Latvia’s ban on Soviet uniforms during Victory Day celebrations an insult to liberators – Russian FM

Victory day celebrations in Riga, Latvia © Sputnik / Sergey Melkonov

The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed Latvia’s new legislation banning Soviet Army uniforms from being worn during public events, calling it an insult to the soldiers who liberated Latvia from the Nazis.

“We are outraged by this offensive legislation which is nothing else but mockery of the memory of the Soviet soldiers who lost their lives while liberating Latvia,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

Last week, Latvia’s parliament approved in the second reading amendments to the law on public gatherings, imposing a ban on wearing any military uniform of the USSR and Nazi Germany at public events. Moscow believes the bill actually equates the two.

The move was “particularly cynical” as this bill was passed on the eve of the anniversary of the victory over Nazism in Europe, “clearly in order to demean veterans of the Great Patriotic War [World War II] and ruin their holiday,” Zakharova said.

At least 61,500 Soviet soldiers lost their lives while liberating Latvia from the Nazi German forces in the highly successful Riga Offensive which took place in autumn 1944. It was part of the larger Baltic Offensive which resulted in the expulsion of German forces from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

After the Baltic nations declared independence from the Soviet Union in early 1990, nationalist politicians in these countries began referring to the liberation by the Red Army as the “Soviet occupation,” while praising local Nazi collaborators and pro-Nazi movements for fighting the Soviets.

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