Monthly Archives: December 2013

For Fatherland, and Freedom.

The Baltic States of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania were never too pleased to be part of the Soviet Union. These three satellite countries had been incorporated into the USSR against their will, through rigged elections set up by the USSR, through the capable hands of Vladimir Dekanozov, Andrey Vyshinsky, and Andrei Zhdanov, all of whom happened to share a strong distaste for America. Since the secret protocol formed between Russia and Germany in 1939, the Baltic States had been shuffled around by the greater nations of the area, very much to their own disadvantage. Because of their comparatively fertile lands, the USSR took hold of these nations to make up for it’s own lack of agriculture, and until recently claimed that these Baltic States assimilated their countries willingly into this union.

Life in these Baltic states was cruel to say the least. These nations had to live a puppets under Soviet control, leaving them with a wealth of disdain, and a serious lack of control of their own lives. Using Latvia as a specific example, the Russians not only occupied this country with their armed forces and secret police, but also managed to take over the Latvian government leaving the people of the nation with a thin guise of nationality, that was beyond useless. However, the Soviets did bring in some technologies that helped Latvia bloom into a “Flowering Soviet Nation”, and helped modernize these Baltic nations.

Eventually though, after many years of living chained to the Soviet culture, the Baltic States finally achieved their own freedom. As the USSR fell, the Latvians, Estonians, and Lithuanians shouted to the world that they deserved freedom, and their own sovereignty. The debates weren’t long, or hard fought, to many people’s surprise, but in reality, what could Russia do to make them stay? Their arm, and influence had slowly been broken, leaving the fates of many satellite states to themselves. The Baltic States gained their freedom to live as they pleased.

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The Latvian Freedom Monument, pictured above, was originally unveiled in 1935 to honor the fallen brothers from their War for Independence in 1918. In the mid 40’s after the Russian’s had reclaimed Latvia, there was a good amount of talk wishing to tear down this monument. It was said to not run with the Communist Ideology, in that it represented the countries singular nationality, as opposed to the people of the nation, and their communist beliefs. Through some stroke of luck, the plans to demolish this monument, and replace it with a statue of Peter the Great, which had inhabited this location until the Latvians won their freedom, fell through, and the statue remained. As Latvia was granted it’s sovereignty once more, it’s said that the people celebrated at this monuments feet once more. Embracing the simple phrase that adorns the base, the people celebrated their own Fatherland, and their own Freedom.

TV, Soviets, and letting go

No matter where you were from WWII had a great impact on your nation. By 1970, most nations had licked their wounds though, and moved on. For Russia though, this wasn’t really possible. It’s true, the world lost about three percent of it’s population, but the Soviet Union lost about sixteen percent of it’s people. When a nation loses that many people, mostly drawn from the everyday people, you don’t move on so easily.

The Soviets had a great reverence for those who served, and the part they played in bringing down the Nazis, and with good reason. This reverence, mixed with their great loss allowed the television industry to create many powerful series, with a single great result. Shows like Seventeen Moments of Spring, based on the novel of the same title, by Semyonov. This series was based on real events, and followed the trials and works of an under cover agent by the name of Maxim Isaev and proved to benefit all parties influenced by this powerful miniseries. The series was originally funded by the government, in a roundabout way. It was used to show a more humane side of the KGB agents that in the past had terrorized many. It was also used to subtly shed a not so nice light on the USA that may not have been entirely accurate. The people found this series endearing and powerful, not only bolstering their national pride, but also creating an all encompassing sentiment. Whether you were a worker, manager, or farmer, if you owned a TV you would have seen this show, and could talk with anyone about it. Finally the producers also were able to use this series to question the Soviet system in a way that didn’t end with them in jail, but could still portray some powerful messages. Personally I enjoyed what I have seen of this series, and intend to finish this 12 part series.

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Of course, this wasn’t the only thing that came on the televisions, but this series is generally considered one of the most important, and powerful broadcasts made by the Soviet society. It’s one of the most watched Russian productions still today. This series helped the Russians not only honor their fallen family and friends from the Great Patriotic War, but it also helped them to finally move on. Taking place in the last seventeen days of WWII, this series brings closure to the war once more.