“The Governing”, namely “Latvian ethnocrats”, are hiding the fact that the territory of Latvia has actually historically been the land of Slavs, from Russian speaking people. Russians, and “Rusichi”, are not some kind of visitors from the times of Peter the Great. “Actually”, the tribe of Vendi, which is the same Slavic tribe of “Venedi”, has lived here since ancient times.
This type of pseudo-historical reasoning has been occurring in the Russian speaking environment in both written form and amateur video films for about then years, but to date they are circulated in online discussions, various blogs and “Russian World” orientated websites.
“We believe that everybody must stop being misled and must come to the only correct conclusion: different tribes and peoples have inhabited the current territory of Latvia since ancient times, furthermore, it is possible that the most ancient of these tribes was Venedi, namely, a Slavic tribe - Rusichi and Finno-Ugric tribe - Livs. Meanwhile Kuronians and Semigallians, obviously, came here later. (..) Therefore, current day Slavs are not guests of Latvians, but they live in their historical homeland,” a longish essay signed by Jurijs Govorovs and Ivans Pomnjaschijs (most probably alias names, since no signs of the existence of such political or historical persons are available online).
The aforementioned essay was published in the publication “Vesti” several years ago, but its content continues to appear in various profiles on “Facebook”, as well as “LiveJournal”, a blog website popular among the Russian speaking population.
The most ardent representative of this, one could say, alternative history, is the author of several books and video films Igors Gusevs, whose speculations can be read on the website “9may.lv”, not to mention on social media. Gusevs has never hidden the fact that he wishes to view the history of Latvia from the point of view of a “Russian resident of Latvia”, and his writings reflect similar opinions. One of the central theses in this construct, as mentioned earlier, is the idea that the mysterious people of Vendi, which was only mentioned in a couple of sentences in the Livonian Chronicle of Henry describing the 13th century, saying that Kuronians had driven them away from Kurzeme, then from the vicinity of Riga, with the tribe finally settling around Cēsis, is the same as what Venedi mentioned in the works of historians of the Roman and Early Middle Ages periods (it is the ancient name for Slavs).
Since the Venedi, who inhabited large regions of Europe, including the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, are identified as an aggregate of Germanised west-Slavic peoples, and contemporary Russian chauvinist ideologists automatically associate any tribe considered to be Slavic as Russians, the chain of reasoning led to the conclusion that Russians or “Rusichi”, i.e., Venedi, lived in Kurzeme in ancient times, “Founded Riga” and Cēsis. The red-white-red flag, mentioned in “Livonian Rhymed Chronicle”, is, therefore, Russian and even Latvians themselves have arisen from Russians.
“And how can the fact that German knights were called Ventspils and Cēsis “Vendau” (actually - “Windau”- author’s remark) and Venden be explained? These are definitely places, where neither Semigallians nor Kuronians lived; these are the lands of Slavs - Vendi. And they lived there before the arrival of crusaders,” say the essays found online and derivatives thereof that are associated with the name of Gusevs.
Games with toponyms continue by claiming that “Slavic” names include everything in the territory of Latvia that starts with “Ve-” or “Vi-”. Even the names of Riga, Roja and Rūjiena are “Slavic”. This continues endlessly until the conclusion is reached that Venedi/Vendi were a Slavic tribe, who spoke in “Ancient Russian” and “planted the foundation stones of practically all large cities in Europe”.
Speculation that Latvians arose from Russians, that they neither have their own proper flag, nor land, sound in line with the aggressive statements recently voiced on Russian TV shows that “Ukraine is not a country of any kind” and that the “Ukrainian nation does not exist”. For the sake of truth, it must be mentioned that regarding Latvia these ideas have mostly been marginalised to the level of internet discussion, however, these “arguments” tend to be very viable.
Latvian historians, for instance, an archaeologist, Professor Andrejs Vasks and the Director of the Institute of History of the University of Latvia Guntis Zemītis, have previously noted that there are no documents or archaeological finds to support the claims of an “Ancient Slavic State” in the territory of Latvia. Furthermore, the identification of any Slavic tribe or people as Russian is absurd. The belonging of the Vendi tribe to the Western Slavic group of tribes is only one of the hypotheses, because the version that the River Venta gave the name to the tribe of Vendi is no less, or more credible, since they lived in the region around this river.
Archaeological excavations did not provide any evidence of links of Vendi to Slavic cultures, they are rather related to Livs of Kurzeme. This issue was, among others, deliberated on by Professor Vasks in his article “Vendu jautājums Latvijas aizvēsturē” (The Question of Vendi in Latvian Ancient History”), which can be read in Volume 26 of the “Archaeology and Ethnography” journal. Vendi as a tribe, were obviously assimilated among the predecessors of the residents of Vidzeme - Letts during the 13th century.
Guntis Zemītis writes that the phonetic similarity of the ethnonyms “Vendi” and “Venedi” has prompted Russian scientists to voice the hypothesis that Vendi could have already been a Slavic tribe in the 19th century. However, it did not go further than a hypothesis since it is merely a guess that has not been proven. “In fact, we are speaking of a classical demagogical scheme - first, false news appears, then reference to this news as a source follows,” says the head of the Institute of History of the University of Latvia, characterising the attempts of people thinking in line with the chauvinist ideas of great Russia.
Supported by the Ministry of Culture of Latvia