Faculty of Social Sciences

Seminar "Isolation or Rationalisation? Economic Policy under the Latvian National Communists, 1956–1959"

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES) Gamla Torget 6, 3rd floor, room 3576
  • Lecturer: Michael Loader is Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University
  • Website
  • Organiser: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES)
  • Contact person: Jevgenija Gehsbarga
  • Phone: 018 471 1630
  • Föreläsning

with Dr. Michael Loader (IRES)

During the early 1950s, the Latvian national communists emerged as a group opposed to the Russification of Soviet Latvia. They rose to dominate politics and society in Latvia and wanted to exert autonomous control over aspects of life but crucially, remain within the bounds of the Soviet system. Capitalizing on the relative post-Stalin liberalisation of Khrushchev’s Thaw, the national communists embarked on a bold crusade of nationalist reforms. One such reform was the development of their economic policy, encouraged by Khrushchev’s 1957 decentralising sovnarkhoz (Regional Economic Council) initiative. This talk explores how the national communists sought to rationalise productivity by rebalancing the economy, focusing on traditional pre-Soviet industries for the domestic market and consumer goods production, while also limiting the growth of industries requiring large inputs of external labour from Russia. The national communists also successfully prevented the construction of the Pļaviņas Hydroelectric Dam, against Moscow’s objectives, in order to protect the local environment and a national heritage site. Dr. Loader will investigate how the national communists sought to renegotiate the centre-periphery relationship with Moscow by developing autarkic economic plans designed to curb Russian migration and exports to Russia.