Talk:Abrene District

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Pytalovo also a historic name[edit]

Pytalovo is not "an unrelated Russian name given to the city" in order to claim it as Russian.

This is a historic Russian name of the village in the region which was always ethnically Russian and before border agreement between Latvia and Soviet Union that followed Riga peace treaty of August11, 1920 Pytalovo/Abrente was part of Russia proper.

There are Russian fortifications and churches in the region that date back to 15th century, when it was part of Pskov region/principality of Russia/Muscovy.

Latvia never existed as an independent nation before 1918. Pytalovo region is presently part of Russia, just as it was historically exept for a short period between 1920-1939.


Refrences: http://www.pytalovo.ellink.ru/letopis.htm, http://www.pytalovo.ellink.ru/history.htm (Russian) -Fisenko

It is not said that Pytalovo is an unrelated name, it is said that it was a common Russian practice to give Russian names to conquered cities, in many cases unrelated (see names at Crimea, Kaliningrad Oblast). Whole Latvia was part of Russia before that peace treaty, and there was no "Russia-proper" or "Latvia" then, there were different gubernyas which were not drawn according to any ethnical boundaries (e.g. Livonian gubernya included both Estonian and Latvian territories, Courland gubernya - Latvian and a bit of Lithuanian, Vilnius gubernya - Lithuanian and Byelorussian and so on. The peace treaty was signed whcih recognised Latvia in those borders, it wasnt that Latvia would have invaded it and taken it over by military ofrce or such. DeirYassin 08:36, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

Latvia did invaded ethnic Russian villages of the region in July 1919. Villages Pytalovo, Nosovo, Vyshgorok etc. were areas of heavy fighting between Russian Bolsheviks and Latvians prior to their surrender in 1920.

The point is: Pytalovo was historically a Russian community and part of Russia prior to the conquest of the rest of Latvia (Swedish Livonia at the time). Pytalovo BTW was part of Peterburg gubernya rather than Courland or Livonia. -Fisenko

As I said, it doesnt matter what gubernya it was of as gubernyas werent drawn according to ethnicities. E.g. a small part of southern Lithuania with fully Lithuanian-dominated regions was part of Hrodna gubernya even though the gubernya itself was Byelorussian, also the examples I gave above. And fights occured in whole Baltic region back then to to Russian (both bolsheviks and bermontians) attempts to take over the newly independent states. And previous system of voivodships, fiefs and such was not nationality based either, so the fact that it did not belong to Livonia then does not means it shouldnt belong to Latvia; Klaipeda region did not belong to Lithuania, but there was always Lithuanian majority in most of it DeirYassin 09:45, 11 May 2005 (UTC)


First, the articles is wrongly states what the region is part of Latvia, while currently it is a part of the Russian Federation.

Second, the articles clearly implies that the region had ethnic Latvian majority which was later forced out and "changed by Russians", which is also inaccurate.

Finally, the article implies that the region is historically Latvian rather than Russian, once again this is not true. -Fisenko

Edited the first part about belonging, edited out the wording that majority is now Russian (so that it wouldnt seem that it was different; it is true however that the Latvian share way decreased during the time, there are now people in Latvia who cannot get back their property (real estate) as it is in the region). The article doesnt implies anything historically, it just writes the real history since 1920, because Latvia did not existed as country before, nor as an adminsitrative unit or such. DeirYassin 22:16, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
So, if you added NPOV back after my last edit of certain questionable places, you have to tell what is still incorrect in your opinion, and your arguements DeirYassin 08:42, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

1) The town and the region were not renamed from Abrene to Pytalovo in order to be "Russified" but were given their original Russian names that existed long before.

2)The article should be entitled Pytalovo/Abrene region and the fact its is claimed by Latvia should not be the main meassage of the article.

3)The link to "Occupied territories of Baltic States" should not be there. -Fisenko


1) Ok edited that part, no reference about the general Russian policy of russianising names now.
2) Well, you should understand that the point of this article is exactly that the region is claimed by Latvia; otherwise as I understand there is no directly corresponding administrative unit. This region is solely defined by "the territory of interwar Latvia which was removed from Latvian SSR to Russian TSFR later". If you want to write about the Pytalovoskaya rayon, you should write at Pytalovo district, which would be article about administrative unit; while this is an article about territorial "dispute", that is also why it is called Abrene region - because it is only envisioned by Latvians, and not recognised by Russians as any separate entity.
3) The Occupied territories of Baltic States article exactly mentions territories of Baltic States which were part of them in the interwar, but were detached later under Soviet occupation. Abrene region is one of them. -DeirYassin 22:43, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

"Controlled by Russia" in intro seems too strong and POV[edit]

I edited the article after carefully reading the discussion above. I hope my edit is found agreeable. Just one elabroation on my edit. "Controlled by Russia" in the very beginning of the article does not sound neutral. It makes an impression that an article makes judgement about the territorial dispute which it should not. It should simply inform the reader as neutrally as possible. "Currently of Russia" seems to do this better. The reader still gets the historical picture of the dispute. Irpen 03:54, May 27, 2005 (UTC)


Some comments, with a hopeful attempt at "neutrality"...[edit]

I don't really want to wade into this argument, but... well... I will! "Pytalovo" is not a "historic Russian name" but etymologically Baltic ("Pietālava"), and the contention that it "was always" Russian is absolutely false -- see the German linguist Bielenstein's studies of the area in the 19th C or Toporov on toponyms; anyway "Abrene," like "Jaunlatgale," is a newfangled apellation. To distill the question, one can say that the area was russified whilst part of Pskov gubernya, in a place that was always a point of friction between Balts and Slavs, eventually and roughly along the line of a slight ridge (running between that part of the Abrene district still in Latvia and that part now illegally annexed to Russia). The ethnographic question and the legal argument must be separated to make sense of it. If we speak of linguistic and cultural space, then it's a complex question -- if we speak of ethnographical determinations, then the border was most definitely drawn east of that slight ridge ("Viļakas valnis"), for reasons I won't get into here. To quote Edgars Andersons (Latvijas vēsture 1914-1920, p. 606): "Especially in the north, the Russians had agreed to the Latvians' strategic demands, not complaining about the ethnographic principle having been disregarded. Several pagasti [civil parishes] were completely Russian." The town of Jaunlatgale/Abrene/Pytalovo itself did not exist until 1919. If we speak of politics and international law, then the area was stolen outright, by Russia (the RSFSR). A common misconception on the Latvian side is that "the Abrene district" was majority "Latvian" prior to annexation -- that's simply not so, because the "Abrene district" (not "region") was split (at least) twice, and the part annexed to Russia was always (by that I mean during the existence of the Latvian nation-state) majority "Russian" (read "russified," and by that I mean "culturally" or "linguistically"). If you study the demographics in the last century, then you shall find that the civil parish of Viļaka (to the west of that ridge) was 89% ethnically Latvian, whilst the parishes to the east (Linava and Purvmala) -- annexed to the RSFSR, now the Russian Federation -- were 3% and 8% ethnically Latvian respectively. Ethnicity, however -- or, to be precise, ethnic identity -- was not, is not, and never was the sole determining factor for frontiers. When the negotiations setting the border were concluded (the border wasn't actually finalized until 7 April 1923), fairly large communities of ethnic Russians and Latvians were left on the "wrong" side in different places (at Drisa-Sebeža, for example, 29 100 Latvians were left on the Russian side); where later legality is concerned, what is now Pytalovo was most certainly annexed illegally (and if anybody has any arguments to the contrary, I'd love to hear them!). We are talking about an area that was very small by population and backward by economic development -- the town of Abrene (Pytalovo) itself, for instance, in 1935, consisted of churches, 114 dwellings (primarily single-story houses without indoor plumbing), 109 shops, two elementary schools and one Russian language secondary school -- the total population in 1935 was 1242, including 484 Latvians; 52,4% of the population was ethnically Russian, 38,6% ethnically Latvian. The Russian language school was built in the interbellum Republic -- in fact, Latvian nationalists blame the Republic for hastening russification by offering cultural autonomy. An illustration of the complexity is the fact that most of the Latvians in the northernmost civil parish, Kacēnu pagasts, came from the so-called "Lauru kolonija" -- part of the Latvian nation stranded in Estonia, now part of the Estonian territory taken by Russia and home of the Setu people. Pēteris Cedriņš 22:44, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Please write the Setu & Setumaa articles. mikka (t) 22:51, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Deleted POV Dispute flag[edit]

I took the liberty of deleting this flag, since the article reads neutral-enough to me and there have been no substantial edits related to POV for some months....FRS 20:04, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

Minor edit -- origin of the name "Pytalovo"[edit]

I suspect that we are not going to agree about the etymology, Ghirlandajo, but there is considerable material on the Baltic toponyms in the area (by prominent Russian linguists, too, like Toporov), and the area was definitely inhabited by Finno-Ugric and Baltic speakers before it was inhabited by Slavs, though it was an area of friction. The German linguist August Bielenstein (not a Latvian, so no axe to grind!) made a study of the people in the region in the 19th C -- they still spoke Latvian, though many had been converted to Orthodoxy. See my post above, please. The terra "Tolowa, Tholowa" is mentioned as early as 1224, and again by the Arab geographer Ibn el-Wardi (d. 1349) as "Atlawa." In 1255, Pope Alexander IV writes of Tolowe et Selonie (Tolowa and Selonia). The name likely derives from the river Tolva (Tolba, Toloba), which flows into Lake Peipus; according to Vasmer the root is the Finno-Ugric tulva (tributary, flood). What I wrote earlier was indeed imprecise, since "Pietālava" is modern Latvian (approximating the actual meaning); to be precise, the Latgalians absorbed and transmuted the Finno-Ugric -- the word was also applied to the lake, which was long the border between Tolowa and Pskov. --Pēteris Cedriņš 22:54, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

Another minor edit...[edit]

I made another minor edit, and I hope it does not start a minor war... in my opinion, the use of "reannexed" with reference to the war and 1944 is misleading, since Latvia was occupied in 1940 (not making mention of the occupation but saying "reannexed" is confusing, since Latvia was occupied prior to the war -- that it was occupied by the Soviets, the Nazis, and then the Soviets again does not re-annexation make, since it was never formally de-annexed and did not regain its independence). The terms "Latvian minority" and "ethnic Russians" were unclear, too -- is a Russified Latvian an "ethnic Russian," and does "minority" refer to ethnicity? The Russians in Abrene were Latvian citizens, and unless somebody goes to the trouble of explaining what that means it is senseless to parse their ethnicity. I added some particulars (e.g., on the deportations) and clarified the fact that it was not the entire district but its eastern civil parishes that were annexed. --Pēteris Cedriņš 23:53, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

Ghirlandajo, I am reverting the page because you do not provide sufficient justification for your very questionable changes, which are obviously not neutral POV (e.g., you changed "annexation" to "liberation," "russified" to "delatvianized," etc.). That terrible things happened all over the USSR is no reason to remove specific information on how the region was ethnically cleansed and its original inhabitants (of whatever ethnicity) in large part replaced by others. --Pēteris Cedriņš 01:16, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

So we should repeat the same in articles on every Soviet town? Firstly, your changes were by no means minor. Secondly, you introduced a heavily POV phrasing: "annexation" and "russification" of the territory that was Russian for more than a millenium. You also fail to explain a mysterious phrase on Russia still refusing to recognize Latvia's independence. Therefore I revert. Wikipedia is not a Latvian propagandist machine. --Ghirlandajo 01:25, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
Part of the point of having this article is to provide information on issues relevant to the dispute; the russification of the region is very obviously very relevant. "Annexation," Ghirlandajo, is a wee bit more neutral than "liberation" -- the territory was annexed to the RSFSR in a very murky way by a totalitarian occupying power (an example of how murky is that the actual territory annexed exceeds in size the territory formally annexed) -- how you can call the deportation and repression of a population "liberation" is beyond me. "Russian for more than a millennium" is a ludicrous contention; you apparently are not paying attention to the distinctions I am attempting to make between "ethnic" and "national" -- following your logic, all of Latvia would be "Russian," Finland would be Russian and Swedish and might be "liberated" by an invasion, etc. See what I wrote on this page some months ago. For your information, some of the ethnic Russians from Abrene are Latvian citizens to this day, having fled Abrene because of the repressive measures that followed the annexation of the territory. I didn't write any "mysterious" phrases -- see the history. The article is quite poor and needs major expansion, in my opinion, and I tried to bring up some of the things that ought to be in it on this page, at length. I am well aware of the fact that Wikipedia is not "a Latvian propagandist machine," but neither is it a Russian propagandist machine. I am going to revert your changes for the time being, once again, and I will try to expand the article over the next few days. Since we obviously have very different viewpoints, it would be far more constructive if you attempted to discuss the specifics, so that we might reach a compromise, instead of lashing out. --Pēteris Cedriņš 02:12, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

Moved from Irpen's and Pēteris Cedriņš' user talk pages[edit]

Privet! You made a note to my rewrite that "the article still needs much revision." What do you have in mind? I plan to add more information on the international law aspect, and will add references), but I would be interested to know what you think the article needs. --Pēteris Cedriņš 13:19, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

sveiki! I supplied some edit summaries with my corrections. Basically, the problem is that the article is one-sided towards the Latvian POV on the dispute. It is not your fault since you base your writings on the Latvian sources. I will ask some Russian editors that I know to have knowledge of the subject to look at it. I corrected only what seemed obvious to me. See my summaries for the reasons. Regards, --Irpen 16:22, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

My sources are actually wide-ranging. Loeber, for instance, is a German expert in international law, arguing that the annexation is a clear-cut violation of international law, and I did not make it as clear-cut in my article only because I know that certain persons would doubtless come around to revert or delete. The actual facts on the annexation come from Soviet archives and not Latvian documents. Not to oversimplify, but this is not a Russian vs. Latvian debate, and if "annexation" gets replaced by "liberation," I am not the one biased towards a POV. Equating a victim with a murderer does not lead to NPOV. Vsego khoroshego, --Pēteris Cedriņš 16:48, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

There is no doubt that it was annexation. I did not insert "liberation" and have no intention to do it. My problem, for example, is with using "return to Latvia", because every piece of land in Europe can be transferred to a number of countries and this could be called "return". Under this logic, Kiev or Smolensk could be "returned" to Poland, Warsaw could be "returned" to Russia, Gdansk to Germany and Bretagne to the UK. Similarly, talking about the lack of plebiscite, is like talking about the lack of multiparty democracy. It is a tautology to raise this in every USSR-reraled article. Stuff like "can't visit graves" looked strange in your version because it is not clear what exactly the problem is as I explained in the edit summary. I only corrected the obvious things and it will take a more knowledgeable editor to do more. Please, no flames. --Irpen 17:13, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

I further explained the graves, trying to clarify -- it is a priority for the actual victims (you must know how Balts and Slavs are about graves), and the case is bilateral -- the trouble is that they live outside the border zone, many in the town of Balvi (still in the former Abrene district, but outside the zone where one can get cross-border privileges, etc.). I do not desire to flame you, and I realize that you try to be reasonable (I went through your some of your controversies!). Your critique does not stand up so far though, sorry -- Poland has a border agreement with Russia, etc., and there is a difference between satellites and Soviet "republics." Legality ought to have a place in an encyclopedia. De jure, Abrene belongs to Latvia -- de facto, it was annexed to Russia. Your logic is not my logic! Yes, much territory moved and many people moved (many into graves), but the law is the law -- international law is maybe POV? --Pēteris Cedriņš 17:54, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

OK, the graves issue looks fine with me now. Legality from the International Law viewpoint may be covered and I have no problem with that. But basing an entire issue on the Treaty of Riga is a POV. The Helsinki accords come into play when talking about territorial demands of one country to another. Also, AFAIK, Latvia, when joining NATO had to officially rescind any territorial claims it could have to its neighbors.

In a similar fashion, the fact the transfer was made through a Presidium decision instead of the Supreme Soviet's one is relevant. However, the plebiscite is an anachronism when talking about the Soviet Union in that time. By this logic you could mention a lack of plebiscite every time when a new republic leader was appointed from Moscow. Lack of democracy in the Soviet Union belongs to the History of the USSR series. Similarly, no one is bringing the issue of Nazi collaboration in Latvia into this article. This simply does not belong to this article. --Irpen 18:46, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

I strongly disagree. Abrene was the territory of the Republic of Latvia, which was occupied by the USSR. This is rather like what Ghirlandajo wrote about these things happening all over the USSR. This was not the USSR but an independent country where almost none of these things happened until the USSR occupied this country. The lack of a plebiscite to join the territory annexed to the RSFSR, now the Russian Federation, followed by ethnic cleansing and repression, is very obviously relevant to a history of the region, which is what this section of this article is. --Pēteris Cedriņš 19:05, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Irpen, basing issue on international treaties is not a POV. The Helsinki final Act was not indented - and neither was it constructed - as establishing legal obligations but rather the political ones. One could argue that, over time, some provisions of that agreement - such as provisions concerning human rights - have become, due to States choosing to align their practice with them, part of customary international law. That, however, can not be said about "drawing borders" - they have been legalised in bilateral negotiations/treaties between the parties involved.
Additionally, Helsinki Act did not amount to wholesale mutual recognition of de iure borders - in it the parties agreed to respect the de facto borders, to refrain from assaulting them, as well as to refrain from demands for territory of other states:
III. Inviolability of frontiers
The participating States regard as inviolable all one another's frontiers as well as the frontiers of all States in Europe and therefore they will refrain now and in the future from assaulting these frontiers.
Accordingly, they will also refrain from any demand for, or act of, seizure and usurpation of part or all of the territory of any participating State.
"Turning" those de facto borders into de iure borders, given legal effect to any transfer of territory, still remained subject to bilateral treaties between the States involved.
Latvia was not a party to Helsinki accord at the time they were concluded, because – shall I remind it once again – prior to it, it was occupied by, and illegally annexed into, USSR. Nowhere has Latvia, even after becoming party to international agreements that were concluded without it, disclaimed its rights to part of its territory. The opposite is true – Latvia's parliament has restated the claims to its territory several times after restoration of independence. Consequently, the only treaty regulating border issues between Russia and Latvia, which at least has some sort of standing in international law, still is Treaty of Riga, 1920. Latvia’s claims concern what is de iure its own territory – not that of other State. --Doc15071969 09:42, 29 November 2005 (UTC)


Sorry, Irpen, but my sentence said "surveys show," and that is what surveys show. Besides, your sentence was ungrammatical. --Pēteris Cedriņš 01:13, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

First of all, take a look to what you wrote: "..surveys show that surveys show that most Latvians don't believe that the transferred territory will ever be returned to Latvia." Secondly, I don't understand how the surveys justify the word "return" which means the POV that the justice supreme is based on the 1920 Riga treaty status quo rather than the situation before of after it. Using "return" word means just that. I am sorry, but Russia may claim that it "returned" the territory which it "lost" in the Riga treaty by "reattaching" the district to RSFSR. Who has the ultimate rights to rightfully claim Pytalovo, is not for the Wikipedia's article to decide and therefore, it cannot use the word "return". You are welcome to improve the grammar in my text. --Irpen 01:23, 29 November 2005 (UTC)
Sorry! I was cutting and pasting -- i.e., that was a typo, and I did it hastily because you changed a sentence in a very unreasonable way. Think about it. "Surveys show that people don't like chicken." You would change that to "surveys show that people don't like birds" because mentioning chickens is somehow POV? I do not mind if you fix my typos, but I hope that you can discuss content rather than change the sense of what I have written for no justifiable reason. A survey is a survey -- I would be glad to expand the article and add a section called "sentiment in Latvia" or some such. Maybe that would be best. I can then post the details, including how the questions are asked. Very obviously, Latvians view the territory as lost -- it was lost to Latvia -- that is fact, not POV. Personally, I would love to see details about sentiment in Pytalovo. The last time Latvian TV went there the windows of their vehicle were smashed -- then they were taken to the local FSB office, their footage was erased, and they were chucked across the border. This incident was covered in the "liberal" Russian press. I am not including such things because it is not my interest to start a virtual war with people who apparently have nothing better to do but parse the differences between "annexation" and "liberation" to settle for "control." Permit me to try a metaphor, please -- a little kid gets his throat slit by a bully, and there are children all around him in the playground. Does NPOV mean that we balance the kid who got his throat slit with the bully? No, sorry -- international law says that slitting throats is a no-no. Oh, he didn't get his throat slit -- he got into an altercation? None of the other kids agree. There is no reason at all to aim for a 50/50 view between Russia and Latvia to write an article about the Abrene region. You didn't jump out at Ghirlandajo Furioso when he changed "annexation" to "liberation," but you seem to have a fetish with "returned." You write things like "Latvia, when joining NATO had to officially rescind any territorial claims" for no reason at all, since the article I wrote makes it very clear that Latvia does not make any territorial claims. Who has the ultimate rights? Well, as you say, it is not Wikipedia's place to decide! It is, however, Wikipedia's place to elucidate and illumine the argument. Few counter the facts of the matter, other than Russia, and legal questions are not decided by balancing opinions. The task, then, would be to illustrate what the positions are -- but according to legal norms, not netizen Realpolitik. I started writing this article because I made small changes and they were immediately reverted. Rather than indulging in a revert war, I thought I would provide information on the topic. I attempted to do so by observing NPOV. If you have substantial objections, make them, and if you have serious problems -- state them. But comparing Brittany to Latvia is ludicrous -- Latvia is a sovereign state that was and is a party to specific treaties, just as the USSR was and Russia is, and these are part of the body of what we call international law. In most cases, Russia has taken over the signatures the USSR put to those documents. If you wish to contribute to an expansion of the article on that score, do so. But this is about the region, and the topic of the article ought to include the controversy -- so it is a question of how we limit the article (you certainly do not want to bring the body of international law into the text, do you?!). I think it would be much better if you or those you want to invite to edit added more information about the severed region as it is today, about Russia's position, etc. Simply subtracting from the content or attempting to neutralize a description of what was done, which was clearly illegal except to Stalinists -- not to mention unpleasant, no matter where you are on the political spectrum and no matter what your nationality is, unless you are insane -- is... well, let us call it silly, to be polite. --Pēteris Cedriņš 02:34, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

I did not say anything about pleasant and unpleasant. And I do not object to the mention of the international law's position. My objection is specifically against the word "returned" to Latvia. It's usage adds nothing but a POV. It may rightfully belong to Latvia under the international law. It may belong to Russia too depending of how we interpret these laws and what we make a starting point to consider it fair borders. You are correct that annexation is illegal and there is no need to balance this statement. However, "Return to Latvia" has a meaning which is broader than the legal one. In reality, attaching this area to any of the two countries was and would be a "return" because the History didn't start in 1920. Therefore, I object to using the word "return". I don't care if Latvians were asked in the survey "do you believe the area will return to Latvia?", or "do you believe the area will belong to Latvia?". This is up to those who wrote the survey question. I am sure that Latvians would answer identically to these two questions. However, the word "return" in the text makes a judgement. Latvians may very well feel that the territory is "lost" while Russian may believe that the territory was "returned" as well as the name of the town. Those who chose how to formulate these questions had their judgement and formulated the question accordingly. We, at Wikipedia, cannot make such judgement and should you neutral phrasing. "Belong" or "be part of" is, therefore, more appropriate. Finally, I request you to discuss things in a more collegiate manner. I haven't given you any reason not to. --Irpen 03:14, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

De jure, the area does belong to Latvia. It is not up to you to decide whether people would give the same answer to a different question -- it is you who are making a judgment, one based on nothing but speculation. I will find a survey and translate the question exactly as it was phrased, including it as a direct quote. Would you agree to that? --Pēteris Cedriņš 10:29, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

I disagree with your de facto - de jure approach. It belongs to Latvia de jure only if 1920 Riga is taken as the sole basis to resolve the legal dispute. International law is by far less clear cut than criminal laws or country's conrtituions and also, there is no authority, like the Supreme Court or Constitutional court (Hague has a narrow authority and no enforecement mechanism, UN Security Counsil is anything but a court-like structure). Therefore, your "would ever belong de-facto", which implies that it does belong de-jure should be modified. We either say that it belongs de-jure by Riga, but other interpreations are possible and add Helsinki, as well as the fact the dissolution of the USSR has occured by that time's administrative borders. You could also add the prolonged discussion whether Latvia was actually ever part of the USSR because, on one hand it was occupied, on the other hand it was as much a souvereign republic as the founding republics like Ukraine and Belarus. This discussion would get long and only to justify your "de jure" word. There is no need for these complications. The discussion of complex questions, especially the controversial ones, should be confined within narrow articles. Here, it suffices to say that the region, as well as an entire Latvia was occupied, and that it was transferred from one republic to another.

As for the survey, if you insist on quoting it with the word "return", please add to it that the area is considered "returned" or "to be returned" by both sides for this and that reason. Again, this would necessiate a lengthy discussion which will not add anything to the reader's understanding of the article. --Irpen 18:31, 29 November 2005 (UTC) --Irpen 18:31, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

My response is in the next section. --Pēteris Cedriņš 05:57, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
Noted and responded there too. --Irpen

Ill willed edits, citing ludicrous grounds[edit]

I'd like to kindly ask some users to cease making pointless, ill willed edits, while citing ludicrous grounds.

That Baltic States were occupied by and illegally annexed into USSR is a well known historical fact, mentioned in numerous sources. I'll name two here:

- "The Encyclopedia of World History. 2001." available at online reference site www.bartleby.com

"Ultimatums of June 15, 16, 1940, charged hostile activities; Russia had occupied the Baltics militarily and had arranged for pro-Soviet administrations to request admittance to the Soviet Union." The Baltic States a. Overview

- "Encyclopedia BRITANNICA Online" has a section on the soviet Occupation under History of Baltic States The establishment of independence and the 20th century > Soviet occupation

That some users do not wish to acknowledge certain historical facts, or do not like them mentioned, does not constitute sufficient grounds for calling them POV and removing them.

Likewise, an explanation regarding the de iure/de facto "doubts" was given. Simply put, the title to Abrene district has never legally (pursuant to agreement between both parties) passed from Latvia to Soviet Union or Russia. Thus it de iure still belongs to Latvia while Russia exercises de facto control over it.

The facts regarding collectivisation are mentioned, for instance, by Dominiks Kaupuzs in his letter to Secretary of VKP(b) Malenkov (available at Latvian State Archives, archival reference LVA SPDN, 101.f., 9.apr., 98.l, 124-125.lp), article in Latvian available here.

I'm reverting some of the changes made to this article today, and respectfully ask once again - please cease making pointless edits while stating dubious or plainly ludicrous reasons for doing so.

Thank you! user:Doc15071969

Dear Doc, I explained above that the de facto/de jure rhetoric is not applicable here despite it is correct to say that the Baltic states were occupied. One does not follow from another necessarily. The issue of legality is more complex than endless citing of the Riga treaty as the only thing that matters. We should leave the material about illegal annexation in, but, OTOH, it does not imply that in 2005 the area legally belongs to Latvia. Read above. Finally, the term forcible collectivization says it all. There was nothing particular about collectivization in the area that was different from collectivization in other places. And there is an article for that. You don't mention the involvement of Latvian collaborants in the Holocaust in every Latvia-related article. Similarly, there is no need to try to retell the complex histories within few sentences in every article about every region and every town. If Pytalovo would have been a, say, execution site or a consentration camp for the accused kulaks, this would have been notable for this article. If Pytalovo was a sceene of the events that happened all over the USSR in a similar fashion, there are articles for this info already. --Irpen 23:15, 29 November 2005 (UTC)
References to de facto and de jure are not rhetorical but legal and are very obviously exceedingly relevant to any discussion of the region, the only part of Latvia now administered by Russia. See, for example, Dr.iur., Dr.h.c. Dietrich Loeber, "The Russian-Latvian Territorial Dispute Over Abrene" in The Parker School Journal of East European Law (Vol. 2 [1995], pp. 537–559). Collectivization in the Abrene district was not "just like in the rest of the Soviet Union" because it resulted in the ethnic cleansing and denationalization of an annexed region, and property in the area was not returned to its rightful owners as it was in the areas belonging to Latvia de facto after independence was restored, a crucial issue affecting the region specifically. Besides, it is quite standard for an article on a region to include broader events in the regional context -- articles on American states, for instance, often discuss Indian removal, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War within the state, though these things were certainly not confined to the state. Perhaps an article on the history of Latvia should not include information on russification in Latvia because it happened "all over the USSR"? Collectivization in much of the Soviet Union took place at an earlier date, before the occupation of Latvia, and the effects on demographics vary. The article already links to collectivization, so the broader context was already hyperlinked. In a narrow context, it is germane to the topic to explain the circumstances in which the area was delatvianized. I did appreciate Ghirlandajo's condemnation of "Latvian imperialism" -- I do hope he writes an article on that dastardly entity, "the Latvian Empire"! --Pēteris Cedriņš 05:27, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Peteris, when you say "part of Latvia, administered by Russia" or "de jure Latvian, de facto Russian" you could only mean that the Riga treaty is the ultimate truth. This is not the only factor to decide on the issue. There is a clear administrative Soviet border and the acts of the dissolution where based on these borders. There is also an act of transfer, there is Helsinki too. Besides, there is a RU empire administrative subdivisions and who knows what else.

You may try to impeach an act of transfer based on the fact that it was adopted by Presidium and not by the Supreme soviet. You may also try impeach an entire Soviet period based on the fact that the occupation was illegal, but as I said the international law is not clear-cut. When there is a real-life legal dispute, we go to a court who would solve it. Here, there is no court and yours, mine or any scholars opinion has no authority to decide on it, although I agree that scholar's opinion may be presented.

Russia didn't annex the district. The Soviet Union annexed Latvia. The internal border redrawing afterwards is not an annexation. Russia didn't exist as an international etnity at that time. I am fine when you add background info. But its not OK to use POV terms that imply something disputable as if it isn't. You can preset this info without using "return" or "de jure". This is not, as you put it, an attempt to substitute occupation by liberation in order to settle later for "control". The terms you used were objected to because they were POV.

And finally, Russification does belong to the History of Latvia. It does not belong, however, to the article about every Latvian city. For an example of how not two write articles check the third paragraph of the Kamianets-Podilskyi#History section where the 20th century history of Ukraine is attempted to be told in 2 sentences. Complex issues have to be presented in context. Therefore, collectivization is a great topic for the article but not a theme to punch every time anyone has a grudge towards Moscow. --Irpen

All I can offer is to attempt to expand the article with a discussion of the legal arguments related to the region, and I have no objection at all to a modification of any such expansion to include other POV, of course -- so long as it is reasonable, and not based on concepts like "liberation" and "Latvian imperialism," which are the types of "reasons" Ghirlandajo gives when deleting (talk about a grudge!). You restored his deletions, among other things, and his rationale is far less NPOV than mine. I realize that I have a POV, Irpen (as do you, and as does everybody) and I welcome changes and their discussion so long as they make sense. I would suggest something along the lines of "currently administered by Russia" rather than "control," or that type of phrasing -- the fact is that the 1920 treaty is the most significant document affecting the territory under international law, since we have no border agreement. See Doc's phrasing, above, regarding Helsinki: "Turning" those de facto borders into de iure borders, given legal effect to any transfer of territory, still remained subject to bilateral treaties between the States involved. This is definitely exceedingly relevant to an article about the Abrene district, for reasons I have already given.
Regarding what is appropriate to an article about a locality -- I disagree with you, and not because of a grudge. I live in Daugavpils, which is ca. 15% Latvian ethnically. Russification is different here for many reasons -- the city has always been minority Latvian, though the population has changed drastically (most of the Jews were murdered, and there was a Jewish plurality here for quite some time -- the diminution of the Latvian minority, the influx of Soviet Russians, etc., is not so different). A strong majority of the ethnic Russians is thus descended from pre-war citizens and holds Latvian citizenship by descent (which would be true for Abrene had the original population not been forced out to a large degree and if the area was returned to Latvia -- N.B., that is not an ethnic issue, since many local Russians were "cleansed," not just ethnic Latvians). Most ethnic Russians here are thus Latvian nationals, as were the Russians in the annexed part of Abrene (and as many of those who left for the Latvian SSR are to this day) -- that is an important thing to understand. Daugavpils also has a large Polish population (almost as large as the Latvian population), but the Poles and other minorities, including the Belarusians, etc., were partly russified because minority schools were closed soon after the occupation began. I am giving this as an example of how the local is often unique -- these things are often important to understanding a place (it affects the linguistic environment, the politics, industrialization, etc.) In the case of Abrene, I have given you two very significant reasons why the collectivization, which took place during and after the annexation (and btw, "annexation" is not a POV term, since it is used even when, say, Los Angeles annexes a suburb) is different from what took place elsewhere. Slavery in Louisiana was different from slavery in the South because of the "code noir," inherited from the French, etc. --Pēteris Cedriņš 06:46, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
Ghirlandajo's edits can only be described as vandalism, his revisionism supported only by "dead donkey's ears" -- if he asks for supporting material and is given it, he simply ignores it and reverts. He does not discuss anything on this talk page, and has made not a single constructive contribution to the article. So all I can do is revert. As to "Latvian references" -- those are references, and most are in Latvian (neither Loeber nor Tarulis are Latvian, and the latter two references are to excerpts from Soviet archives, footnoted at the links), published in books by Western historians and in respected publications. If Ghirlandajo has viewpoints to add, let's see -- if all he can do is delete and make baseless accusations, there is nothing to do but revert! --Pēteris Cedriņš 13:30, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
Peter, you forget that Wikipedia is not alt.culture.baltics and you don't chatter with your buds Uno Hui and pas de deux here. Please read Wikipedia:Guidelines, Wikipedia:Vandalism#What vandalism is not and then come back to editing. --Ghirlandajo 14:25, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
Indeed, Ghirlandajo? Sorry, but your "edits" are unreasonable and not in the least bit constructive. These types of polemics are completely out of place here. I am not going to expand the article to list countries which do or do not support Latvia's position on the restoration of independence -- the point is to summarize the conflict within the scope of its relevance to the region. If you wish to make such an expansion, please do so. As Irpen has pointed out, discussion of such themes should be limited in an article restricted to a locality. I already cited a source (in the page history, where you prefer to argue). If you wish to edit by providing other points of view, please do so -- if you merely wish to revert and delete any of my attempts to find neutral language, I will continue to revert to remove your very obvious POV ("liberation," "Latvian imperialism," "irredentism," etc., are all extremely POV -- not to mention downright absurd, since [a] the area was not liberated but devastated [b] there is no such thing as "Latvian imperialism," and [c] there is no irredentism, since the Republic of Latvia has made it crystal clear that it makes no territorial demands, and I made that clear in the article)... meanwhile I will attempt to discuss the continued construction of an article on the region with people capable of serious discussion. --Pēteris Cedriņš 15:14, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
Privet, Ghirlandajo! Your edit has nothing to do with the text, which regards the occupation and not the status of this region in this paragraph. --Pēteris Cedriņš 18:52, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Peter, I make no comment regarding everything else, but I object to using the term "restoration", "return" etc in respect to Pytalovo/Abrene district. I explained it above in details. Thank you. --Irpen 15:17, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Please note that I did not reinstate any form of the word "return" in that passage, Irpen, just as I employed Ghirlandajo's preferred "delatvianized" rather than "russified." Thank you. --Pēteris Cedriņš 15:23, 3 December 2005 (UTC)


The only one consistently and obnoxiously introducing your obviously biased POV, by trying to delete or substitute for speculations facts not to your liking, are you, dear Ghirlandajo. Non-recognition policy whereby most Western democracies adhered to international obligations dating back already to Kellogg-Briand pact and adopted by the International Law Association, in 1934., Budapest Articles of Interpretation to that pact, and refused to recognize as acquired de iure Soviet territorial acquisitions made pursuant to Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, is a widely known and well documented fact of history. Learn to deal somehow with facts not to your liking, get at least a basic understanding of the issue—starting, say, from looking for "non recognition Baltic" on google,—and, most importantly, please cease making pointless, unwarranted edits :)

From «Budapest Articles of Interpretation» to Kellogg-Briand pact:

«“(2) A signatory State which threatens to resort to armed force for the solution of an international dispute of conflict is guilty of a violation of the Pact.

(..)

“(5) The signatory States are not entitled to recognize as acquired de jure any territorial or other advantages acquired de facto by means of a violation of the Pact.

“(6) A violating State is liable to pay compensation for all damage caused by a violation of the Pact to any signatory State or to its nationals.» --Doc15071969 14:36, 4 December 2005 (UTC)


What do the documents, not politicians, say?[edit]

I would suggest that this discussion would go better if we eliminated any "position" where we simply repeat the stated position of either of the current governments (including Putin's donkey ears), and just dealt with the facts. If we want to talk about "historical" inhabitants of an area, how far back do we want to go? There were the Finno-Ugrian tribe before the Balts... there were the Balts all over what is now western Russia before the Russians--Volga is a Baltic, not Russian, word. Much closer to recent times, and to the point in question, the Soviet Union's own documents, unearthed in Russian archives, discuss the Abrene region refering to it as being Latvian and refering to all the place names by their Latvian names. Given the choice between Soviet documents in Russian archives and PR statements by the Russian foreign ministry (or Putin's donkey ears), I would believe the documents first. (And a position that whatever is going on does not apply to Russia because whatever was done was done by the Soviet Union is specious at best. The territory was annexed into the Russian SSR, not some independent Soviet protectorate. Nor has Russia done anything to distance herself from her Soviet past--quite the contrary, but that's another discussion.) Peters 20:50, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Tidbit, 18th century scholarship describes the inhabitants as Russified Latgalians. The recounting of various events between the wars indicates that whether or not the inhabitants were Russophones, they still closely connected to their ancient Latvian heritage. PЄTЄRS J V TALK 17:23, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Map?[edit]

Would it be possible to have a map made of the territories that were lost to the Baltic States from the national borders set out in the 1920 treaties? This would really help in a visual sense. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 210.246.4.30 (talkcontribs).

I agree, and tagged this with {{reqmap}}. Punkmorten 13:35, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Three years later and this article could really do with a map 95.177.127.26 (talk) 11:06, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm, 4 years now. I've been doing some research on the topic and need a good map. Can't promise, but at least in the works. PЄTЄRS J V TALK 17:21, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Viļaka ridge[edit]

Just to be clear, was the district divided by the Soviets along the Viļaka ridge? Did the ridge become the border? It's not clear from the article. Indisciplined (talk) 19:14, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

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