Aizsargi

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Aizsargi (literally: "Defenders", "Guards") was a paramilitary organization (Latvian: Aizsargu organizācija, "Guards Organization"), or a militia, in Latvia during the interbellum period (1918–1939). The Aizsargi was created on March 30, 1919[1] by the Latvian Provisional Government as a self-defense force, a kind of National Guard, during the period of unrest and civil warfare following the Russian October Revolution, which enabled the independence of Latvia from Russia. In 1921 it was reorganized to follow the example of the Finnish Suojeluskunta (known as the "White Guard" in the English-speaking world).[2]

Aizsargi published a newspaper, entitled Aizsargs ("Defender"/"Guard"), and the movement had subsidiary sections for women ("Aizsardzes") and youth ("Jaunsargi").

The organization was among those which militarily supported the 1934 coup d'état of Karlis Ulmanis.

By 1 January 1940 the organization had a membership of 60,684: 31,874 guards (aizsargi), 14,810 women members (aizsardzes), and 14,000 youth members (jaunsargu).[2]

On 16 June 1940 the organization was disbanded as a result of the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940. During the Soviet occupation, the former members of the organization were heavily persecuted.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Documents of the Latvian Aizsargi Organization" (PDF) (in Latvian). A Latvian state archive exhibition catalog
  2. ^ a b Latvian Armed Forces in 1940