I know you weren’t laughing at Stephen, Terry. I figured your sarcasm was directed at quote, unquote, that “politically correct” statement and that’s why I wrote what I did. I reiterate, that not ALL Russians are Soviets as not ALL Soviets are Russian, the latter a bit more complex, which Peteris did a good job of explaining. Thinking that a Soviet is merely a politically correct term for a Russian is akin to thinking that a Nazi is a politically correct term for a German. Russians are a very diverse group and certainly not all are the commies, Reds, murderers who committed crimes against the Latvians, Poles, Hungarians and yes, even Russians. Holding people responsible for their governments would be like someone holding you, other English people, responsible for British imperialist actions. There isn’t much the average citizen can do, especially against tanks in a repressive, totalitarian regime. It’s certainly not for me to try and change the way you feel, I have no illusions about that, these things are usually deeply ingrained, for you to work out, or not. But you do dishonor those Russians who fought and died for Latvia’s independence. And Peteris, BTW, is not just making these things up as he goes along, pulling them out of a hat. I personally know of such people, some who were among my father’s friends in Latvia, my own mother’s relatives, for one. Nor is it fiction or myth that there were plenty of Lativan Reds who at least contributed, if were not totally responsible, for the downfall of Latvia. Neighbors telling on neighbors—not pretty, but true.
It’s good that you have such an enthusiasm, new found interest for Latvia and much as I hate to shatter your illusions, as someone pointed out to me once, not everything is good, great just because it’s Latvian. But that doesn’t mean that I, we, you should love it any the less. I imagine that there is hardly a country that exists that hasn’t fallen, erred, that’s free from shameful deeds, after all, they’re only made up of imperfect human beings. And it doesn’t mean that we should be impervious to and try to hide from the facts, truth as Stephen expressed so well in his post. In all honesty, I can think of no person here on this forum currently, who has displayed any kind of contempt for Lativa/Latvians, on the contrary. No Lettophobes here; now, Russophobes, well…that’s another story.
I can understand your wanting the perpetrators brought to justice, although, they’re probably mostly dead by now. And you are hardly the only one who has suffered as a result of the occupation. I say this not to be unkind, unsympathetic, to lessen what happened to your loved ones, but just as a matter of fact. It’s something we Latvians share with one another, more or less. But I would hope that in seeking justice, your methods wouldn’t be another witch hunt, which you, yourself described—supplying the witch, the evidence following. And then again, sometimes there just is no justice to be found, better to move on, ‘neka varities, pats sava zulta’, as the Lat expression goes. A very good book to read, IMO, is Modris Ekstein’s, ‘Walking til Daybreak’ (I think that’s the title). Professor Ezergailis did render some criticisms (don’t remember what they were and perhaps they were warranted), but what hit home to me in his book was this terrible mad revenge, killing, the chaos, people not knowing/caring for what end, purpose, who started what, where—the sheer ugliness and devestation of war.