“January Chronicles. Press Releases Issued by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia, 1991” is a collection of the press releases issued in English by the Supreme Council. These press releases were disseminated to the Western journalists accredited by the Supreme Council and distributed to media worldwide, Latvian organisations abroad and foreign embassies, serving as a trustworthy source of the latest information about events in Latvia.

“Soviet aggression in the Baltics in January 1991 was also curtailed by reactions of the international community and Western countries, which favoured the defenders of the barricades. Although the Gulf War made the front page news at the time, events in the Baltics did not go unnoticed. Millions were watching. About one thousand foreign journalists were accredited by the Press Centre of the Supreme Council in January 1991; they hungrily awaited every new bit of information and passed it on to their audiences around the world. We were heard,” in her foreword to the publication Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima, emphasises the importance of informing the West.

The book includes a compilation of typewriter and hand-written press releases, retaining the original wording, corrections and deletions. Each press release is provided with a translation into Latvian. The compilation of 120 press releases issued by the Press Centre represents only a fraction of the total amount of information disseminated by the Supreme Council, nevertheless it constitutes a real-life narrative and coverage of our struggle for freedom through the eyes of the political epicentre of that time.

The publication covers a period between 2 January 1991, when the USSR army captured the Publishing House and suspended issuing of newspapers, and 4 May 1991, the first anniversary of adopting the Declaration of Independence.

The compilation constitutes an account of the period, covering such then pressing topics as the tensions between the Latvian parliament and the leadership of the USSR Baltic Military District, struggle with the economic hardships, talks with the leaders of Western countries, as well as negotiations and discussions with the President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev, and the Chairman of the Russian Supreme Council Boris Yeltsin.

source: Saeima Press Service

photo: Saeima.lv
Saeima.lv, 21.01.2016, History, independence, Politics