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Latvia in the Soviet Union

Latviĭskaâ SSR / Latvijas PSR

Last modified: 2014-03-30 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: latvia | latvian ssr | hammer and sickle (yellow) | star: 5 points (red) | star: 5 points (fimbriated) | riga | visu zemju proletārieši | savienojieties! | rīgas pilsēta | lenin |
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Латвийская ССР / Latvijas PSR

Flag of Latvian SSR in 1953
image by Željko Heimer, 17 Apr 1996 | two-sided
See also:

Description of the flag

The Latvian SSR flag adopted 17 January 1953 was reaffirmed by the Constitution adopted on 28 February 1967, along with a list of places and ways to fly it. This list was expanded greatly by the “Instruction Concerning the Application of the Statute on the State Flag of the Latvian SSR” confirmed May 30, 1967 by decree of the Council of Ministers of the Latvian SSR.
Dave Martucci, 05 Sep 1996, quoting from “Soviet State Symbolism”, a special issue of [tfb] The Flag Bulletin XI:1 (Winter 1972): 138-145

Specs.: stripes unknown!; hammer-and-sickle placement and size unknown! The thin white stripes seems to be due to a heraldic concern — same thing for Lithuania and Estonia, but not for the others…
António Martins, 19 Jun 2001

Reverse of the flag

Back of the flag
image by Željko Heimer, 17 Apr 1996 | two-sided reverse

No hammer, sickle and star on the reverse side.
Mark Sensen, 25 May 1997

Officially reverse looked like obverse without star and hammer-sickle. But in fact I never saw these flags without star, hammer-sickle. Real flags (all 15) usually were either with reverse analogous to obverse (but with star and hammer-and-sickle near the hoist) or with reverse = mirrored obverse.
Victor Lomantsov, 30 Nov 2002

1918 tricolor flag allowed?

flag of independent Latvia
image by Željko Heimer, 8 Apr 2002

I was aware at the time that Mikhail Gorbachev had decided to let Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia fly their 1918 national flags, in addition to their S.S.R. flags.
John Crosby, 23 May 2001

Latvia achieved independence in 1990 by canceling all Soviet legislation between 1940 and 1990.
Dave Martucci, 05 Sep 1996

Coat of arms

The emblem of the SSR was introduced 25 August 1940 (according to Hesmer [hes92]) and replaced by the current one 17 February 1990 (in force 27 February 1990).
Marcus Schmöger, 16 Sep 2001

Golden dense star

soviet latvian CoA
image by Antonio Gutiérrez, 1999

The book [hzg80] shows this design.
Marcus Schmöger, 08 Sep 2001

And so does an official soviet handbook publ. 1980 (SSSR — Administrativno-territorialhnoe Delenie Soûznyq Respublik). Though showing the (not fimbriated, solid golden) star slightly less “dense”.
António Martins, 27 Nov 2002

Red-fimbriated star

soviet latvian CoA
image by Antonio Gutiérrez, 1999

Solid sun

A third variant is depicted in on a cerimonial flag shown in Enciklopedija (Rīga, 1988): The star is plain yellow and only slightly dense (or not at all), and the sun is solid yellow, not transparent.
António Martins, 06 Sep 2003

Riga city flag?

See also: City of Riga, Latvia.

Riga flag (rev.)
image by António Martins and Antonio Gutiérrez,
06 Sep 2003 | two-sided reverse sinister

It’s Riga’s flag under soviet occupation till 1988. It did not begin till 1954 but I’m not sure. Source: Enciklopedija, Rīga, 1988 (in Latvian).
Guy Babonneau, 07 Mar 2001

It is rather a pendon, fixed to a wodden pole (suited for carrying, apparently) with five ribbons and with a golden fringe in the fly; height to width ratio is approx. 11:16; there is a golden vertical criss-cross ornament along the fly on both sides. This flag is scarlet (алый) and not purpure (краповый), comparing the background with the relevant parts of the emblem — it was just photographed too darkly in the source book.
António Martins, 06 Sep 2003

The inscription on the reverse says «Rīgas pilsēta / город Рига», which means "city of Riga" in Latvian and Russian, set in golden fantasy capitals, bellow a depiction of the lavtian RSS emblem.
António Martins, 06 Sep 2003

I have some doubts about this being the pre-1988 flag of Riga: This is a cerimonial banner, suited for indoor or parade display; that the only reference to the city is on the reverse (the “not-main” side); and that there is a vacant space at the bottom of the obverse — a space suitable for the costumary additions. Moreover, all known soviet territorial flags other than SSRs and ASSRs have been always unofficial — I think that this one is not even that.
António Martins, 06 Sep 2003

The obverse (main side)

Riga flag (obv.)
image by António Martins, 06 Sep 2003 | two-sided

The inscription on the obverse is the soviet motto and says «VISU ZEMJU PROLETĀRIEŠI, SAVIENOJIETIES!», which means "Workers of the Wold, unite!" in Latvian, above the black and white iconic image of Lenin’s face (incl. golden laurel branch).
António Martins, 06 Sep 2003

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