Rudolfs Rubenis is History and philosophy faculty student at Latvias University (LU) and LU  found E.Felsberga memorials scholarships recipient. The research  which scholarship holder is working with, will help us more clearly understand successes and losses of German-Baltic socio-political activities in parliamentary higher education in Latvia (1920-1934), which have so far been contradictory in historiography.The dissertation is being developed by Dr. hist. assoc. prof. Led by Raimonds Cerūžs.

The dissertation on the topic “The Influence of German-Baltic Socio-Political Organizations on Higher Education in the Period of Parliamentary Occupation in Latvia (1920-1934)” is devoted to a new, innovative issue of German Baltic public and political activities the Latvianization policy of the state, negatively influencing the immunity of the autonomy of the University of Latvia against politicization. Kārlis Ulmanis's period of authoritarianism is usually associated with the full Latvianization of higher education, but its elements have already begun to appear during the period of parliamentarism. Although the rectors of the University of Latvia Janis Ruberts and Augusts Tentelis tried to find a compromise in the tense relations between Latvians and Germans by allowing lectures to be given in Latvian, Russian and German, there was no renunciation of the influence of German tolerance in higher education. This also raises the question - how immune was LU in its autonomy against political power?

Aspect 1 of the dissertation is formulated as a question of the autonomy of the German-Baltic school in the context of higher education. The opinions of previous historians (Leo Dribina, Ineša Feldmana, John Haidena, etc.) about Latvia as a “country favorable to national minorities” are being evaluated, in contrast to, for example, Poland, where violent conflicts arose between the state power and national minorities.Undoubtedly, there was no threat of civil war or ethnic violence with brutal repression in the interwar period in Latvia, but Latvian-German-Baltic relations were cold in the meantime, with sharp contradictions, especially between student organizations. The study considers a clearer explanation of how effective the autonomy of German-Baltic schools has been in the context of higher education.

Second aspect is formulated as a possibility for German-Baltic higher education in Latvia, performing an analysis of German-Baltic motivation to study at German universities as an alternative to the Riga Herder Institute. Although my scientific supervisor has researched the history of this institute, finding the fact that the diplomas are of low prestige, so far historiography has not focused on German-Baltic higher education outside Latvia-Germany. It is wrong to consider the Riga Herder Institute as a progress in the policy of Latvian national minorities, because the Latvian Ministry of Education did not recognize it as equivalent to the University of Latvia. Right now a basic database is developed based on the scientific article Possibilities to Obtain Higher Education in Germany for Latvian Baltic German Students (1920-1034). 

This article concludes that, despite the “frozen” language issue in Latvian-German-Baltic relations, the University of Latvia itself could not refuse to involve German-Baltics in Latvian higher education, taking into account their experience and knowledge from the time of the Riga Polytechnic Institute (RPI). At the same time, German-Baltic socio-political organizations, especially student corporations, played a major role in adapting to the current changes in higher education, enabling German-Baltics to obtain higher education in Germany through corporate relations, which was competitive with LU higher education. Research on this aspect is ongoing.

Third aspect is formulated as the impact of German foreign policy on the Baltic Germans in higher education, which manifested itself in the branches of the German-Baltic socio-political organizations (student corporations, political and public organizations) established in Germany, which formed a connecting network between the Baltic Germans in Estonia, Latvia and Germany. In this regard, the observations and opinions of the Political Administration subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior of Latvia, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia regarding the activities of German-Baltic socio-political organizations are assessed. Historiography has extensively studied the impact of German foreign policy on German-Baltic socio-political organizations and their position in higher education, but the two aspects have not been linked. The study will try to synthesize both aspects, revealing a new perspective on the impact of German foreign policy on the Baltic Germans.

In general, it can be said that, compared to the first year of doctoral studies, the second part of doctoral studies has clearly formulated research aspects, which are accompanied by a good research base, making the process of developing the Doctoral Thesis clearer and more peaceful. At present, it is difficult to judge what the result of the Doctoral Thesis will be, because, while working on new publications within the framework of the Doctoral Thesis, active work on the study of archival documents has continued since the first year. Also during the second year, new opportunities appear that help in the development of the Doctoral Thesis, for example, establishing contacts with the Latvian-German-Baltic Cultural Center Domus Rigensis. The introduction of the Doctoral Thesis and the preparation of one chapter based on one of the above-mentioned research aspects are also considered.

Rudolf invites: "I invite other talented, diligent and public master's and doctoral students in the humanities to use the opportunities offered by the LU Foundation in order to achieve long-term success in the future."


About the LU Foundation

Since 2004, the University of Latvia Foundation has provided an opportunity for patrons and cooperation partners to support both the University of Latvia and other leading Latvian universities, thus investing in the future of Latvia. The priorities of the LU Foundation are to support the best students and researchers, to promote the creation of a modern study environment, as well as the construction and reconstruction of university buildings.

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