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MOSCOW, February 29 (Itar-Tass) —— Pronouncements of the Latvian president about Waffen-SS do not present Latvia as a democratic state and are not conducive to development of relations with Russia, Alexander Lukashevich, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said on Wednesday, commenting on Andris Berzins’ words that former Latvian Waffen-SS legionnaires were not criminals and deserve to be bowed to.
“Regrettably, it should be noted that Riga’s ingrained striving for a ‘historic revenge’ does nothing to show present-day Latvia as a democratic state and to promote the development of its relations with Russia,” the diplomat said.
“The attempts to justify the crimes of the Latvian volunteer SS legion against peaceful population of the Novgorod and Pskov regions and Belarus and in the Riga ghetto are sacrilegious and amoral and naturally cause profound indignation in Latvia and abroad,” Lukashevich said. “This means ostentatiously ignoring the resolution of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly about the impermissibility of encouraging escalation of contemporary forms of racism and xenophobia and the report of the European Commission on the fight against racism and intolerance, which express serious concern over glorification of the Nazi movement, of former Waffen-SS members and local collaborationists,” he said.
“Moreover, the attempts to whitewash Hitler flunkeys are accompanied with brazen allegations that the Soviet authorities back in 1955 rehabilitated former SS men,” the foreign ministry spokesman noted.
In this connection Lukashevich recalled that the September 17, 1955 decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet is not about rehabilitation but about amnesty of Soviet citizens who, during the Second World War, out of cowardice or lack of conscience, got involved in collaboration with the occupiers. The decree also says that the amnesty does not apply to participants in punitive operations convicted of murder and torture of Soviet citizens.