William D. Prigge, "Bearslayers: The Rise and Fall of the Latvian National Communists" (Peter Lang, 2015)


In 1959, approximately 2,000 members of the the Latvian Communist Party were purged for "nationalist tendencies." However, the causes of their rise and their fall reached all the way to the Soviet Politburo in Moscow. William Prigge analyzes how "nationalist" communists came to power in the Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic by taking advantage of Lavrentiy Beria's attempts to build his own power base. Prigge then demonstrates how their fall from power was a sign of the forces that led to Khrushchev's ouster within a few years. Bearslayers: The Rise and Fall of the Latvian National Communists (Peter Lang, 2015) delves into the lives and careers of leading Latvian communists and the networks of relationships with each other and the Soviet leadership in Moscow to explore not only their fate but the power struggles taking place in the Soviet Union after Stalin's death in 1953.

William D. Prigge is associate professor and department head for the Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy, Religion at South Dakota State University.

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