Latvia and the Latvians Frederic T. Harned, Harvard University (part of a larger M.I.T. study), 1973

Peters' parents and generation in particular—born in the 1900's or shortly thereafter—were lucky enough to have come to adulthood and prospered in that first all-too-brief flowering of twenty years of Latvian independence. To understand the birth of that independence, the impact of half a century of occupation, the path to the Latvia of today, we've been exploring the past through materials contemporary with their times. Our greatest challenge has been in finding objective "windows" into the Soviet occupation—that is, not written from the viewpoints of either the occupier or the occupied.

We were quite excited when we came across "Project: Attitudes of the Major Soviet Nationalites"—a study by the Center for International Studies at M.I.T., published in 1973. It's a 5-volume, seven inch thick typewritten "slice of life" of the Soviet Union from the viewpoint of its ethnic constituencies.

The study is a treasure trove that was lost even to M.I.T.—they needed two weeks to find a copy when we first inquired about permission to reproduce it! We intend to eventually republish it in its entirety over time. As our first step, we present: "Latvia and the Latvians" (section two out of Volume II, The Baltics), prepared by Frederic T. Harned of (at the time) Harvard University.

Our grateful appreciation to Prof. Harned for reaching out to us to express his thanks for bringing his scholarship to a new generation.


The work reported in this document was conducted under contract between the U.S. Information Agency and the Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The distribution of this paper does not indicate endorsement by the United States Information Agency, nor should the contents be construed as reflecting the official opinion of that Agency.

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