On this day: Russia’s mass deportations of the Baltic peoples began.

Estonian children who had been forcibly deported to Siberia by Russian authorities. 1952.

Estonian children in Siberia in 1952

Operation Priboi (“Coastal Surf”) was the code name for the Soviet mass deportation from the Baltic states on 25–28 March 1949. The action is also known as the March deportation by Baltic historians. More than 90,000 Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, labeled as enemies of the people, were deported to forced settlements in inhospitable areas of the Soviet Union.

Over 70% of the deportees were women and children under the age of 16.

On this day: the annexation of Latvia

The Soviet Union annexed Latvia on the 5th of August, 1940, forcing them to join the USSR. Germany was the only Western nation to recognise the annexation.


800px-Riga_1940_Soviet_ArmyA Soviet BT Tank with a truck and troops in the centre of Riga, 1940.

On this day: the beginning of the June Deportation

The Kremlin began its mass deportation of the people of the Baltic countries and Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Poland on the 14th of June, 1941. Tens of thousands of people were moved from their homes in regions occupied and annexed by Russia.

Many people did not survive.

Deportation taking place in Latvia:

Latvia_deportation The Kremlin began its mass deportation of the people of the Baltic countries, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Poland on the 14th of June, 1941. russia.

On this day: the Night of the Murdered Poets in Russia

Flag of the Russian SFSR (1937-1954)

The flag of Russia in 1952

On the 12th of August, 1952, thirteen Jews from across the Soviet Union, including Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania were executed in Moscow on orders from the Russian government. All were falsely accused of espionage and treason, and their executions came after three years of imprisonment and torture.

Five of the murdered were Yiddish poets, hence the name of the infamous day.

Lina Stern Latvian Jew Persecuted by Russia and Stalin in the 1950s Women's History USSR Moscow

Lina Stern

A fourteenth person died in prison five months later, and a fifteenth, a Latvian scientist by the name of Lina Stern, was the only survivor. She spent time in a labour camp until Stalin’s death, but was officially declared “less guilty” so that the USSR could continue to make use of her medical research.

Neither the trials nor the executions were ever mentioned in the Russian media, however the families of the accused were exiled by Stalin. They did not learn the fates of their family members until 1955.