The recent remarks by Latvian President Andris Berzins expressing sympathy for Latvian Waffen-SS veterans are inconsistent with the status of the country as a democratic state, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Latvian President Andris Berzins said in an interview with LNT television on Tuesday that the nation should bow to its Waffen-SS veterans, many of whom died for their fatherland.
“Regretfully, consistent attempts by the Latvian leadership to rewrite history damage the image of the country as a democratic state and hamper the development of its relations with Russia,” the ministry’s spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Wednesday.
Lukashevich dismissed Latvian president’s allegation that the Soviet Union rehabilitated Latvian Legionaries in 1955.
He said the decree by the Soviet Union’s Supreme Council on September 17, 1955 pardoned Soviet citizens who had been forced to cooperate with Nazis during the occupation.
The document specifically excluded Nazi collaborators who were involved in the killing and torturing of Russian citizens.
Some 140,000 Latvian men fought against the Soviet Union on the side of Nazi Germany during the Second World War.
Former members of the Latvian Waffen SS Legion and their supporters annually hold demonstrations involving several hundred people on March 16.