Third Revival or the Singing Revolution (1987-1991)
Restored Independance, IV Soviet occupation

The Third Revival or the Singing Revolution - a social movement that led to the restoration of Latvia's independence in 1991.

The Singing Revolution (also the Third Awakening in Latvia) was a period in the history of the Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) between 1986 and 1991, which ended with the full restoration of national independence in all three countries. At the beginning of the National Awakening Movement, in the summer and autumn of 1987, public protests took place in the part of the society dissatisfied with the totalitarianism of the USSR in Latvia, which coincided with significant dates in the history of Latvia. On June 14, 1987, the public movement "Helsinki-86" organized the laying of flowers at the Freedom Monument in Riga in memory of the victims of the June 1941 deportations, which the authorities tried to disrupt with a cycling competition. The Central Committee of the Latvian Communist Party and obedient representatives of the authorities were also against the popular events of August 23 and November 18, 1987 at the Freedom Monument.

On June 1 and 2, 1988, a plenary session of the Creative Unions was held in Riga, where Mavrik Wolfson, a commentator on the political events of the fight and television, was the first to publicly read the secret protocols of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and make public the occupation of Latvia. On June 14, a folk rally took place at the House of Political Education and a procession to the Brethren's Cemetery led by a red-and-white-red flag through Riga for the first time since World War II. From 10 to 17 July, the Folklore Festival BALTICA took place in a patriotic mood in Riga and elsewhere in Latvia. On October 7, a People's Demonstration to restore the symbols of the Latvian state took place in Mežaparks. On October 8 and 9, 1988, the first congress of the Latvian People's Front was held at the House of Political Education, where publicist Daina Īvāns was elected the first leader of the LTF.

On May 31, 1989, the LTF Board called for a discussion on the full independence of Latvia. On July 28, the Supreme Soviet of the LSSR adopted a Declaration on the Sovereignty of the Latvian SSR, in which the legislation of the Latvian SSR was declared superior to the legislation of the USSR. On 23 August, the Baltic Way took place against the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and its aftermath, when about two million people joined forces to form a 670 km long living chain connecting the Baltic capitals for at least 15 minutes. On October 7 and 8, 1989, the 2nd Congress of the LTF was held, which declared the course for the restoration of Latvia's independence.

On March 18, 1990, elections were held to the Supreme Council of the Latvian SSR, in which the candidates nominated by the LTF received the greatest support. On May 4, 1990, the Supreme Council of Latvia adopted the Declaration "On the Restoration of the Independence of the Republic of Latvia".

Due to the shooting of civilians at the TV building in Vilnius on January 13, 1991, a Latvian national demonstration took place in Daugavmala, which was attended by about 500,000 people with Latvian national flags. Starting from January 13, barricades were erected from reinforced concrete blocks in several places in Riga, thus beginning the period of barricades in Latvia. The time of the barricades is a historical sign of the defense events of the renewed Republic of Latvia on May 4, 1990, which were organized in Riga and other cities of Latvia from January 13 to 27, 1991. On August 19-21, 1991, the so-called State Emergency Committee took power in Moscow. On August 21, OMON units in Old Riga attacked barricades near the Saeima House, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia adopted a statement on the full restoration of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, ending the transitional state postulated on May 4, 1990.

More information sources

Guntis Šmidhens. The Singing Revolution. National Encyclopedia:

The Singing Revolution. Wikipedia.

Related objects

Victory monument in Cēsis

The Victory Monument to Latvians and Estonians killed in the Battles of Cēsis is located in the city of Cēsis, on Vienības Square. In honour of the participants of the 1919 Battles of Cēsis, on 22 June 1924, the first stone was laid for the Victory Monument as sketched by architect Pauls Kundziņš, using funds donated by the people. During the Soviet occupation regime, on the night of 25 March 1951, the monument was blown up and taken down completely. A monument to Lenin, created by sculptor Kārlis Jansons, stood on the former Victory (Unity) Square from 1959 to 1990. In 1997, Māris Niklass, chairperson of the Cēsis District Council, managed to involve Estonian state institutions in the restoration of the monument. The material needed for the construction of the monument, Saaremaa dolomite, was received from Estonia as a gift. On 22 June 1998, during the celebrations of the 79th anniversary of the Battles of Cēsis, the first stone of the monument to be restored was laid on Vienības Square. A ceremony to unveil the restored Victory Monument took place in Cēsis on 15 November 1998 (author: architect Imants Timermanis). Information about the Victory Monument is available in the ‘Cēsis and the Latvian War of Independence’ exhibit of the Cēsis History and Art Museum, in the New Castle.

Permanent exposition of local history of Vaidava parish

Located in Vaidava Culture and Craft Center.

There is an exposition dedicated to the memory of the deportations of 1949, as well as the participation of the people of Riga in the January 1991 barricades in Riga. Evidence of world wars (mainly printed materials) can also be seen in the exhibition.

Natural and historical objects, manors, history of education, culture, notable people, materials of the collective farm time, household items, banknotes, newspapers, magazines about Vaidava parish.

Museum of the National Resistance Movement in Renda

The museum is located a few kilometres from the centre of Renda parish. The exhibit tells about the 50-year-long resistance movement in Latvia: resistance to the first Soviet occupation, resistance to the Nazi German occupation, and the armed and non-violent resistance to the Soviet occupation. The exhibit is located in two buildings. The first building houses evidence of the first Soviet occupation and German occupation. The exhibit showcases a restored barn building where the focus lies on the National Partisan War. Between the two buildings there is a bunker with an authentic layout and trenches used by soldiers. Located near the museum in Renda, excavations, blindages and an obstacle course serve as a training ground for youth guards and anyone interested. Visits must be booked in advance.

One of the largest battles of the national partisans, called the Āpūznieki Battle, took place in January 1946 not far from here. The battle saw the Kabile National Partisan Group overpower much larger forces of the occupying power. Featuring information stands, the battle site is now home to a rest area.

A sculpture dedicated to the Baltic Way

It is located at the Unguriņu-Lilli border point of Latvia and Estonia.

In the spring of 2009, the municipality of Ķonu parish, whose territory borders Estonia, in cooperation with metal artist Andris Dukura, created a sculpture dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the "Baltic Road".

A nine meter long and two and a half meter high sculpture with human silhouettes, where you can stand and hold hands in the empty places of human silhouettes. The idea of the sculpture allows to expand the dimension of time, and not only remember the chain of living people of 1989, but also gives the opportunity to become a part of the "Baltic Road" at any moment together with the sculpture.

Video about making the sculpture.

The Baltic Way was a unique campaign not only in the Baltics, but on a European and even global scale. It had never happened before that the residents of three countries united in a living chain of participants, which connected the capitals of the countries - Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. The historical event took place on the evening of August 23, 1989, it united about 2 million people. Its purpose was to draw attention to and remind of 50-year-old events - the conclusion of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. As a result, the two superpowers of that time - Germany and the USSR redistributed spheres of influence in Europe before the next world war, but the Baltic states lost their independence.
The approximately 600 km long chain of participants in Latvia marked the Baltic road from Bauska to Riga, further to Sigulda, Cēsis, Valmiera and Rūjiena.

Monument to soldiers - Old Believers who died for the liberation of Latvia

Located in Jēkabpils city cemetery.

The monument erected by the Old Believers community to the Old Believers soldiers who died for the liberation of Latvia in 1918-1919 can be viewed.

The community of Old Believers included several families whose representatives had participated in the battles of 1918-1919, when the question of gaining Latvia's independence was resolved. After the Freedom Struggle, these soldiers were given plots of land from the Free Land Fund. For example, for Latvian army officer Nikolaj Lebedev. In 1935, following the suggestion of teacher Tarasija Makarova (1880 - 1953), the chairman of the community of Old Believers, it was decided to erect a monument to the fighters for Latvia's independence. In the Jēkabpils city cemetery, on a cleared and graveled area, which was fenced off by whitewashed posts, an almost three-meter high oak cross was installed under a pine tree. Old Believer carpenters processed the wood and created an impressive eight-pointed cross. Following tradition, the explanatory inscription was created on a separate oak plaque at the foot of the cross. In Jēkabpils, in V. Lukomska's furniture workshop, an inscription was carved in Russian: "For soldiers - old believers who died for the liberation of Latvia." God, give them eternal memory!” Initially, there were no burials in the vicinity of the mentioned cross - only a pine forest. 20th century In the 1950s, the cross was obsolete. The then chairman of the Old Believers community, Vasilijs Jakovlevich Fedotovs, 20th century. In the mid-1960s, he received permission to restore the memorial, only on the condition that the monument should not be in the shape of a cross and with the inscription: "For the liberation of the Motherland".

Restoration of the monument was entrusted to A. Blumberg. He polished a large block of brown stone into a rectangular memorial stele and carved an octagonal cross and oak branches on its front wall. Under the words: "Eternal memory of the liberation of the Motherland for the fallen soldiers", the inscription "Jēkabpils Old Believers Community" was carved in much smaller letters. The monument was installed on a massive concrete base. On the other hand, the previous oak plaque with the inscription was protected by being placed in the church.

Because at the beginning of the Third Awakening, no other monument related to the proclamation of the Latvian state had been preserved in Jēkabpils. Therefore, already on November 18, 1988, the people of Jēkabpil held a memorial moment with flowers and candles in the Old Believers' cemetery near the monument to the soldiers who fell in the Latvian Freedom Wars. Soon, the restored oak plaque returned to the foot of the monument. The oak plaque was soon replaced by a marble one with an identical reproduction of the original inscription. In 2013, following the initiative of the Belovodije association and its project, the monument was restored and cleaned.

Monument to the soldiers of the 7th Sigulda Infantry Regiment who died in the Latvian War of Independence

Located on the shores of Lake Alūksne, on the edge of Pleskavas Street (Kolberg Road).

On June 22, 1923, the President of Latvia, Jānis Čakste, unveiled a monument to the fallen soldiers of the 7th Sigulda Infantry Regiment. The monument is based on the design of the artist Jūlijs Miesnieks.

The soldiers of the regiment also improved and maintained the area around the monument. Soldiers gathered at the monument on the eve of the regiment's annual holiday, when the holy fire was lit, as well as on the day of the regiment's year after the parade and intercession in the garrison cemetery.

1940/1941 The Bolsheviks removed and destroyed the plaque in 1953, but the monument itself was demolished in 1953 and its stones were laid in the foundations of the corner of the barracks house.
At the beginning of the Awakening, in the autumn of 1989, the vicinity of the destroyed monument, which was still in the territory of the USSR occupation forces, was cleaned up. On November 11, a temporary granite memorial was unveiled at the former location of the monument, with the text: "The monument of the 7th Sigulda Infantry Regiment will be restored in this place on November 11, 1989."

Thanks to the initiative of U. Veldre, the head of the Alūksne Brothers Cemetery Committee, the restoration of the monument was started and on October 16, 2009 the restored monument was unveiled.
Unlike the original monument, a cross was created on the obelisk regiment instead of a chest sign. Both sculptures of the monument were wrought by the sculptor Ainars Zelcs. Both the part of the 22 original obelisk blocks found on the territory of the National Armed Forces Infantry School and the newly built blocks were used for the restored monument.

On June 20, 2019, as part of the centenary of the Sigulda Infantry Regiment, a memorial site and a granite memorial plaque to the fallen soldiers of the unit were unveiled at the foot of the monument hill. The memorial site was built with funds donated by the staff of the Infantry School of the National Armed Forces.

Memorial to the fallen soldiers of the Latvian Legion and national partisans

Located in Indrāni Parish, Lubāna New Cemetery.

A memorial place to the fallen soldiers of the Latvian Legion and national partisans can be seen

The memorial was opened on July 25, 1992. The memorial stone was created by Andris Briezis.

At the beginning of the Awakening, in October 1990, Kārlis Doropoļskis, a member of the Helsinki 86 human rights group, received permission from the authorities to resume the joint burial of Latvian legionnaires the cemetery of the brothers, which was arranged in the new cemetery of Lubāna. A total of 26 fallen legionnaires and national partisans were buried in the brothers' cemetery.

Freedom Monument in Rauna

The monument, created by the sculptor Kārlis Zemdega, is dedicated to the memory of the members of Rauna parish who fell in the First World War and the War of Independence.
As one of the unrealized variants of the Riga Freedom Monument project, it was unveiled on August 20, 1933. The 3rd President of the Republic of Latvia, Alberts Kviesis, had attended the opening event.

The original name of the monument was "ES DŪR" - the motto - the spear turns into a coke and the people are saved by the spirit of song. The base of the monument is decorated with the words of the anthem written by Kārlis Baumaņi - “God, holy Latvia”.

Before the unveiling of the monument in 1933, the people of Raunen, during the landscaping of the monument, planted an oak alley and placed a capsule with the name of a fallen soldier under each oak. Later, in 1937, the names of the fighters were engraved on a white marble plaque placed in the church.

During the communist occupation, the inscription "God, holy Latvia" on the pedestal was engraved. It was restored at the beginning of the Awakening in June 1989.

Monument to the soldiers who died in the War of Independence

Located in Valka on Varoņu Street next to the Forest Cemetery.

A monument to 30 soldiers of the 1st (4th) Valmiera Infantry Regiment who died in the Latvian War of Independence can be seen.

The monument was unveiled on October 1, 1922. It consists of the figure of an ancient Latvian warrior ("Ancestor") carved in local pink granite, placed on a two-part pedestal made of gray granite. The sketch of the sculptor Emil Melder (Miller) has been chosen for the monument. Along with Melder, the sculptor Wilhelm Trey also participated in the forging of the monument.

It is the first monument of the Latvian War of Independence created by a professional sculptor, as well as the only one in the interwar period, made in the style of modernism, using elements of Cubism.

During the repeated communist occupation in 1951, the sculpture of the monument was demolished, partially damaged and buried. Burials were also leveled.

In 1988, as the centenary of the sculptor E. Melder (1889-1979) approached, the study of his works began.
The restored brothers' cemetery, along with the restored monument, was unveiled on November 11, 1990.

In 2017, eight memorials to the Knights of the Lāčplēsis War Order connected with Valka were erected in the Brothers' Cemetery. They are located on both sides of the monument - on four sides on each side.

Monument "To those who fell for the Fatherland 1918 - 1920."

It is located on the edge of Riga Street, opposite the Krustpils Palace.

In Jēkabpils, on the right bank of the Daugava, the proposal for erecting a monument to the fallen soldiers of the Freedom Struggle for the monument "Fallen for the Fatherland 1918 - 1920" was made by the Krustpils branch of the Latvian Brothers' Graves Committee on June 12, 1923. For the creation of the monument, on November 12, 1923, the Krustpils Parish Board handed over the stone part of the Tsar Alexander II monument at the parish board building, where the monument was installed in honor of the abolition of serfdom, to the disposal of the Fraternal Graves Committee. The Ministry of the Interior of Latvia allowed the Krustpils branch of the Fraternal Graves Committee to collect donations. In total, 2,400 lats were donated, 1,200 were missing. It was hoped to get them from the bazaar and social evening organized on the opening day of the monument.

The project of the monument is entrusted to the architect Aleksanders Birznieks. The architect's plans were to create a monument from local material - dolomite studs. The volume of the monument was formed by two concentric, massive semi-circles of dolomite stud masonry, the outer one on the Daugava side was lower, cut into the shore and formed a terrace. In its center was a fire cross made of red bricks. In the center of the main half-circle, as an altar, granite plates with the text: "Fallen for the Fatherland 1918 - 1920" and depicting the rising sun above the waves of the Daugava, framed by Latvian symbols. The central part of the monument was formed by the mask of the fallen soldier, which was forged by the sculptor V. Trejs. The Acting Commander of the Latgale Artillery Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Jākobsons, allowed the use of the square on the right bank of the Daugava opposite the Krustpils Castle for the construction of the monument, on the condition that the square remains the property of the Latgale Artillery Regiment.

In 1925, the Krustpils branch of the Latvian Brethren Cemetery Committee concluded a contract with businessman V. Treija from Riga for the construction of a monument in Krustpils. On July 26, 1925, the foundation of the monument was laid. September 27, 1925 is a holy day for Crusaders. The opening of the monument is taking place with its consecration by the Lutheran pastor of Krustpils parish K. Skujiņš. The Minister of War R. Bangerskis, the commander of the Latgale Artillery Regiment, Colonel Kire, General K. Berķis, etc. participate in the construction of the monument.

20th century In the 1950s, the monument "Fallen for the Fatherland 1918 - 1920" was partially destroyed - the upper part was demolished - the mask of ancient Latvian soldiers, smeared inscriptions, destroyed fire cross sign. On the other hand, already at the beginning of the Third Awakening, the activists of the Krustpils branch of the Latvian People's Front (LTF) in the first regional conferences of the LTF wrote in the resolution the demand to restore the monument in Krustpils. Already on November 11, 1989, at the place where the monument was located, a commemoration was held in which the people of Jēkabpils remembered their Lāčplēši.

At the beginning of 1992, the restoration works of the monument were started. Granite pieces of the required size and shape are manufactured at the Cēsis utility company combine. The granite was processed according to the drawings by E. Nīmanis and V. Treikmanis. The technical supervision of the restoration of the monument is carried out by architect Māra Steķe. In Riga, the sculptor Inta Berga cast the bronze details of the monument. All works were financed from Jēkabpils city funding. The renovated monument was consecrated by Modris Plāte, the then-present rector of Jēkabpils and Krustpils Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Jānis Bratuškins, pastor of Jēkabpils Catholic Church, on November 18, 1992.

Opened in Krustpilis on September 27, 1925. The monument was designed by the architect Aleksandar Birzeniek. The inscription "Fallen even for the Fatherland 1918-1920" is carved into the monument. The monument was partially demolished by the Soviet occupation power in 1941, it was completely destroyed around 1950. The monument was renovated on November 18, 1992.

Related stories

Memorial to the assassination of Kārlis Ulmanis

On April 15, 1920, in a wooded area on the Lubāna - Dzelzava highway, an assassination attempt was made against Kārlis Ulmanis, who was the Prime Minister of Latvia at the time. A memorial plaque was erected on this place between the border of Dzelzava and Indrāni parishes on August 11, 1939.

Vaidavians on barricades

In 2020, in anticipation of the 30th anniversary of the 1991 barricades, Vismants Priedīte shares a story about the participation of locals in these historical events.

Memoirs of Talava Megnis from Kocēni about the events in the 1991 barricades in Riga

Memoirs of Talava Megnis from Kocēni about the events in the 1991 barricades in Riga.
"On January 13, about 40 residents of Kocēni left Laz, driver Vitālijs Sprukts and minibus Latvija, driver Jānis Grava for the demonstration in Riga.
After the demonstration, when we met at the buses, we repeatedly heard on the radio the call of the Latvian People's Front, those who can, to stay in Riga and defend strategically important objects to make it more difficult to capture them, similarly to Vilnius television. We saw these footage filmed by Podnieks before leaving for Riga.

The unusual story of the Cēsis Regiment Students' Jewelry Monument

In the Cēsis battles of 1919, a group of volunteers from the Cēsis Regiment took part in the battles of the Cēsis Regiment. Already on the night of June 5 to 6, an hour after midnight, there was anxiety and the ornament was ordered to go into positions. Rota went on the line Mācītājsmuiža - Meijermuiža, which was considered to be the most important battlefield.

Rauna Freedom Monument or Monument to the members of Rauna parish who fell in the First World War and the War of Independence

The origins of the idea of the Rauna Freedom Monument can be traced back to August 21, 1929, when the head of the city of Cēsis and the head of the Cēsis district invited the most prominent public employees of Rauna parish to a meeting, calling to honor the acquisition of freedom and build a monument in Rauna.