A resolution calling on Russia to acknowledge and condemn the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states has been adopted by the U.S. House of Represenatives.
The House adopted the resolution on July 22, more than three months after it was introduced April 12 by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.). The U.S. Senate adopted a similar resolution in May.
“It is important that the United States join with our allies in the Baltics and stand for democracy and rights of individuals to be protected everywhere,” Shimkus told his colleagues from the floor of the House before the resolution was adopted. “Democracy and freedom cannot exist without truth and transparency; I would hope Russia would take a step forward as a nation by acknowledging the past.”
Shimkus, who has Lithuanian heritage and is co-chair of the House Baltic Caucus, noted that representatives were considering the resolution during Captive Nations Week. The week was first proclaimed in 1959 during the Eisenhower Administration to draw attention to countries struggling for freedom from Communist rule.
The Russian government, meanwhile, in recent statements has said resolutions such as this one are “attempts to rewrite history.” It has argued that no occupation of the Baltic states occurred in 1940, because the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania allowed Soviet troops to enter their countries and because they asked to be annexed into the Soviet Union.
“The term ‘occupation’ cannot be used for a legal assessment of the situation in the Baltics in the late 1930s because there was no state of war between the U.S.S.R. and the Baltic states and no military actions were being conducted, and the troops were introduced on the basis of an agreement and with the express consent of the authorities that existed in these republics at the time—whatever one may think of them,” the Russian Foreign Ministry Information and Press Department said in an April statement.
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