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Today is part II on my visit to the Museum of Occupation.  You can read Part I here.

The museum was one of the highlights of my trip to Riga.  It was very moving.  It’s hard not to be moved.  Especially when you see things like this:

Museum of Occupation, Riga, LatviaThe museum offers visitors a glimpse into what it is like to be occupied.  Here it is in a nutshell – it ain’t pretty.

Latvians were first occupied by the Soviets.  It didn’t go well.  When WWII started and the Nazis conquered the Baltics, many Latvian people cheered.

Museum of Occupation, Riga, LatviaThey felt they were given freedom from Soviet occupation.  Of course, Nazi occupation didn’t go well either.  Occupation is occupation.  It never goes well for those occupied.

The Soviets returned and continued with their own occupation of Latvia and the Baltics and started what was called Sovietization.  This essentially means changing the people, culture, and everything else in an occupied land in foundational ways to be more Soviet like.  It means destruction of the people and culture that exists already.  It’s extremely damaging.

One of the best parts of the museum is the story of this Sovietization.  It’s really a story of how to occupy a country and effectively change it.  It’s a sad story, but one that I hope we never forget.

I took a few photos of some of what I thought were interesting panels on how the Soviets changed specific aspects of Latvian culture and people.  These are well worth reading.

Museum of Occupation, Riga, Latvia Museum of Occupation, Riga, Latvia Museum of Occupation, Riga, Latvia Museum of Occupation, Riga, LatviaAnd no visit to the museum would be complete without seeing some propaganda – so here it is:

Museum of Occupation, Riga, LatviaThe Museum of Occupation of Latvia was a great way to end my three-day trip to the Latvia and Lithuania.  I had an amazing journey there – something I will cherish for my entire life.

Up next for the travel portion of the blog – some recent local trips in Finland.