Political masquerade

Political masquerade
On 18 June 1940, Andrei Vishinsky, Deputy Chairman of the Council of the People's Commissars of the USSR, arrived in Riga as the authorised USSR representative for talks with the President of Latvia. His assignment was to oversee the formation of the new government and the incorporation of Latvia into the USSR. Vishinsky formed the „people's government" with relatively popular members of the Latvian intelligentsia, with Professor Augusts Kirchenšteins as nominal head. The „ people's government" was completely dependent on the USSR, whose goal was the annexation of Latvia in a seemingly legal manner. Kārlis Ulmanis was under house arrest in the presidential residence and continued pro forma to carry out the duties of the president, proclaiming all the decrees of the occupation regime.

The „national government" promised to form a democratic government in Latvia, and under instructions from Vishinsky, organised hurried and unlawful elections. Only one list of candidates was permitted, the one that supported the occupation regime. The population was forced to vote for this single list of candidates, under threat of consequences if people did not vote. After the elections, the newly elected parliament following instructions from Vishinsky, declared Soviet authority to be in force in Latvia, and voted to join the USSR. The formal „admission" into the Soviet Union took place on 5 August 1940.