Declaration of the Supreme Council
of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
on the Restoration of the Independence of the Republic of Latvia
4 May 1990
The independent State of Latvia, founded on 18 November 1918, was granted international recognition in 1920 and became a full member of the League of Nations in 1921. The Latvian nation’s right to self-determination was legally implemented in April 1920, when the people of Latvia gave their mandate to the Constitutional Assembly chosen by universal, equal, direct and proportional elections. On 15 February 1922, the Assembly adopted the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia (the Satversme), which is still in effect de jure.
The ultimatum of 16 June 1940, in which the Stalinist government of the USSR ordered the Latvian government to resign, and the subsequent military aggression of the USSR on 17 June 1940 constitute international crimes that resulted in the occupation of Latvia and the elimination of its statehood. The new government of Latvia was formed by the dictate of the USSR government. In terms of international law, this government was not the executive authority of the sovereign Republic of Latvia, as it represented the interests of the USSR, not those of the Republic of Latvia.
The parliamentary elections of 14 and 15 July 1940 in the occupied Latvia were held under conditions of political terror pursuant to an illegally adopted and unconstitutional election law. Of the seventeen lists of candidates submitted, only the list of the Working People’s Bloc was allowed in the elections. The pre-election platform of the Working People’s Bloc did not include the demand to establish the Soviet power in Latvia or to incorporate the Republic of Latvia into the Soviet Union. Moreover, the election results were falsified.
Thus, the illegally and fraudulently formed Saeima (the Parliament did not represent the will of the people of Latvia. It had no constitutional authority to change the governmental system and abolish the sovereignty of the State of Latvia. Only the people had the right to decide these matters, but no free referendum was held.
Hence, in terms of international law, the incorporation of the Republic of Latvia into the Soviet Union was invalid. Accordingly, the Republic of Latvia continues to exist de jure as a subject of international law, recognised as such by more than 50 countries.
Taking into account the Declaration on the Sovereignty of the Latvian State adopted by the Supreme Council of the Latvian SSR on 28 July 1989; the Declaration on the Issue of the Independence of the Latvian State adopted by the Supreme Council on 15 February 1990, and the Appeal of the All-Latvia Meeting of People's Deputies of 21 April 1990;
Following the will of the residents of Latvia, which was unmistakably exercised by the election of a majority of deputies who in their pre-election platforms had expressed their determination to restore the independence of the Republic of Latvia;
Taking the path towards de facto restoration of a free, democratic and independent Republic of Latvia;
The Supreme Council of the Latvian SSR resolves:
1. To recognise the supremacy of the fundamental principles of international law over national law. To consider illegal the treaty of 23 August 1939 between the USSR and Germany and the subsequent termination of the sovereignty of the Republic of Latvia on 17 June 1940, which was the result of the USSR’s military aggression.
2. To declare null and void from the moment of its adoption the Declaration of 21 July 1940 of the Saeima of Latvia On Latvia's Accession to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
3. To restore the authority of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, adopted by the Constitutional Assembly on 15 February 1922, in the entire territory of Latvia.
The official name of the State of Latvia is the Republic of Latvia, short name Latvia.
4. Until the adoption of the revised Constitution, to suspend the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, except for the articles expressing the constitutional and legal foundation of the State of Latvia, which, according to Article 77 of the Constitution, may only be amended by referendum:
Article 1. Latvia is an independent democratic republic.
Article 2. The sovereign power of the State of Latvia is vested in the people of Latvia.
Article 3. The territory of the State of Latvia, within the borders established by international agreements, consists of Vidzeme, Latgale, Kurzeme, and Zemgale.
Article 6. The Saeima shall be elected in general, equal and direct elections, and by secret ballot based on proportional representation.
The application of Article 6 will follow the restoration of the state authority and administration structures of the independent Republic of Latvia which guarantee free elections.
5. To set a transition period for the restoration of the de facto independence of the Republic of Latvia that will conclude with the convening of the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia. During the transition period, the supreme state authority in Latvia is held by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia.
6. During the transition period, to permit the implementation of those constitutional and other legislative acts of the Latvian SSR that are in effect in the territory of Latvia when this Declaration is adopted, insofar as they do not contradict Articles 1, 2, 3 and 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia.
Conflicts involving the implementation of legislative acts shall be resolved by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia.
During the transition period, only the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia may adopt new legislative acts or amend the existing acts.
7. To form a commission for revising the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia so that it corresponds with the present political, economic and social situation in Latvia.
8. To guarantee citizens of the Republic of Latvia and those of other states permanently residing in Latvia social, economic and cultural rights, as well as political rights and freedoms that comply with the universally recognised international human rights instruments. To apply fully these rights also to the citizens of the USSR who express the desire to continue residing in the territory of Latvia without acquiring its citizenship.
9. To develop relations between the Republic of Latvia and the USSR in accordance with the Peace Treaty between Latvia and Russia of 11 August 1920, which is still in effect and which irrevocably recognises the independence of Latvia in perpetuity. To establish a Government Commission for conducting negotiations with the USSR.
The Declaration takes effect as of the moment of its adoption.
Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Latvian SSR
Secretary of the Supreme Council of the Latvian SSR