The Latvian parliament has approved a declaration condemning the Soviet occupation and asking Russia to accept that it is morally, legally and financially responsible for losses incurred by the Latvian people.
The declaration, “Deklarācija par Latvijā īstenotā padomju sociālistisko Republiku savienības totalitārā komunistiskā okupācijas režīma politikas nosodījumu,” was approved May 12 in a 70-23 vote, with one member of parliament abstaining, according to Latvian media reports. The vote split largely along party lines, with the leftist People’s Harmony Party (Tautas saskaņas partija) and For Human Rights in United Latvia (Par cilvēka tiesībām vienotā Latvijā) opposing the declaration.
Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union from World War II until August 1991. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied that an occupation occurred, arguing instead that Soviet troops were introduced into Latvia on the basis of an agreement between the Latvian and Soviet governments.
The declaration asks the Latvian government to demand reparations from Russia as well as the return of Latvian archives removed during the Soviet occupation.
The declaration was introduced in the parliament on April 22 by the conservative party Jaunais laiks (New Era).
Also on May 12, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that includes language acknowledging the suffering endured by Eastern and Central European nations following the end of World War II.
The resolution, titled “The future of Europe sixty years after the Second World War,” notes that “for some nations the end of World War II meant renewed tyranny inflicted by the Stalinist Soviet Union.” It states that the European Parliament is “aware of the magnitude of the suffering, injustice and long-term social, political and economic degradation endured by the captive nations located on the eastern side of what was to become the Iron Curtain.”
The European Parliament resolution was adopted on a vote of 463 in favor, 49 against and 33 abstaining, according to the parliament’s press office.
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