RIGA, July 14. /TASS/. The Embassy of Russia in Latvia reminded Tuesday that the Baltic Republic joined the USSR legally. This statement was criticized by the Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics.
"One of the steps of the Latvian leadership towards the legitimate accession to the USSR was the snap elections of the Sejm [the parliament] of July 14-15, 1940, attended en masse by various layers of the society," the Embassy wrote in its Facebook post, accompanied with a photo of the queue for the voting station number 1 in Riga.
"Early on the morning of July 14, 1940, citizens of Latvia, including organized columns of Latvian soldiers, went to the voting stations, willing to vote in favor of the new communist regime. The streets were decorated by Latvian flags, this was a holiday, a nationwide plebiscite," the embassy said, publishing another photo.
These publications were harshly criticized by Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics. He said in his Twitter that the "elections" "took place in the occupied Soviet Latvia in violation of the Constitution."
Previously, Riga repeatedly called on Russia as the successor to the Soviet Union to acknowledge the fact of occupation. Several years ago, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia signed a joint declaration of intent to fight for retributions together caused by the Soviet occupation. Ministers of justice of Estonia and Latvia published a joint statement, in which they urged to remember the period when the republics were parts of the Soviet Union and pointed out that retributions could be demanded from Russia as the successor to the Soviet Union.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier that "Russia will not accept any allegations of occupation of the Baltic States by the Soviet Union, as well as the absurd and ungrounded legal and historic groundwork that forms the nature of claims against Russia, especially of the monetary kind."
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that Russia does not agree with the term "occupation" towards the Baltic States’ time within the Soviet Union and it does not consider it possible to speak about any kind of compensations.