Prime minister: Future of commission on victims of oppression tied to budget

Back in August 2005, the Latvian government set up a special commission to examine the legacy of Soviet oppression. The commission was to get a firm count of the victims of Communism, determine where mass graves are located, gather information about political repression and deportations, and figure out the total losses to Latvia and its population.

But then the global economy tanked. Latvia’s government, in an effort to stay solvent, slashed its budget. The commission was among efforts halted when the government in June 2009 cut LVL 500 milllion in spending.

The commission is known formally in Latvian as “Komisija PSRS totalitārā komunistiskā okupācijas režīma upuru skaita un masu kapu vietu noteikšanai, informācijas par represijām un masveida deportācijām apkopošanai un Latvijas valstij un tās iedzīvotājiem nodarīto zaudējumu aprēķināšanai.”

On paper the commission still exists. And some politicians in the Saeima have not forgotten about it. Recently, the right-wing National Association (Nacionālā apvienība “Visu Latvijai!” – “Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/LNNK”) poked Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis about plans to revive the commission’s work, possibly even this year.

Dombrovskis, in a Feb. 10 letter (PDF, 424 K), replied that renewing the commission’s work is not planned for 2011. He reminded the nationalists that the government faces another LVL 50 million in spending cuts this year.

“At the same time, I want to emphasize that the commission has not been liquidated, but its work for now has been halted,” the prime minister wrote. “The question will be revisited after the country’s fiscal and economic situation improves, insuring the possibility of renewing the commission’s work and allocating budget resources.”

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *