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Saturday, 17 March 2012

Russia Condemns Waffen SS March in Latvia

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.
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.

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