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UNITED NATIONS, March 18. /TASS/. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon supports people’s right to assembly but condemns any open expression of support for the Nazis and the crimes they committed during World War Two, United Nations Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.
"The Secretary General supports the right to assembly, I think he would condemn any outward support for Nazis and the crimes committed by the Nazis," he said when asked by TASS to comment on reports on the march of Waffen SS veterans in Latvia’s capital city Riga. He added however that he had not seen these reports.
Russia’s State Duma lower parliament house on Friday adopted an appeal to the parliaments of the member countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) calling on them to condemn Latvia’s sanctioning a march of the Latvian Waffen-SS Legion veterans in Riga as another attempt to rehabilitate Nazism.
"The State Duma calls on the parliaments of the OSCE member states to condemn the activities of the Latvian authorities, which, as a matter of fact, are siding with former SS veterans and their supporters, and to pool efforts to defend the ideals millions of soldiers of the anti-Hitler coalition gave their lives for during World War Two," the document says. "In the year of the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials verdict, this call is ringing as an alarm-bell, as a warning of the lessons of the war."
On March 16, Riga, the capital city of a European Union state, which "in words shares the ideals, goals and principles of the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), including in the sphere of the fight against neo-Nazism in all its forms and manifestations, hosted another march of former servicemen of Latvian units of Waffen SS who fought against the anti-Hitler coalition," the document says. These commemorative events involved not only former SS officers but also their "spiritual successors from among activists of marginal neo-Nazi and nationalist parties and movements from the Baltic states, as well as representatives of Latvia’s parliamentary parties, which fact causes serious concern."
"Such cynical action insulting the memory of five million victims of SS chastisers became possible only with acquiescence of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Latvia is a member of and with indirect support from those European and United States politicians who are seeking to use the political heritage of Nazism in their time-serving anti-Russian goals," the Duma said in the document.
The Latvian Legion was a formation of the Waffen-SS during World War II created in 1943 and consisting primarily of ethnic Latvian soldiers. The legion consisted of two divisions. After Latvia stopped being part of the Soviet Union, March 16 for several years remained an official remembrance day. However, after a march of SS-men through the center of the Latvian capital caused outrage in Russia and in the West, the decision was made to delete it from the list of commemorative dates.
The United Nations General Assembly annually passes a Russia-initiated resolution against glorification of Nazism and other practices promoting present-days of racial discrimination and xenophobia. In December 2015, such resolution won support from 133 states. Four countries, namely Canada, Palau, the United States and Ukraine, were against. Forty-nine countries, including the European Union member states, abstained.