Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned the controversial commemoration of Latvian troops who fought on the side of Nazi Germany during World War II, which took place earlier on Friday in the Latvian capital Riga.
“Odious demonstrations by soldiers on whose conscience are numerous crimes were held against the backdrop of a mass propaganda campaign organized by the Latvian authorities to whitewash these so-called ‘fighters for Latvia’s freedom,’” the ministry said in a statement.
“A flagrant attempt to revise the truth about Nazi atrocities, to review the rulings of the Nuremberg Tribunal that condemned SS members cannot but cause indignation,” it said.
The ministry called on the international community to react to the attempts of the Latvian authorities to “rewrite history.”
Hundreds of Waffen SS veterans and their supporters held a march in the Latvian capital Riga on Friday to mark Legionnaires’ Day, which commemorates Latvians who fought for the Germans during World War II.
Latvian President Defends Event
Anti-fascist organizations all over the world decry the controversial event; but the annual holiday has its defenders, including Latvian President Andris Berzins, who has argued it is foolish to assume that Waffen SS veterans were criminals and that they deserve the public's respect.
A group of people, some dressed as Nazi concentration camp prisoners, gathered at Freedom Monument to protest the march.
Riga’s Duma had voted to ban the event, which honors veterans of the SS Latvian Legion but a court overturned the ban.
The Latvian Legion, formed by the Nazis in 1943, comprised two Waffen SS divisions.
UPDATE: Click here to read the … sympathetic … practically pro-Nazi … Reuters report on the perfidious parade. Where is the outrage? Why does Latvia honor Nazi murderers? Read more here.
From Bitburg to Riga
Fascism has been rearing its ugly head in Latvia for several years. In July 2010, for example, a Latvian court approved a Riga March celebrating Hitler’s 1941 Invasion. Police banned the event; but it went ahead with a wreath-laying at Riga’s Liberty Monument to celebrate the Nazi army’s arrival and warm welcome.
Speaking of wreath laying, click here to read about the Bitburg controversy--President Ronald Reagan's disturbing visit to the graves of Nazi soldiers killed in World War II. Reagan (who avoided combat during the War and lied about his service) defended his decision by drawing an obscene analogy between U.S. WWII soldiers and Nazis. He also tacitly compared the victims of the Holocaust with its perpetrators. Reagan's sickening stunt was condemned by the organized Jewish community--and warmly welcomed by the Republican Party's rightwing network of Eastern European emigre organizations, which included fascists, racists, Nazi collaborators and actual Nazi war criminals.