Zatlers thanks U.S. Latvians for defending homeland

Latvians in America are to be thanked for their work in defending the homeland’s interests in the United States and should remain active in explaining the nation’s history, President Valdis Zatlers told an audience that viewed the documentary film The Soviet Story.

The film, written and directed by Edvīns Šnore, was screened Sept. 21 in the Scandinavia House in New York. The screening was the film’s U.S. premiere. The documentary argues that, before and during World War II, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union collaborated on learning methods of repression and mass killing. Russian officials have denounced the documentary.

Zatlers said the film will give a much larger audience a sense of the unmerciful repressions by the Soviet regime, according to a spokesperson for the president.

“Since the beginning of summer, when I saw the film for the first time, the world has changed,” Zatlers said. “And the warning at the end of the film, to not allow the rebirth of totalitarian ideology, has taken on new meaning.”

The events in Georgia, the president added, is reason to more clearly recognize the interests and values of the European Union and the NATO defense alliance, of which Latvia is a member.

“We have to continue to be able to and to know how to protect our statehood—our people’s values, way of life, traditions and dreams,” Zatlers said.

The president is on a weeklong visit to the United States to attend the 63rd session of the U.N. General Assembly, to meet with the leaders of several other nations and to deliver two speeches at the U.N. and at Columbia University.

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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