December 21, 2017 – FRN –
The Latvian Seimas has passed a law awarding the status of a “World War II veteran” to those who fought against both Nazi Germany and the USSR.
The bill was proposed by the parliamentary commission on human rights and public affairs. The goal is to “evaluate the merits” of citizens who, as part of the regular units of other states, fought against the formations of the USSR, Nazi Germany or its allies.
The document is relevant only to Latvian citizens. Non-citizens, of whom there are more than 200 thousand in the country, it does not concern. Non citizens are Russian speaking individuals who did not apply for Latvian citizenship after the collapse of the USSR (due to forced Latvitisation and forced language learning.) Even though they were born in Latvia, they have no civil rights.
The law establishes that Latvia “does not bear legal responsibility for the actions of the occupation authorities”. In addition, the document emphasizes that it “as an occupied state did not participate in hostilities during the Second World War.”
They also have the right to social security benefits.
The bill was supported by the majority of deputies. Now it must be signed by the president.
In Latvia, there are several thousand participants of the Second World War who fought on the side of the Red Army and on the side of the Latvian Waffen-SS legion.
The Latvian SS legion was created by the command of Nazi Germany. The Reichsführer of the SS Heinrich Himmler issued an order on March 24, 1943, clarifying the “Latvian Legion”, as Latvians who serve in all local military formations of the Waffen-SS, including police battalions. In all, there were about 150 thousand people in the ranks of this legion.
Every year on March 16, a procession of former participants of the Latvian SS legion and their supporters is held in Riga. In an event that causes discontent and outrage of anti-fascist organizations around the world, usually several hundred people take part.