MOSCOW, May 16 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian parliament has ordered an inquiry into comments by Leonid Gozman in which the former leader of a once prominent liberal political party equated Red Army counterintelligence units to the Waffen-SS, State Duma First Deputy Speaker Ivan Melnikov said on Thursday.
The Duma Council has directed the committees responsible for house information policy, defense and security to look into the remarks, because Gozman “holds an important state position,” Melnikov said.
Gozman, who was formerly head of the Union of Right Forces political party, is currently director of humanitarian projects at Rusnano, a state-controlled corporation devoted to nanotechnology.
On May 12, Gozman wrote in his LiveJournal blog that there was no difference between Red Army Smersh counterintelligence units and SS troops, the infamous Nazi military force whose members were convicted of numerous war crimes at the post-war Nuremberg Trials.
Gozman said in his blog that Smersh, whose name stood for Smert Shpionam (Death to Spies), was no less criminal than the SS, and should be put in the same category as the SS, the NKVD (the forerunner to the KGB), and the Gestapo, “eliciting horror and disgust.”
His comments came in response to a TV series broadcast recently on state-run TV channels that Gozman said glorified Smersh soldiers.