PROCEEDINGS OF THE LATVIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

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Origins of Latvian national minorities, 1918−1922

Keywords: ethnic and national minorities, minority rights, national policy of a democratic state
Language: In Latvian

The article is dedicated to the decision of the Political Platform of People’s Council of Latvia, on 17 November 1918, about recognition of national minority rights in Latvia. The contents are formed with the view of memory of this event and imply contemplation about the first steps of the Republic of Latvia, born in 18 November, to facilitate cooperation with minorities. This was introduced by an appeal to participate in the political life of the country, in its administration and defence.

Complications arose due to unwillingness of conservative Baltic German politicians to accept the status of a minority and their striving to form pro-German multi-ethnic statehood in Latvia. This brought about a sharp conflict which was solved in 1919 after the defeat of German military units. Baltic Germans then recognised the national State of Latvia.

Jewish and Russian parties quite rapidly became part of the Republic founded by the Latvian nation. In 1920, the elections of the Latvian Constitutional Assembly could be held in a democratic way. Representatives of minorities participated in the elaboration of the 1922 Constitution. This was the final stage of the origins.