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Friday 23.03.2018 | Name days: Mirdza, Žanete, Žanna

Politologist: the new generation is more radical than the veterans

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Ivars Ijabs

Ivars Ijabs

In many cases the new generation defends its beliefs much more radically than veterans do, – politologist Ivars Ijabs said in an interview to Latvian Radio when discussing the situation with May 8 and 9 commemorative events.

According to him, the veterans’ bilateral search for dialogue could give a positive addition to the situation. Even though the veterans have their fair share of conflicting opinions, they are not too steep, admits the politologist. “They are mostly people who have fought in actual war. They know what war is. They have carried the burden on their shoulders. They do not want the same to repeat, because they understand that it was a massive tragedy for all sides involved. The new generation, on the other hand, is much more radical in their beliefs than veterans”, – Ijabs believes.

He believes a dialogue between veterans would greatly benefit the situation.

The politologist also explains that the Second World War had a major impact on Latvia. This applies to all countries of this region that suffered from both totalitarian regimes. “Don’t think that this problem lies in memories. The problem is largely in the current political situation, stirring the memories, which objectively exist, and using the will of people to commemorate their fallen relatives and remind everyone what a tragedy the Second World War was”, – Ijabs said.

He also notes that public resonance and confrontations stem from politics. “Up until the end of the ’90s. May 9 and March 16 were relatively peaceful commemorative events. After the end of the ’90s, For Human Rights in United Latvia party joined May 9. A number of ministers and Saeima officials joined the March 16 event. This was caught up and successfully used by the Russian media sector, for which the “resurrection of Nazism” in the Baltics was actual at the time. This problem is now so large, it is unlikely that something will change in the near future”, – Ijabs notes.

The politologist explains the attitude of the two conflicting sides with integration problems: “This is no longer so much a historical memory problem as it is a Latvian integration problem. Looking at it from this point of view we should not think that talks and arguments about the Second World War can solve all of our current problems”.

As long as Latvia has ethnic problems, division into Latvians and Russians, these two dates [May 9 and March 16] will be used for political means, Ijabs believes.

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