Eduards Berklavs (1914–2004). Berklavs was an uncompromising idealist who started as a dedicated career communist and became an equally staunch supprter of national liberation. Born in a poor family, Berklavs became attracted to leftist causes and was imprisoned for printing illegal publications in the late 1930s. During the first Soviet occupation of Latvia 1940/41 he served the occupants. He left Latvia with the Red Army in 1941 and as a soldier, later officer, fought at various fronts. His career as a communist was capped by studies at the highest Communist Academy in Moscow and the post of Deputy Chairman of the LPSR Council of Ministers.
Worried about Soviet national policies in Latvia, Berklavs and close allies, later known as National Communists, used their offices to stem immigration and russification. He was purged from his posts in 1959 and exiled for 8 1/2 years. Because of his popularity among the people, the Communist Party wanted him to recant his views publically, but he steadfastly refused until his membership was terminated.
In 1972, he succeeded in smuggling to the West an accusation against the regime's policies published widely as the "Letter of 17 Latvian Communists." In 1988, he became a founder and the first chairman of the Latvian National Independence Movement (LNNK), which was among the first to advocate reestablishment of full sovereignty. He served as a deputy in the last Supreme Council of the Latvian SSR, which in 1990 declared independence, and in the first parliament of the renewed Republic of Latvia.