March 19, 2009 (the date of publication in Russian)

Mikhail Demurin


Russian law on counteraction to rehabilitation of Nazi criminals may clarify the relationships with Riga

Meetings in memory of Lettish SS legionnaires, which took place on March 16 in Latvia, clear out that the country's political establishment isn't going to swerve from the direction of rehabilitation of the Nazi and their accomplices and will try to impose a perverted version of history on Latvians and other nations again and again. And more, they will have no aversion either to lie – about present plans and actions as well as about historical events Ц or to repressions of dissidents, who are now presented by anti-fascists.

But who are called heroes in modern Latvia? Those ones, who began to annihilate peaceful citizens of non-Latvian nation since June 22, 1941. Those ones, who realized Holocaust on the territory of Latvia. Those ones, who humiliated Latvians, who had left, anti-fascist views. Those ones, who were guilty in military crimes not only on the territory of the former USSR, but also in Central Europe. Latvian chastisers, who burned whole villages, killed women, old men and children, will never be forgotten in Russia, especially in Pskov region, in Belarus, in Lithuania and in eastern regions of the very Latvia. This all was done by units and elements which were included in Latvian Waffen-SS legion Ц "defense league", "security crews", police battalions, "resting" detachments of Latvian SS forces divisions. (Facts can be found here. Information is given in Russian).

It's clear that Latvian government's policy, contributing to "glorification" of Latvian SS legionnaires is an insult to every victim of Nazism and to everyone who fell on the field of battle with German Nazi regime and its allies. But what's dangerous: young Latvian generation is brought up among all this propaganda. These young people are formed almost the same way as homunculus freaks were created in the Dark Age: they were put into small boxes or vessels, which prevented them from normal development. But Latvian youth is formed not to amuse the crowd, but for future realization of all their anger against Russia installed into their heads now. We must always remember about this danger. But at the same time we must be sympathetic to these "moral freaks": they are fooled and set against those, who kicked Nazi, kicked them hard and will do it again if needed.

The government tries to spread the idea that Latvian "fighters for freedom" didn't withstand Anti-Hitler coalition, but only fought against the USSR, to rehabilitate "veterans" who served the SS unit, which was condemned as a part of criminal SS organization during Nuremberg Trials. At the same time they allege that the Republic of Latvia is not a new independent state, but a development of an old one, which existed in 1941-1945. This, in combination with justification for actions of people who swore an oath to Hitler, with foundation of monuments to Nazi and their allies, with the permission to use state symbols in their activities, with the establishment of a higher pensions and benefits to former SS legionnaires, with the creation of juridical base for the demolition of monuments to Soviet soldiers and with the ban of symbols of the winner-county (the USSR) gives the Russian Federation all the reasons to use its right of the UN cofounder to examine the question of equating Latvia to an "enemy state" according to the Charter of the United Nations, with all the consequences.

I'll remind, that the Article 107 of the UN charter says: "Nothing in the present Charter shall invalidate or preclude action, in relation to any state which during the Second World War has been an enemy of any signatory to the present Charter, taken or authorized as a result of that war by the Governments having responsibility for such action". And more, coercive actions in relation to such an enemy state, according to Article 53, can be undertaken without getting permissions from the UN Security Council.

The rehabilitation of Nazism, Nazis and their accomplices in Baltic countries must be counteracted sequentially and systematically. Russian state and official public policy must play the leading role in that. It needs a new "toolbox", as what we already have is proved to be ineffective. Federal law "About the Russian Federation's measures to withstand the rehabilitation of Nazism, Nazi criminals and their allies in new independent states Ц former republics of the USSR", the project of which is being prepared in the Committee for the Commonwealth of Independent States and Relations with Compatriots in the Duma (Parliament), is expected to become this new valid tool.

But, definitely, this activity shouldn't only be embodied in condemnation and necessary reprisals. It must also bear a positive charge of historical truth Ц the truth about those Latvians, Estonians, Lithuanians, who participated in the fight against Nazi aggression heroically, who not only saved Baltic nations from annihilation (which would definitely take place in case Hitler won), but also saved honor and dignity of Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian nations, giving them right to be proud of their contribution to this worldwide victory.

And in conclusion. Efforts only on the state level are not enough. All the society, all nations must take part in assertion of historical truth and light memory of the fighters against Nazism.

About the author:

Mikhail Demurin is the Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the II class, former Russian Envoy to Latvia, now a political expert and commentator

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