RIGA - While observing the government's declared state of emergency, residents are asked to commemorate the victims of Communist genocide at home and in their thoughts today, while lighting a candle in their window.
All public events that usually are held today, Victims of Communist Genocide Day, will not be taking place on an organized basis, and residents are asked to lay flowers and wreaths at monuments throughout the country individually, while at the same time observing all the state of emergency restrictions that are in place.
Today Latvia marks 71 years since the second-stage of Soviet mass deportations which took place on March 25, 1949. Historians call the 1949 deportations to Siberia one of the most tragic days in the modern history of Latvia.
From March 25 to March 29, 1949, about 43,000 innocent people were deported to Siberia, including some 10,000 children, as well as young people, mothers with infants, old and sick, even dying people.
Many of the deportees died on their way to the exile destination, others spent long and difficult years in the northern regions of Russia, fighting for their and their children's survival in inhumane conditions. Those, who managed to return back home after years of exile, had strongly suffered morally and physically and had lost their property. Furthermore, the Soviet regime treated them with suspicion, making it difficult to obtain a relevant education and even to choose profession and place of residence.
The March 25, 1949, deportations concerned around 2.28 percent of all residents of Latvia. Altogether, 9,000 families were included in the list of deportees, which was drawn up on March 17, 1949.