Despite criticism from some quarters that to do so will weaken Latvia’s position with Russia, President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga has decided to attend a May 9 summit and celebration in Moscow marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Critics have said the president should not attend until Russia acknowledges its unlawful occupation of Latvia.
Although the end of the Second World War is celebrated on May 8, Russia marks May 9 as a day of remembrance for those who died in the war. A summit of world leaders also is planned on May 9 in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin invited the presidents of all three Baltic states to Moscow, but Vīke-Freiberga is the first to say she will attend.
“The Second World War in Latvia ended on May 4, 1990, when the Soviet empire collapsed and Latvia’s independence was renewed after 50 years of occupation,” the president said in her announcement.
The president also noted that it be wrong for Latvia not to be present at a world summit where others might discuss the past and future of Europe.
“The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the Yalta and Potsdam conferences must not be repeated,” she said, referring to World War II-era events that determined the fate of the Baltic states.
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