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Latvian Seym: today, all true patriots celebrate SS legionaries' day

On March 16, the Latvian Seym banished from the agenda the discussion over declaration on condemning of Nazism glorification in Latvia, proposed by left-wing opposition, informs a REGNUM correspondent. Authors of the document think that ban of SS legionaries followers meetings are only forced concession, made because of Western pressure. Opponents of the declaration called it "daub" and it initiators -- "red fascists".

Head of parliamentary fraction of party "For Human Rights in United Latvia" Jacob Pliner said, that by condemning celebration of Latvian Waffen SS legionaries' day, government itself de facto signed the declaration. He said that Seym's voting will demonstrate, if Latvia is really independent state, or if government acted only because of calls from US or EU. According to Pliner, most of the information that the declaration contains are from the book "Latvian History: XX century". Preface to the book is written by Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga. Pliner said, that they propose to abolish glorification of Nazism military support, because Latvia and Estonia are the only countries in Europe, that stand on this position, as stated in declaration of Latvian Legionaries in WWII.

Opponent of the declaration, member of Latvian PACE delegation, MP Juris Dobelis stated that "on March 16 all true patriots celebrate SS legionaries", because the document, proposed by left-wing parties contains only information about Nazi responsibility for WWII, and nothing about Communist actions. Also, according to Dobelis, the declaration says nothing about rebirth of Nazism in Russia that is a grave problem in the country - successor of USSR. He concluded that authors of the declaration do not know enough about history, as well as about ethics.

As a result, the Latvian Seym banished the question from the agenda with 60 votes for and 20 against.

by blackhawk on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 07:24:10 PM EST
Some encouraging words from the All About Latvia blog

This is the first time in our memory, the foreign ministry came out against the March 16 demostrations before the event. Perhaps, the European spirit of tolerance and mutual understanding is contageous. Perhaps the popularity of those groups will not pass any significant number.

Pseudo-patriots were quick to respond. Calling everyone who opposed them an agent of Soros Foundation, or Russia, or whatever other enemy they'd be able to find, they will march on.

While we're for the freedom to express one's opinions, it appears to us the best interests of the public and society as a whole are best served if no demostrations take place on March 16.

(I note though that the foreign ministry statement includes the standard CEE right-wing trick of equating right- and left-wing extremists.) The blog entry just before is a longer piece on the issue  - I'll quote it without comment in full as a Latvian opinion (with potential biases all theirs) and more detailed background piece.

It's less than a month away, but it is already all over the news.

March 16 is almost upon us. The holiday commemorates March 16, 1943, when the Latvian SS legionnaires unit was established the day when two Latvian volunteer conscript divisions fought the Soviets side by side (thanks to Simpsonite for showing the error of my way). From the comments section: "Between March 16th and 19th, 1944 ... was the first time both divisions fought side by side for a hill near Velikaya river. It was the only battle in the whole war when units from both divisions fought together under Latvian command."

The volunteer unit fought, hoping to drive out the Soviet occupiers. More than 50,000 of the 140,000 Latvian legionnaires died in the losing cause.

In the recent years, the day was marked by marches to remember those who died defending their country under the banners of the Nazi Germany. It stretched the limits of peace in the country. At first, even political leaders, such as prime minister, laid flowers at the Freedom Monument in Riga. But due to much political pressure, the commemoration is now set aside for the very patriotic organizations.

And the veterans themsevles no longer participate.

Some of the previous years' marches resembled political mastrubation from now-party Visu Latvijai (All For Latvia). They were self-serving in nature and when done in public, a bit disturbing.

For the last few years, every year on March 16, Latvian uberpatriots march in Riga and the Western Latvian city of Liepaja. Every year, Russian uberpatriots march to protest against the new found spread of fascism in the Baltic states. Russian TV arrives. Takes the footage. Viewers in Russian cities watch what those Balts think of the grandpappy who died in World War II. The Russian government becomes irate and says that a EU member state should not allow Nazis have any liberty to demonstrate. And eventually, we forget about it.

That happens every year. And it was about to happen this year.

Nacionālā spēka savienība, or Union of Nationalist Forces, plans to march in Liepaja this year. Their opponents, the banned Latvian National Democratic Party, along with the pro-Russian party "For Human Rights in United Latvia", will stage a counter-march against fascism on the same day. Here is the advert for the march.

Patriotic Klubs 415 posted the following on its Web site. 16.martā tiekamies Kluba 415 rīkotajā gājienā! Dosimies no Okupācijas muzeja līdz Brīvības piemineklim, lai godinātu latviešu karavīrus - leģionārus. Pulcēsimies zem latviešu karogiem! English: Let's meet for a march organized by Klubs 415 on March 16. We'll march from the Museum of Occupation to Freedom Monument to honor Latvian soldiers, the legionners. Let's gather under the Latvian flags.

We smell patriotism. And it smells bad.

Visu Latvijai decided not to participate in the March 16 demostrations. A political party vying for a few seats in the next parliamentary elections in October cannot just cast voters aside and continue to participate in this self-serving nonsense.

"Not to give in to provocation to the unfriendly forces," that's how Visu Latvijai motivated its decision. However, the leadership still wants to provide a "security corridor" near the Freedom Monument in downtown Riga. As Diena's Askolds Rodins said yesterday, police should be able to provide security. It's not a job of a political organization.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 04:59:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually the blogger is an expat in the USA.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:01:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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