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CONSTRUCTION OF RESISTANCE DISCOURSE IN LATVIAN
POST-SOVIET LITERATURE ABOUT DEPORTATIONS AND IMPRISONMENTS

 

Eva Birzniece

University of Latvia, E-Mail: eva.birzniece@gmail.com

 

Acknowledgments

This paper has been presented at the Third International Conference on Nordic and Baltic Studies in Romania: European Networks: the Balkans, Scandinavia and the Baltic World in a Time of Crisis hosted by the Romanian Association for Baltic and Nordic Studies and Valahia University of Târgoviste, and sponsored by the Romanian National Research Council, May 25-27, 2012.

 

 Abstract:

During the Soviet era there were no publicly available published literary representations of the Soviet deportations and imprisonment of civilians and Latvian Army officers to Siberia and the Far East. If there were any, these were very scarce and available to very few people.  Deportations and imprisonments were marginalized and silenced themes in all possible respects – politically, socially and culturally. Many narratives (in books published in state publishing houses) emerged only in the beginning of the 1990ies when the Soviet Union collapsed and Latvia regained its independence. Those narratives were written secretly during the Soviet time, as the authors were or could be repressed for talking about forbidden topics. The female experience was not only totally silenced but it was also different from men’s experience of imprisonments and deportations as men and women with children were separated – men were sent to forced labour camps and women to places of settlement. Even when writing about deportations was dangerous, the narratives of that experience construct strong resistance to the Soviet repressions against Latvia and its people. Many female narratives about these experiences emerged later adding to the testimonials studies of archives and historical documents thus making resistance discourse more pointed and stronger.

 

 Rezumat:

În perioada sovietica nu au existat reprezentari literare publicate cu privire la deportarile sovietice ?i la întemni?area civililor ?i ofi?erilor Armatei Letone în Siberia ?i în Orientul Îndepartat. Daca au existat totu?i, acestea au fost foarte pu?ine ?i au fost accesibile unui numar redus de persoane. Deportarile ?i întemni?area au fost teme marginalizate ?i reduse la tacere în toate privin?ele – din punct de vedere politic, social ?i cultural. Multe relatari (din car?i publicate la editurile de stat) au aparut abia la începutul anilor 90 când Uniunea Sovietica s-a prabu?it ?i Letonia ?i-a recâ?tigat independen?a. Aceste relatari au fost scrise în secret în perioada sovietica deoarece autorii au avut sau ar fi putut sa aiba de suferit prin abordarea unor teme interzise. Nararea experien?elor feminine nu numai ca a fost supusa unei interdic?ii stricte, dar experien?ele acestora au fost ?i diferite fa?a de ceea cu au trait barba?ii deoarece femeile ?i copiii au fost separa?i de barba?i – ace?tia din urma au fost trimi?i în lagare de munca for?ata iar femeile în locuri de colonizare. Chiar ?i sa scrii despre deportari era periculos, relatarea acestor experien?e putând crea germenii unei puternice rezisten?e fa?a de represiunile sovietice împotriva Letoniei ?i a poporului sau. Numeroase relatari feminine cu privire la aceste experien?e au aparut mai târziu adaugându-se marturiilor din arhive ?i documentelor istorice, facând astfel discursul cu privire la rezisten?a mai taios ?i mai puternic.

 

Keywords: Post-SovietLatvia; Soviet Latvia, silenced experience; female narratives; Baltic deportations; Soviet repression; women in the USSR, resistance


12. Birzniece.pdf

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