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State Duma to debate statement on Latvia March 23.

March 22, 2012, 14:04 UTC+3

This arouses especial concern,” the draft statement says

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MOSCOW, March 22 (Itar-Tass) — The State Duma, lower house of parliament, will debate a statement on the situation in Latvia at its plenary session on Friday, March 23, State Duma first deputy speaker Ivan Melnikov told journalists on Thursday.

“The issue is submitted to the agenda at the request of [State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Alexei] Pushkov,” Melnikov said.

Earlier, the committee prepared a draft statement, “On Violations of Human Rights in Latvia and Inadmissibility of Nazism Rehabiliation.”

“The latest events in the Republic of Latvia proved that Riga continued to oppose the international community in the field of human rights and the struggle against Nazism,” the draft statement says. “Amidst the Russophobe position taken by the Latvian authorities, who preserved the ‘non-citizen’ status towards most of the republic’s residents, including those who were born in the territory of Latvia, continue the policy to discriminate the Russian-speaking population,” deputies said. “The exclusion from the poll of the considerable part of the Latvian population during the February 18, 2012 referendum on granting the Russian language the status of official state language influenced the results of the voting,” they said.

“Despite Riga’s calls for not politicising history and for revealing historical truth, Latvia’s recent decision to declare Russian historians, whose studies were devoted to World War II, in particular Holocaust, persona non grata violates the right to the freedom of the speech and the exchange of free information,” parliamentarians noted.

They recalled that on March 16, 2012 former soldiers of the Latvian SS Legion had marched in Riga and organised a rally in the cemetery in Lestene. “Incumbent and former political officials of Latvia, including deputies of the Sejm, took part in the parades. This arouses especial concern,” the draft statement says.

“Certain Latvian politicians are trying to rehabilitate crimes by soldiers of the Latvian SS Legion under vain pretexts, to present them as strugglers for independence and urge the young generation to bow the heads to them.” “The Latvian authorities also try to revise the resolutions of the Nurnberg Tribunal that condemned all persons, who were involved in the SS organisation, including Waffen SS,” deputies said. “We express indignation about the insistent attempts to make members of the Nazi criminal organisations heroes,” they added.

“The State Duma position is based on the generally recognised principles and the norms of international law under the U.N. Charter and the U.N. General Assembly resolutions.” “The so-called neo-Nazi day of Latvian legionaries and other events rasp the memory of all servicemen of the anti-Hitler coalition and multi-million victims of SS executioners and their accomplices,” State Duma deputies said.

In this context, “the position of our colleagues from the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and other international organisations arouse bewilderment.” “The absence of unbiased condemnation of the latest events in Latvia will be considered consent to the Latvian authorities’ attempts to rehabilitate fascism and revise the results of World War II,” Duma lawmakers said.

At the same time, they “are committed to strengthening friendly and good-neighbourly relations with all peoples and they are ready to join efforts to develop multilateral cooperation with Latvia for the sake of our peoples and countries.”

On March 16, State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin instructed lawmakers to prepare a statement due to the march of veterans of the Waffen-SS Legion in Riga.

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