Resolution urges Russia to condemn occupation

Russia should issue “a clear and unambiguous statement of admission and condemnation” of the Soviet Union’s occupation of the Baltic states from 1940 to 1991, according to a resolution introduced April 12 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), is being proposed less than a month before President George W. Bush heads to Moscow to participate in a May 9 celebration marking the end of World War II in Europe. Russia’s Victory Day highlights the nation’s struggle against Nazi Germany.

Soviet troops first annexed Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania in 1940. German forces pushed the Soviets back in 1941, but by the end of the war all three nations were again under Soviet control. Only in August 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, did the Baltic states regain independence.

The California-based Baltic American Freedom League on April 13 issued a “call to action” urging Baltic-Americans to ask their representatives to support the resolution, H. Con. Res. 128.

“The horrors of World War II in Europe did not end with the cessation of hostilities in 1945,” Valdis V. Pavlovskis of BAFL said in the call to action. “The repression of the Baltic people by the Soviet Union continued with increased vigor and enthusiasm. During the occupation, the Soviet Union committed war crimes as brutal and hideous as those of the Nazis.”

After its introduction, the resolution was referred to the House Committee on International Relations. It is cosponsored by eight other Congressmen.

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

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