000 Latvian riflemen, about a third of the total number at that time. The heavy casualties resulted in a strong resentment for the Russian generals and tsar among the riflemen. This resentment led to an increased support for the Bolsheviks, who were advocating an end to the war. 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar). ... 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar (see: 1917 Julian calendar). ... Daugava sunset in Riga. ... Christmas is an annual holiday that marks the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. ... Bolshevik Party Meeting. ...

Contents

Red Latvian Riflemen

In 1917, a large number of Latvian riflemen sided with the Bolsheviks. They became known as Red Latvian Riflemen ((Latvian: Latviešu sarkanie strēlnieki, Russian: красные латышские стрелки) and actively participated in the Russian civil war. The riflemen took active part in suppression of anti-Bolshevik uprisings in Moscow and Yaroslavl in 1918. They fought against Denikin, Yudenich, and Wrangel. In 1919 the division received the highest military recognition of that time — the Honorable Red Flag of VTsIK. Latvian Red Riflemen officer Jukums Vācietis became the first commander-in-chief of the Red Army. Latvian red riflemen were also a part of the attempt to establish Soviet rule in Latvia in 1919. They were defeated by Baltic German volunteers in Western Latvia and then by the Polish and new Latvian army in Eastern Latvia. 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar (see: 1917 Julian calendar). ... Combatants Red Army Latvian Riflemen White Army (Monarchists) Ukrainian Peoples Republic Green Army (Cossacks) Black Army (Anarchists) Blue Army (Peasants) Czechoslovak Legion Allied intervention Other anti-Bolshevik forces Commanders Leon Trotsky, Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Sergei Kamenev, Semyon Budyonny, Mikhail Frunze Alexander Antonov, Anton Denikin, Alexander Kolchak, Lavr Kornilov, Pyotr Wrangel... Position of Moscow in Europe Coordinates: Country District Subdivision Russia Central Federal District Federal City Government  - Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov Area  - City 1,081 km²  (417. ... Yaroslavl (Russian: ) is a city in Russia, the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, located 250 km north-east of Moscow at . ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... General Anton Denikins Volunteer Army and regional Armed forces after Armistice of Mudros Anton Ivanovich Denikin (Анто́н Ива́нович Дени́кин) (December 16, 1872 – August 8, 1947) was Lieutenant General of the Imperial Russian Army (1916) and one of the foremost leading generals of the anti-Bolshevik White Russians in the civil war. ... Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich (Николай Николаевич Юденич) (1862–1933), Infantry General (1915), leader of the counterrevolution in Northwestern Russia during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1920. ... Baron Wrangel At a prayer vigil upon accepting command. ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... Jukums Vācietis (November 11, 1873—July 28, 1938) (Russian (language): Иоаким Иоакимович Вацетис (Ioakim Ioakimovich Vatsetis)) was a Soviet military commander of Latvian descent. ... Red Army flag The Workers and Peasants Red Army (Russian: Рабоче-Крестьянская Красная Армия, Raboche-Krestyanskaya Krasnaya Armiya; RKKA or usually simply the Red Army) were the armed forces first organized by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War in 1918 and that, in 1922, became the army of the Soviet Union. ... The Baltic Germans (German: Deutsch-Balten, Deutschbalten, sometimes incorrectly Baltendeutsche), were ethnically German inhabitants of the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea which forms today the countries of Estonia and Latvia. ...


11,395 former Red Riflemen returned to Latvia after the 1920 peace treaty between Latvia and Bolshevist Russia. In 1933, seven Communist members of the Latvian parliament were arrested. During Kārlis Ulmanis' "benevolent dictatorship" of 1934-1940, many Communist and Socialist leaders (including all Socialist members of the Parliament) were arrested, and some were among the 400 high-profile citizens who were imprisoned in a concentration camp near the city of Liepaja. 1920 (MCMXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... Bolshevist Russia is a common term that refers to the Red side in the Russian government between the Bolsheviks October Revolution (November 7, 1917) and the constitution of the Soviet Union (December 30, 1922). ... Kārlis Ulmanis (b. ...


Other former riflemen stayed in Russia and took leadership positions in the Red Army, Bolshevik party, Cheka. Many of them were executed or imprisoned (many soon died in GULag camps) during the Great Purges, when most "old guard" Bolsheviks and high-ranking military and intelligence officers (as well as many intellectuals) were persecuted by Stalin, who viewed them as his rivals. Latvian Communists were among the most persecuted groups. When USSR occupied Latvia in 1940, many of the surviving Red Riflemen returned to Latvia. Red Army flag The Workers and Peasants Red Army (Russian: Рабоче-Крестьянская Красная Армия, Raboche-Krestyanskaya Krasnaya Armiya; RKKA or usually simply the Red Army) were the armed forces first organized by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War in 1918 and that, in 1922, became the army of the Soviet Union. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Gulag ( , Russian: ) was the government body responsible for administering prison camps across the former Soviet Union. ... The Great Purge is the name given to campaigns of repression in the Soviet Union during the late 1930s which included a purge of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. ...


It should be noted that the most famous pre-WWII Soviet Communist leaders from Latvia were not from the Red Riflemen: Martin Latsis, Yakov Peters, Arvids Pelse, Jānis Bērziņš, Yan Rudzutak, Peter Stuchka, Robert Eikhe. All of them, except for Stuchka (who died in 1932) and Pelse, perished in the Great Purges of 1937-1940. Yakov Khristoforovich Peters (Яков Христофорович Петерс) (December 3 (old-style November 21), 1886 - April 25, 1938) was a deputy director of the Cheka in the Soviet Union and acting director... ArvÄ«ds PelÅ¡e (Russian: ; February 7 (O.S. January 26) 1899 – May 29, 1983, Moscow) was a Soviet Latvian politician. ... Jānis BÄ“rziņš (in the 1880s - 1938), Latvian and Soviet communist politician. ... Yan Ernestovich Rudzutak (Latvian Janis Rudzutaks, Russian Ян Эрнестович Рудзутак, August 3, 1887-July 29, 1938) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and Soviet politician. ... PÄ“teris Stučka, sometimes spelt Stuchka (b. ...


Post-Soviet views

How to describe the Red Riflemen is a hot issue in Latvia after the fall of the Soviet Union. There has been disagreement over whether the statue (pictured) should be demolished or kept. Some see the Red Riflemen as pro-communists and want the statue removed, while others see them as pro-Latvian and want the statue to remain. The building now housing the Latvijas Okupacijas Muzejs (Occupation Museum of Latvia) originally was the Latvian Red Riflemen's Museum.


References

  • Andrew Ezergailis The Latvian Impact on the Bolshevik Revolution The First Phase: September 1917 to April 1918 Boulder: East European Monographs, 1983 ISBN 978-0880330350
  • http://mail.rochester.edu/~hgoemans/CaseDescriptionApril2007.pdf
  • http://www.centropa.org/reports.asp?rep=HR&ID=6877&TypeID=0
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perkonkrusts

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Latvian Riflemen at AllExperts (520 words)
From 1915 to 1917, Latvian Riflemen fought in the Russian army against the Germans in positions along Daugava river.
The riflemen took active part in suppression of anti-Bolshevik uprisings in Moscow and Yaroslavl in 1918.
Latvian red riflemen were also a part of the attempt to establish Soviet rule in Latvia in 1919.
1918 (889 words)
The real chances of Latvian riflemen to win back Kurzeme (that was one of the aims) and to influence the course of the war were exaggerated in the Latvian press.
The Latvian Bolsheviks supported the October revolution, but in the unoccupied part of Latvia, by the assistance of the riflemen the so- called Iskolata (designation by A.Ezergailis) was founded, the republic of the executive committee of Latvian workers, soldiers and landless peasants under the leadership of F.Rozins.
The regiments of the Latvian riflemen retreated to the territory of Russia.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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