Justifications used for arrest and deportations

Justifications used for arrest and deportations
From 1940 to the 1980s Soviet authorities in Latvia suppressed various professional groups, national groups and people of differing political convictions, by arresting, interrogating and imprisoning. A common accusation was „enemy of the state" or „traitor of the fatherland". Those accused of political crimes were usually sentenced to 5, 8, 10 or 25 years of incarceration in forced labour camps, prisons or psychiatric hospitals, or even death by firing squad.

In June 1941 the Soviet authorities deported from Latvia former politicians, industrialists, merchants, army officers and soldiers, as well as their families – including old people, women and children, simply because they were relatives of an „enemy of the state".

In March 1949 they deported families who, before World War II, had owned more than 30 hectares land and who had used hired help. They also deported family members of people active in the national resistance movement.

Arrests for not conforming to the regime continued in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The transgression might be literary or religious activity deemed contrary to the Soviet system, as well as political resistance. Altogether from 1940 to 1986 at least 47,218  Latvian citizens were arrested and incarcerated for political reasons.