Russia blasts Latvia for blasphemy over WWII statements

Veterans of the Latvian Legion, a force that was part of the Nazi German Waffen SS, walk with relatives to the Monument of Freedom as part of an annual commemoration.( AFP Photo / Ilmars Znotins  )
Moscow has labeled Latvian President Andris Berzins’s statements that there were no winners in the Second World War “blasphemous.”

“Claims that there were no winners in WWII are bewildering,” Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich stated.

Such rhetoric, he noted, runs counter historic reality and is a “blasphemy” against Soviet people and their allies in the Anti-Hitler coalition, “who liberated the world from fascism.”

Earlier in July, Berzins came up with the initiative of reconciliation between former Waffen-SS fighters and Anti-Nazi veterans and addressed both with a letter.

According to the Latvian leader, the reconciliation is only possible “if we agree that” it was the “criminal” Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between the USSR and Nazi Germany that led to WWII, which the Latvian people were “mercilessly” drawn into.

“There were no winners in that war. It was the biggest crime against humanity ever,” the letter read, as cited by Delfi.lv news portal.

Berzins underlined, though, that that he was not attempting to impose the reconciliation on veterans artificially. Neither was he trying to rewrite history.

Moscow said it certainly took note of the Latvian leader’s “conciliatory initiative.”

“Yet again we have to draw the Latvian authorities’ attention to the destructive nature of attempts to review the results of WWII, as well as of the Nuremberg Trials which condemned the SS (Schutzstaffel) as a criminal organization,” Lukashevich told reporters.

Russia expects Berzins’ statements to receive appropriate assessment from Latvia’s partners in the EU, at international institutions and veteran organizations, the diplomat added.