The CTAG Helsinki-86 was founded in July, 1986 in the Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

n port town of Liepāja
Liepāja ; ), is a republican city in western Latvia, located on the Baltic Sea directly at 21°E. It is the largest city in the Kurzeme Region of Latvia, the third largest city in Latvia after Riga and Daugavpils and an important ice-free port...

 by three workers: Linards Grantiņš, Raimonds Bitenieks, and Mārtiņš Bariss. Its name refers to the Helsinki Accords
Helsinki Accords
thumb|300px|[[Erich Honecker]] and [[Helmut Schmidt]] in Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe held in Helsinki 1975....

 and the year of its founding.

Helsinki-86 was the first openly anti-Communist organization, but also the first openly organized opposition to the Soviet regime, in the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, setting an example for other ethnic minorities' pro-independence movements .

Role in the "Singing Revolution"

Helsinki-86 was an important early actor during the "Singing Revolution
Singing Revolution
The Singing Revolution is a commonly used name for events between 1987 and 1991 that led to the restoration of the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania...

" in Latvia, during which the country regained its independence from the USSR.

By the beginning of 1988, there were nearly twenty members of Helsinki-86. The most prominent among them, aside from the founding members were Rolands Silaraups, Konstantins Pupurs, Juris Vidiņš, Juris Ziemelis, Alfreds Zariņš, Heino Lāma, and Edmunds Cirvelis. By mid-1988, some of the most active members had been expelled from the USSR by the Soviet authorities.

On June 14, 1987, the group organised the first peaceful anti-Communist demonstration with a customary placing of flowers at the base of the Freedom Monument
Freedom Monument
The Freedom Monument is a memorial located in Riga, Latvia honoring soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence . It is considered an important symbol of the freedom, independence, and sovereignty of Latvia...

  in the Latvian capital, Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

. This event marked a turning point the rebirth of national courage and self-confidence in Latvia.

On August 23, 1987, the group organized a protest demonstration against the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

, which among numerous other historical events resulted in the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940
Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940
The Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940 refers, according to the European Court of Human Rights, the Government of Latvia, the State Department of the United States of America, and the European Union, to the military occupation of the Republic of Latvia by the Soviet Union ostensibly under the...

, during the administration of Latvian President and Prime Minister Kārlis Ulmanis
Karlis Ulmanis
Kārlis Augusts Vilhelms Ulmanis was a prominent Latvian politician in pre-World War II Latvia during the Latvian period of independence from 1918 to 1940.- Education and early career :Ulmanis studied agriculture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and...

. Historically, on November 18, 1987, Latvian Independence Day was celebrated for the first time since 1940.

On March 25, 1988 the group called for the Latvian people to gather by the Freedom Monument in Riga to commemorate the victims of Soviet terror. On that particular day, it became evident that the pro-independence leadership began a gradual transition of influence from Helsinki-86 to moderate Latvian Communists
Communist Party of Latvia
Communist Party of Latvia was a political party in Latvia.- Latvian Social-Democracy prior to 1919 :The party was founded at a congress in June 1904. Initially the party was known as the Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party . During its second party congress in 1905 it adopted the programme of...

 and nationally prominent figures, who openly invited Latvian citizens for the first time to come en masse to a different Riga location: the Cemetery of Fallen Soldiers
Brothers' Cemetery (Riga)
The Brothers' Cemetery or Cemetery of the Brethren , also sometimes referred to in English as the Common Graves or simply as the Military Cemetery, is a military cemetery and national monument in Riga, capital of Latvia....


On June 14, 1988, for the first time since the Soviet occupation, the group openly carried the Latvian national maroon-white-maroon flag
Flag of Latvia
The national flag of Latvia was used by independent Latvia from 1918 until the country was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. Its use was suppressed during Soviet rule. After regaining its independence, Latvia re-adopted on February 27, 1990 the same red-white-red flag.Though officially adopted...

 through the streets of Riga.

Since independence

A political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 based on the Helsinki-86 organization was officially registered in 1998. It was unsuccessful in the elections for Latvia's Saeima
Saeima is the parliament of the Republic of Latvia. It is a unicameral parliament consisting of 100 members who are elected by proportional representation, with seats allocated to political parties which gain at least 5% of the popular vote. Elections are scheduled to be held once every four years,...

(parliament) later that year, as well as in the 2001 municipal elections.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.