On Tuesday, 27 March, Dr Michael Loader from the Uppsala University’s Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies will give a public lecture titled “Russification vs. Latvianization: The Latvian National Communists and their 1956 Language Law”. The lecture takes place at 14.15 in the UT Social Sciences building, Lossi 36, room 306.
The lecture focuses on the language law introduced in the Soviet Latvia. In 1956, a prominent reformist faction within the leadership of Soviet Latvia, the Latvian national communists, launched an ambitious language law in response to the perceived Russification of language in Latvia. In an effort to restore the primacy of the Latvian language, the national communists created a law enforcing knowledge of Latvian and Russian for Communist Party and government functionaries and service sector employees. This compelled Russians to gain Latvian language competency within a two-year timeframe or face the threat of dismissal. This lecture evaluates the effectiveness of the national communists’ language initiative and asks if it constituted a ‘Latvianization’ programme.
Dr Michael Loader received his PhD in History in 2015 from King’s College London. His dissertation is entitled ‘The Thaw in Soviet Latvia: National Politics 1953–1959’. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow in 2016–2017. He is the Association of the Advancement of the Baltic Studies ‘Emerging Scholar’ for 2017–2018. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Russian and Eurasian Studies. His research interests include nationality politics, centre-periphery relations and the Soviet Baltic. His publications have appeared in the Slavonic and East European Review, Europe-Asia Studies, Nationalities Papers, the Journal of Baltic Studies, and the Journal of the Institute of Latvian History.
The lecture is organized in the framework of the project “Building Research Excellence in Russian and East European Studies at the Universities of Tartu, Uppsala and Kent” (UPTAKE), funded from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.