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Kārlis Ulmanis

President of Latvia, 1936-1940

 

Ulmanis

Kārlis Ulmanis was born on 4 September 1877 in Pikšas farmstead, Udze parish, Dobele district. He received the basic education in Bērmuiža Elementary School, then in Alexander School in the city of Jelgava, and in the Jelgava Non-classical Secondary School. In 1896, he quit the Jelgava Non-classical Secondary School and went to East Prussia to study at Tapiava (currently Gvardeysk) Dairy Farm School. In 1897, he worked as a dairy farm manager at Krāsotāju Street, Riga. In 1902, he held dairy farm courses in Bērmuiža jointly with J. Bergs. From 1902 to 1903, he studied at the Federal Polytechnic School of Zurich, Switzerland. Between 1903 and 1905, he studied agriculture in the Agricultural School of Leipzig University, holding several dairy course programs in Latvia at the same time.      

On 21 December 1905, he was arrested and put in prison in Pskov for his taking part in the revolution of 1905. He was released from prison in 1906 and then migrated to New York (USA) in 1907. He was studying agriculture in a number of US-based college-type schools, and he became an economic business manager and a lector in Nebraska University. When amnesty for the revolutionaries of 1905 was announced in Russia in March 1913, K. Ulmanis returned to Latvia and worked as an agronomist in the Baltic Farmers’ Association in Valmiera, as an instructor in the Riga Central Committee of Agriculture and as an editor of the Baltic Farmers Association magazine „Zeme” („Land”) within the period from 1914 to 1916. In 1916, he was elected to the Committee for Baltic Latvian refugees support as a Member of Board. In March 1917, he was elected to the Vidzeme Temporary Land Council and as an interim Deputy Commissioner of the Vidzeme province in April. He took part in the foundation of the Latvian Farmers Union.     

On 17 November 1918, he was elected Prime Minister of the Latvian People’s Council. On November 18, the Latvian People’s Council entrusted him to set up the government. He took the office of Minister of Agriculture from November 18 to December 19. He took a position of Prime Minister from 19 November 1918 to 13 July 1919. In January 1919, a part of the provisional government headed by K. Ulmanis emigrated. In order to safeguard the statehood of Latvia, they appealed for support to governments of Denmark, Sweden, and Estonia. 

He was the Minister of Agriculture within the period from July 14 to September 4, 1919 and subsequently the Prime Minister from 14 July 1919 to 8 December 1919. In September 1919, an assassination attempt against K. Ulmanis failed. He was the Minister of Defence from 16 October 1919 to 11 June 1920, and he was the Prime Minister and the Minister of Security from 9 December 1919 to 11 June 1920.    

On 11 April 1920, the second assassination attempt against K. Ulmanis followed. From 12 June 1920 to 18 June 1921, he was the Prime Minister again. On 27 April 1921, he was assaulted again for the third time. On 18 June 1922, the Cultural Fund was established on the initiative of K. Ulmanis. On 28 February 1925, he was awarded the Order of Three Stars, class I. 

From 24 September 1925 to 6 May 1926, he was the Prime Minister. From 7 May to 18 December 1926, he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Between 27 March and 5 December 1931 and between 17 March and 15 May 1934, he was the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was the Prime Minister from 18 May 1934 to 20 June 1940. On 15 May 1934, K. Ulmanis organized a coup. The period of his authoritarian power began in Latvia since that time. On 11 April 1934, he took over the position of State President and Prime Minister and declared himself as the Leader of the people. 

n 1937, he established the Motherland Prize. He was honoured with the higher-class award – Order of Three Stars on 11 August 1938.   

On 21 July 1940, he devolved the leader’s power on A. Kirhenšteins. On 22 July 1940, he was deported to USSR. He got to Moscow on 23 June 1940.

Within the period from 29 July 1940 to May 1941, he was in exile and resided in a specially prepared mansion in the city of Voroshilovsk. On 4 July 1941, Soviet Power arrested K. Ulmanis for his counter-revolutionary activity against the international Communist movement and put him to the internal prison of the National Security Bureau in Ordzhonikidze region. On 8 September 1942, he was delivered to Krasnovodsk, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic, where he was hospitalized to prison hospital on 14 September 1942.He died in the Krasnovodsk prison on 20 September 1942. According to witnesses, he was buried in the Krasnovodsk cemetery.