Forest Brethren

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Forest Brethren


Latvian partisans during the Revolution of 1905–07; they were directed by revolutionary Latvian Social Democrats.

The movement unfolded after the December armed uprisings of 1905. The Forest Brethren movement reached its peak in the summer of 1906. Groups of Forest Brethren consisted of former members of volost (small rural district) administrative committees and people’s militia who had hidden in the forests from the punitive expeditions of the tsarist government. Supported by the peasantry, they repelled the attacks of the army and battled against German barons. They set fire to manorial estates, arranged political meetings, disseminated revolutionary appeals, closed down taverns, and attacked volost administrative units. In Courland Province alone from January to November 1906 the partisans carried out about 400 actions. Groups of Forest Brethren were in operation up to December 1906, when by decision of the Social Democrats of the Latvian region they were eliminated because of the retreat of the revolution.


Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 13, pp. 374–76.
Lenin, V. I. Ibid, vol. 14, pp. 4–8.
Revoliutsiia 1905–1907 gg. v. Latvii: Dokumenty i materialy. Riga, 1956.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Indeed, "Fear and Desire" unfolds in the year 1946, when drunken Russian officers terrorized the countryside, when their local henchmen, the Estonian communists, were busy deporting Estonian farmers to Siberia, thus effectively destroying private farming, and when bloody encounters between Soviet security forces and the armed Estonian underground ("the Forest Brethren") were commonplace throughout the country.

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