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 issued a newspaper entitled Aizsargs ("Defender"/"Guard").

Aizsargi had women's ("Aizsardzes") and youth ("Jaunsargi") subsidiaries.

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

On January 1, 1940 the organization had 31,766 aizsargi, 14,810 aizsardzes and 14,000 jaunsargu.[2]

On June 18, 1940 the organization was disbanded as a result of the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940. During the Soviet occupation, the members of the organisation 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