ALA backs resolution to honor Latvia, push Russia

The American Latvian Association has thrown its support behind a proposed U.S. Senate resolution that congratulates Latvia on the 90th anniversary of its Nov.18, 1918, declaration of independence and that asks the president to urge Russia’s acknowledgement that the Soviet occupation of the Baltic republics was illegal.

The resolution, S.Con.Res. 87, was introduced June 9 by Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon and Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois. Smith and Durbin are co-chairs of the Senate Baltic Caucus.

In a June 27 e-mailed “Call to Action,” the ALA asks supporters to write to their members of Congress urging a vote in favor of the resolution. The ALA also suggests Latvian organizations send delegations to the local offices of members of Congress.

“Because of the political activities this year—national party conventions and election campaigns—Congress will have a short session,” ALA Director of Public Affairs Valdis Pavlovskis writes in the e-mail. “Although Nov. 18 may seem far away, we really do not have much time to get the resolution passed. We have to act immediately.”

The six-point resolution would congratulate Latvia on the anniversary of its declaration of independence, commend the government for implementing reforms and establishing freedoms, and recognize the common goals and shared values of the three Baltic countries. The resolution also would call on the president to issue a proclamation congratulating the people of Latvia and to congratulate the Latvian government.

“Latvia today stands as a model of Western, free-market democracy, and America stands with it,” Smith said in introducing the resolution.

Finally, the resolution would call on the president and the secretary of state to urge Russia’s government “to acknowledge that the Soviet occupation of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and for the succeeding 51 years was illegal.”

The resolution was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations the same day it was introduced.

“The resolution not only commends Latvia’s successes in nation building, economic development and human rights,” Pavlovskis wrote, “but most importantly it recognizes Russia’s attempts to manipulate Latvia and the other two Baltic countries back into the Russia’s sphere of influence, detaching them from the west.”

Although the resolution does not explictly refer to attempts by Russia to influence Latvia or the other Batic countries, Pavlovskis told Latvians Online that he chose his wording carefully.

“[I]f we, or at least I, look at what Russia is doing, then it is clear to me they want us back and they are working on it,” Pavlovskis said in an e-mail. He cited a string of events, such as Russia’s energy and trade policies, lies about Latvians that appear in the Russian press and the April 2007 cyberattack against Estonia.

The ALA expects Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois will submit a similar resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives. Shimkus is co-chair of the House Baltic Caucus.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

5 thoughts on “ALA backs resolution to honor Latvia, push Russia

  1. I urge everyone to contact as many Senators and House members as possible. Germany has accepted their part of the bloody history,where is the Russian concience?

  2. It should be incumbent upon every Latvian and Balt everywhere in the world, to express support for this resolution that Senators Smith and Durbin have proposed. It is extremely heartening and most welcome that two of America’s Senators are enlightened about Russia’s atrocious history and wish to initiate this Resolution and in doing so have become leaders in both the Senate and the House.Latvia has indeed, with generous help from the West, forged a new country that seeks to remain in the European sphere of influence and cherishes its new found freedoms that existed prior to World War 11. Congratulations are certainly in order. The road back to prosperity, freedom, being players on the world stage, has been long and arduous and requires our support and protection. We have many miles yet to go and Latvia’s leadership/politicians must never let the country or its people down. Selfish ambition or corruption will not achieve the long-held goals envisioned by Latvians around the globe. Hard work, keeping an eye on the ball and encouraging citizens to take an active part in securing Latvia’s permanent place as a viable democratic country will lift the spirits of all Latvians and their descendants for years to come. If Russia chooses to turn back to its imperialistic historical ways, it will be met with a strong and decisive wave of response from masses of people who have a vested interest in ensuring that the Baltic states remain free from occupation, forever. Remember, Never Forget, Never Again!

  3. One reason Russia does not want to accept this theory is money. If it does accept, then it has an obligation to pay the compensation, just like Germany did for both of the wars. Another reason is there were many factors that Latvia and other do not include when accusing of illegal occupation.

  4. “Another reason is there were many factors that Latvia and other do not include when accusing of illegal occupation.” what are these factors? was it the sham election that saw somewhere around 97% of votes in favor of the communists, the only party on the ballot? or was it the illegal joining of the soviet union, which was in total violation of the latvian constitution, which stipulates that a referendum must take place first. The kind we had when we joined the European Union. I’m curious what factors you are refering to.

  5. Sergey – No, money is not the automatic consequence of accepting “this theory” (You cite Germany, I cite South Africa). Compensation comes in many forms. For some people it comes in the form of a simple acknowledgment of wrong-doing. Simply paying compensation is primitive and avoids responsibility (cowardice).

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