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The Republic of Latgalia (Latgalian: Republika Latgola) is one of three remnant states in Latvia, the others being Courland and the New Livonian Order. Latgalia occupies the ethnographic region of Latgale, and has its capital at Rēzekne, the largest city of Latvia to survive Doomsday. The larger city that used to make up a large part of Latgale, Daugavplis, was destroyed by a nuclear strike on Doomsday, leaving the culturally powerful city of Rēzekne to become the de facto capital of the region.
Latgalia was first settled by Eastern Balts, from whom the Latvian and Latgalian languages were derived. Two main principalities, Jersika and Atzele, were established in the region, but neither managed to truly thrive as threats from Novgorod, the Livonian Order, Lithuania, and Muscovite Russia all placed great pressure on the region of Latgalia.
Latgalia ended up under the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth after the Livonian War. Under the Inflany Vovoideship, the Latgalian culture was developed, as was the Latgalian dialect of Latvian. Latgalia would eventually be ceded to the Russian Empire in 1772 during the First Partition of Poland. The region was largely Russified, especially in the city of Dauvgaplis. After years of seeking reunification with the rest of Latvia (which belonged to Sweden), Latgalia was added to the Republic of Latvia in 1920. The region of Latgalia was an integral part of the Latvian SSR.
On Doomsday, the people of Latgalia lost connections with Riga and Daugavplis, both of which were destroyed by the nuclear barrage. The Latgalians also lost contact with the main body of the Soviet Union, due to the destruction of all major Russian cities.
The people of Rēzekne did maintain connection via telegraph, radio and telephone to Ventspils, but historic and ethnic rivalries prevented much co-operation. In addition, transportation was severely limited, as petroleum was reserved for military use. The military, which was composed of 500 reserve Soviet troops stationed in north-eastern Rēzekne, all of whom were of Latvian origin, was quick to organize with the bases in surviving cities of Alūksne, and Madona. In total, about 5000 Soviet troops were in what would become Latgalia after Doomsday.
Latgalian Soviet Socialist Republic
On January 26, 1984, the leader of the military contingents in Latgalia, Podpolkovnik (Lieutenant Colonel) Ludvigs Eglītis, declared the establishment of the Latgalian Socialist Soviet Republic. This was considered extremely popular, as Courland had claimed that the smaller city of Ventspils was the new capital of the Latvian SSR. By April 23, 1984, as it became clear that the USSR had fallen apart in Eastern Europe, the self-promoted General-Polkovnik (Colonel General) Eglītis announced that the Latgalian Socialist Soviet Republic was officially independent of the USSR. Eglītis organized a new government led by a military junta, which was called the Latgalian Politburo.In the first election, held on August 28, 1984, the Constitution, as drafted by the Politburo and Eglītis was accepted and went into action. Under the new Constitution, the only political power was granted to a single lawmaking entity, the Supreme Soviet of Latgalia, which was to have members elected every eight years by members of the Communist party. The Supreme Soviet would then nominate one of their own to serve as the Premier.
In the first election of the Supreme Soviet, Eglītis was handily made the Premier but resentment which had brewed since the Soviet Invasion of Latvia during World War II ran deep, and the general people began to plot to create a relatively stable nation, free of communist influences.
This deep seated resentment only grew worse when, as compared to the Duchy of Courland, Latgalia failed to make any real progress towards recovery after Doomsday. By the 1988, the lagging Latgalian economy was further crippled when contact was established with Lithuania, which triggered an exodus of ethnic Lithuanians and Russians from the region to the more suitable Lithuanian state.
Development and Baltic War
The Latgalian military played a crucial role in the formation of the Republic. At first, the military (under Soviet and Communist leaders) was responsible for the consolidation of power under Ludvigs Eglītis. Secondly, the military was responsible for the instigation of the Baltic War. Finally, the military was strongly reformed to be kept in check under the new republic.
Currently, the military operates under voluntary service, with optional use of a state-based militia.
Panic of 1988
The economy of Latgalia was always quite strong in the former Soviet Union, and persists to be regionally significant due to large _____ and ____ sectors.
To Be Continued.
Ethnic GroupsWhile the population of Latgalia was split roughly down the middle between Russians and Latvians (more specifically ethnic Latgalians) in 1980, the most recent 2010 Census shows that about 62% of Latgalians considered themselves to be ethnic Latvians while 34% of Latgalians considered themselves to be ethnic Russians. The remaining 4% is comprised of Poles and Ruthenians, who had migrated following Doomsday.
Although the primary ethnic group in Latgalia is still Latgalian, the large minority of Russian nationals is the result of both migration during the Soviet Era and is also due to the massive migration of surviving Russians towards the Baltic in search of a safer place to live.
The largest ethnic group of Latgalia is Latvian, which embraces the Baltic culture. The Latvians were influenced by Russians, Germans, and Scandinavians, as well as other Baltic peoples like the Lithuanians, Prussians, and Livonians. More specific to this ethnic group is the sub-group Latgalian, which makes up approximately 84% of all Latvians in Latgalia. The remaining Latvians are mostly Selonian, from the historic Zemgale region of the Baltic.
Traditions and Customs
Latgalian traditions and customs draw largely from Latvian, Russian, and Polish cultural observances and practices. Latgalians believe that they are distinct from Courlanders because of their history of being ruled by Poles and Russians, as opposed to the Courlander tradition of German- and Scandinavian- rule.
Latgalians are normally Roman Catholic, though Courland is normally Lutheran. The Latgalian language also exhibits more Slavic influences than traditional Latvian. There used to be a vibrant Jewish community; it has since been snuffed out by the Holocaust and Soviet oppression.
During the USSR's period of dominance, the Latgalian region was largely forced to abandon its culture, as writing in Latgalian was banned, and the only recognized cultures of the region were Russian or Latvian.
While Latvia was noted as having one of the best standards of living in the former USSR prior to Doomsday, recent entertainment has been limited to music, theatre, and literature.
While originally strictly regulated during the Eglītis regime of the Latgalian SSR, literature has since spiked in popularity following Eglītis' death in YEAR. New authors as well as older story-tellers have written down many classic stories in order to preserve the rich oral tradition of Latgalia for all of the future generations who were born after Doomsday.
The most common forms of literature tend to be theatre and poetry, although a recent emergence of folk authors is beginning to have an impact on the greater Baltic region. The most famous of these authors is the aging Liesma Lagzdiņa who, while born in Courland, has gone on to become one of the most notable authors in the folk tradition.
Theatre, which is sponsored by the constant outpouring on plays by the Latgalian playwrights, has always been important to the Latgalians. Recent themes tend to related to a post-Doomsday and post-Baltic War sense of optimism in the face of despair.
MusicMusic plays an extremely important role in Latgalian culture and entertainment. Music, which typically tells folktales and is sung in traditional Baltic tradition, is played over the state-owned radio station, which is located in northeast Rēzekne.