25.04.2005 Latvian history in the European Parliament
Brussels, 6 April 2005
To all MEPs and Assistants
Dear MEPs and Assistants,
Recently you will have received two documents concerning Latvia. Firstly the appeal of the Latvian Association of Former Warriors of the Anti-Hitler Coalition (LAKSA) to MEPs which I forwarded for your attention on 31 March, and secondly the response to this appeal from Latvia's other eight MEPs, sent to you on 5 April.
The comments of the other eight Latvian MEPs are misinformed as well as being offensive.
By describing the appeal of these brave old soldiers who stood up to fight fascism as "these lies" and its authors as "so-called" "former warriors"" the eight other MEPs from Latvia do nothing but underline the existence of flagrant injustices on the part of the Latvian authorities and ruling political parties which the members of LAKSA had highlighted in the first place.
The e-mail from the other Latvian MEPs is quite interesting in as much as it demonstrates their attitude towards me.
The personal account from which they sent their strongly worded message belongs to Mrs Inese Vaidere, a former colleague of mine at the University of Latvia during the time of what is described in the letter as the "second Soviet occupation 1944 - 91". We lectured the same students, Mrs Vaidere - on communist ideology whilst I taught mathematics. Nowadays Mrs Inese Vaidere represents the party whose MPs are participating in the Waffen SS veterans march along the streets of Riga while the members of my party are before the court for organising anti-Nazi protests (see photo attached).
As a member of the Latvian Parliament in the period 1990 - 93 I represented the unionists (i.e. those who were not in favour of the immediate dissimilation of the USSR). Over the turbulent period leading to independence and ever since we have consistently sought nothing more than the respect of the basic human rights of the whole population of Latvia. Regrettably, the cornerstone of my political opponents' policy in restoring pre-war Latvia has been the deprivation of the political rights of a quarter of the population.
It is a matter of profound regret that Latvia's other eight MEPs have chosen to respond in this offensive way to an appeal for the recognition of the rights of those who fought to defeat fascism in Europe. We need a more mature, constructive and fair-minded debate than this if we are to continue building a European Union that can celebrate unity in diversity and where the equal rights of all human beings are respected.
Dr Math Tatjana Zdanoka MEP
For Human Rights in a United Latvia.
Brussels, 5 April 2005
To all MEPs and Assistants
Important Message from 8 MEPs from Latvia:
The "appeal" circulated by MEP T.Zdanoka (Vert/ALE) from the so-called ''former warriors'' of the Anti-Hitler coalition conveniently overlooks the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states of 1940-41, that is before the start of the Great Patriotic War (as the Russians call it). This first occupation, when many were assassinated and tens of thousands of innocent people were deported to Siberian labour camps often to a certain death - these mass repressions being carried out by militarized units of the KGB and the Soviet army, was a salutary lesson in what to expect from a second Soviet occupation 1944-1991. The Baltic countries were not under the occupation of any foreign power in 1940 and so liberation can hardly be used as an excuse.
In fact, it was under an agreement of 1939 between Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Nazi Germany that Latvia and the other 2 Baltic States came to be occupied by the Soviets.
The denial of the crimes committed during the years of Soviet occupation and a refusal to admit the historical truth - the policy of Russia and the ''former warriors''', which does not coincide with the memory of those who saw the Soviets not as liberators but as invaders. What should we say about those who stayed for five decades to occupy the country of the people they claim to have liberated - to colonise and oppress them?
It is absurd to believe that the Soviets came to Latvia to liberate us; their intention was to defend and to drive back the Germans and to colonise us. We do not need to remind anyone that the Soviet Union entered the war only after being attacked by its former friend and partner Nazi Germany. For a long time after the end of World War ll, the inhabitants of Latvia were repressed and without due process of law deported to Siberian concentration camps, the culmination being in March, 1949 when 43,231 people were deported and their properties were confiscated and handed over to the Soviet military. Under international law this military personnel should have left Latvia after the renewal of its independence.
As to the facts mentioned in the ''appeal'' we should conclude that it is a demagogic master piece representing an example how democracy and freedom of expression by some people is misunderstood and mixed up with freedom to disseminate shameless lies. It would take too much time to analyse every sentence, but here are few examples of their lies:
Since the Soviet ''warriors'' receive an extra pension from the Russian Federation they are in fact in a privileged situation compared to the average pensioner in Latvia. In Latvia all retired persons are entitled to receive guaranteed state pensions, which are indeed low, and no one is proud of this fact.
In Latvia, the public demonstration of Nazi symbols and of the Soviet flag is prohibited, however no one has ever prohibited these Soviet ''warriors'' from wearing their uniforms or the medals that they received during the Second World War, that led to the occupation of Latvia and destruction of our country, notwithstanding that such Soviet veteran's rights are offensive to those inhabitants of Latvia, who were repressed by the Soviet regime. It is one of the examples of our country's liberal and tolerant attitude towards the Soviet veterans of World War ll.
Regarding the victory day celebration, as Latvian President Vaira Vīķe Freiberga put it, "Latvia, together with the rest of Europe, rejoices at the defeat of Nazi Germany and its fascist regime in May of 1945. However, unlike the case in Western Europe, the fall of the hated Nazi German empire did not result in our country’s liberation. Instead, the three Baltic countries of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania were subject to another brutal occupation by another foreign, totalitarian empire, that of the Soviet Union." May 8th in Latvia has been declared Memorial Day to commemorate the defeat of Nazism and Remembrance Day of the Victims of World War II and May 9th is Europe Day.
By circulating these lies, MEP T.Zdanoka (Vert/ALE), who actively fought for the preservation of the USSR and worked against the re-establishment of the independence of Latvia, has yet again vividly demonstrated her attitude towards everyone in the European Parliament, which on January 13, 1983 adopted the resolution, where the Soviet occupation of the Baltic States was explicitly condemned.
MEPs from Latvia: Georgs ANDREJEVS (ALDE/ADLE), Valdis DOMBROVSKIS (PPE-DE), Guntars KRASTS (UEN), Ģirts Valdis KRISTOVSKIS (UEN), Aldis KUŠĶIS (PPE-DE), Rihards PĪKS (PPE-DE), Inese VAIDERE (UEN), Roberts ZĪLE (UEN)