RIGA, October 1. /TASS/. The Russian embassy in Latvia on Tuesday criticized the Latvian government for heroization of Waffen SS legionnaires.
The Russian diplomats’ backlash followed Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks’ statement that the members of the Latvian SS legion were a national pride and their memory was worth honoring.
"Waffen SS legionnaires were accomplices in atrocities, mass tortures and killings of civilians and prisoners of war. In the meantime, some members of the Latvian government present them as national heroes and keep praising them 75 years after the end of World War II. The very thought of this is hair-raising," the Russian embassy said on its Facebook page.
"Apparently, they are not very well familiar, or not familiar at all, with the verdict of the Nuremberg Tribunal, which in view of the nature of Waffen SS activities declared the Latvian SS legion as a criminal military group. That decision was made on October 1, 1946," the Russian embassy said.
Two Latvian Waffen SS divisions were created in 1943. March 16 is Latvia’s unofficial day of remembrance of their members. Every year radicals stage public events on this occasion.
After Latvia’s breakaway from the Soviet Union, March 16 remained an official memorable date for several years. When a march of local nationalists and former SS members sparked an outcry both in Russia and in the West, a decision was made to remove it from the list of official memorable dates.