Population changes in Latgale Cover Image

Przemiany narodowościowe w Łatgalii
Population changes in Latgale

Author(s): Piotr Eberhardt
Subject(s): Cultural Essay, Political Essay, Societal Essay
Published by: Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: Latgale; Polish Inflants; nationality structure; population changes

Summary/Abstract: Latgale is one of the four provinces of Latvian State. It is located in the east part of the Latvia that borders with Byelorussia and Russia. The first part of this article presents Latgale’s history since the 13th century. Latgale was part of Poland (Polish Inflants, 1561-1772), and later of Russian Empire (1772-1916). The Russian census of 1897 shows that it was inhabited by various nations: Latvians, Russians, Jews, Poles, Belarusians and Latvians. The next part of the article deals with the demographic situation in the interwar period when Latgale was an integral part of the sovereign Latvian state. Later, together with whole Latvia, it was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940; next it was occupied by Nazi Germany, and again incorporated to the Stalin’s Soviet Union. As it became part of Latvian Soviet Republic, it was subjected to planned russification and sovietization policies to eliminate its national and confessional diversity. There was then a mass influx of the Russian people, while the local Latvian population was marginalized. These changes are presented in the text on the basis of the Soviet censuses of 1959 and 1989. The author also discusses relations between Russian and Latvian populations, as well as the number and distribution of population of the Polish origin, who traditionally concentrated in Daugavpils and its vicinity. The last part of the article deals with the period after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the regaining of independence by Latvia. The nationality evolution is presented on the basis of statistical data from 2000 and 2009. The present Latvian authorities aim at strengthening the national character of the state and limiting the significance of its numerous Russian minority. The information on the current condition of the local Polish population closes the text.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 40
  • Page Range: 63-85
  • Page Count: 23
  • Language: Polish