«The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed 77 years ago. Two totalitarian regimes basically signed a criminal pact the consequences of which are still felt today,» – said Latvian Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnacs on Tuesday, 23 August, while taking part in a conference of European ministers dedicated to the commemoration of victims of Stalinism and Nazism.
In regards to Latvia, Rasnacs noted: «In 1938, Latvia was on the tenth place in Europe in terms of GDP per capita. In the fifty years of Soviet occupation, Latvia’s development was forced to decline significantly.»
Rasnacs emphasized that the Russian Federation inherited the rights and duties of the Soviet Union, and is therefore responsible for the crimes against humanity committed in Latvia and the losses associated with them. Latvia has the right and duty to demand compensation for the damage that was caused to it by the Soviet occupation.
EU representatives were informed of Latvian parliament’s declaration of 2005 ‘On Condemnation of the Totalitarian Communist Occupation Regime Implemented in Latvia by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ and its objective to present demands to the Russian Federation to compensate to losses caused by said occupation, as reported by Justice Ministry.
In addition, justice ministers of the three Baltic States had signed a joint declaration in 2015, stating that «the time has come to settle affairs with past and carry out scientific calculations of the losses that were caused by USSR’s totalitarian communist occupation regime».
As noted by the justice minister in his speech: «This work will succeed only if Baltic States and all of Europe combine their efforts. We are prepared to share our experience. It is our common duty to restore historic justice that was denied as a result of the occupation regime.»
Eight years ago, MEP Inese Vaidere and four foreign colleagues managed to convince the European Parliament to officially accept the declaration «On the Declaration of 23 August as the European Day of Commemoration of Victims of Stalinism and Nazism».
In this declaration, the European Parliament officially condemns both totalitarian regimes and invites parliaments of all EU member states to declare 23 August as a common commemoration day.
«At the base of our work was unbendable confidence that it is vital to achieve a united understanding of Europe’s history. I feel very proud that 23 August is now an official commemoration date in Latvia and other countries. It is a sign that Europe condemns both criminal totalitarian regimes and commemorates the victims who suffered because of those regimes,» – said the MEP.
Vaidere adds: «Russia, the inheritor of the Soviet Union, continues to deny its crimes and does not try to hide its true face. It is revealed both with the occupation of Ukraine’s territories and its regular involvement in internal policies of Latvia and other countries».