The Inspēters from Vidzeme in Ufa Province

The Inspēters family - Vilhelmīne, Dāvids, Žoržs and Ēvalds – in Bashkiria, 1932

Ēvalds Inspēters’ grandmother Katrīne Andže, affectionately called Grosīte – was born and died in Latvia, but lived the greater part of her life in the Latvian colony in Bakaldyn, Bashkiria, 1939


Ēvalds Inspēters was born in 1926 in Bashkiria, in the Ķereklu village in Bakaldyn. In the late 19th century many Latvian families, including the Inspēters from Vidzeme, moved to Ufa Province where they could get land. Ēvalds’ father Dāvids was born in Trikāta, Latvia, while his mother Vilhelmīne was born in Bashkiria . There were three children in Vilhelmīne and Dāvids Inspēters family – twins Ēvalds and Žoržs, and their sister Milda.

Unfortunately, the prosperity of the industrious Latvians was terminated by the collectivization introduced in Russia in the 1930s. Latvians, used to living in individual farmsteads, had to get used to life in a village, working in collective farms, but this was nothing compared to the terrible events of 1937–1938, when during the period of repression by Stalin, a majority of the men were arrested for no reason and murdered. They included Ēvalds’ father, his mother’s three brothers, his grandfather’s brother and his sons. After this tragedy and the closure of the Latvian school in 1938, Ēvalds Inspēters, aged 12, began working to survive. At first he sawed wood in the forest, then drove cattle from Archangelsk to Magnitogorsk, 300 km away, over the Ural Mountains.

Cousins Ēvalds Inspēters and Leons Andžs serving in the army in 1949. Ēvalds Inspēters served in the post-war years as well, until 1950.

In Latvia for the first time

At the age of 16, Ēvalds began to work at the Consumer Society, and did so until 1943 when he was drafted into the army. Ēvalds Inspēters visited Latvia for the first time as a Soviet army soldier,  and now remembers:

On my first time in Latvia I was in Daugavpils, and entered from the direction of Rēzekne. I thought: “What sort of Latvia is this? I went to Latvian school, but I can’t converse!” They speak differently in Latgale. I didn’t know that and thought: “Either I’m not a Latvian, or they aren’t Latvian?!” Then I found some people who knew how to speak both Latgallian and Latvian, and we started to talk. I got used to it, and there’s nothing wrong with it!

From Bakaldyn to Sigulda

Vera and Ēvalds Inspēters' wedding at Sigulda Church in 1955

While Ēvalds was in the army, Ēvalds’ mother Vilhelmīne and her sister Milda had returned from Bashkiria to live in Sigulda. Eventually Ēvalds Inspēters joined them, and became a citizen of Sigulda instead of Bakaldyn, working both as a security guard and a building worker. Ēvalds Inspēters’ longest period of employment, 36 years, was at the Sigulda Utilities Centre. Ēvalds’ wife Vera is a Latvian from Bashkiria, and moved from Bakaldyn to Sigulda with her parents in the 1950s. Ēvalds’ and Vera’s three children – two daughters and a son – were also born in Sigulda.