The U.S. Senate has adopted a resolution calling on Russia to issue “a clear and unambiguous statement” admitting and condemning the Soviet Union’s 50-year occupation of the Baltic countries.
The resolution was introduced May 19 by Sen. Gordon H. Smith (R-Ore.) and adopted the same day by unanimous consent. It replaced a similar resolution, introduced by Smith one week earlier, that had been referred to the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations.
Smith is co-chair of the Senate’s Baltic Freedom Caucus. The resolution was co-sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), who is the other Baltic caucus co-chair.
A version of the resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives on April 12, but has seen no action since it was referred to the Committee on International Relations.
The Senate resolution notes that the Russian government has not acknowledged the illegal annexation and occupation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Doing so, the resolution suggests, would improve relations between the Baltics and Russia and would “strengthen stability in the region.”
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied that the Soviet Union occupied the Baltic countries, arguing that a state of war did not exist between the U.S.S.R. and the Baltics and that Soviet troops were invited into Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 1940.
The Senate on May 19 also adopted a resolution, sponsored by Durbin, that expresses its continued support for construction of a Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, D.C. Construction of the memorial is expected to begin this fall. The memorial could be dedicated in late summer or early fall of 2006, according to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
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