Happy birthday, Mr. Ulmanis! reflections on the construction of an authoritarian regime in Latvia

Deniss Hanovs, Valdis Tēraudkalns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The authors of the article analyse the ideology of the authoritarian regime which lasted in Latvia from the coup d’état on 15 May 1934 until the beginning of the Soviet occupation on 17 June 1940. A variety of sources (newspapers and books of the analysed period) are used for the article. The birthday celebrations of authoritarian leader Kārlis Ulmanis are used as a case study to show the performative elements of the regime. The authors argue that during the short period of authoritarian rule in Latvia, the new political culture known as authoritarianism was widely supported and popular due to the dominance of the performative and festive practices used by the political elite to establish an ideal model of popular support for the regime. The regime can be defined during these six years as a ‘perpetually festive regime’. The authors show how the Latvian regime was influenced by similar trends of political culture in mass entertainment as the rest of interwar Europe. The glorification of Ulmanis was a central theme in the public activities of the regime and had a quasi-religious character – mutual love of nation and its Leader was proclaimed as the ultimate goal of the public sphere. The regime used the nationalist mythology of the pre-Christian age of mighty and glorious Latvian warriors to reinforce the historical legitimacy of the regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-81
Number of pages18
JournalPolitics, Religion and Ideology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Field of Science*

  • 5.6 Political science
  • 5.8 Media and Communication

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


Dive into the research topics of 'Happy birthday, Mr. Ulmanis! reflections on the construction of an authoritarian regime in Latvia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this