President Putin congratulates veteran Kononov persecuted in Latvia on 80th anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a greeting telegram to veteran anti-fascist Vasily Kononov congratulating him on his 80th anniversary, the President's press service reported. Kononov has been persecuted for several years by Latvian authorities on false accusations.

The telegram reads as follows, "Please accept my warmest congratulations on your 80th anniversary. With all my heart I wish you good health, cheerful spirit and patience. Your self-sacrificing struggle against the encroachment on human rights and the attempts of re-writing history in modern Latvia meets sincere support in Russian society".

Former Soviet partisan Vasily Kononov was earlier convicted by the Latvian court. Then, in February 2000, acting president of Russia Vladimir Putin asked the Latvian leaders to reconsider the cruel and unfair verdict.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is closely following the trial in Latvia.

On the Russian President's instructions, the veteran is being given comprehensive and active support.

In May 2002, human rights envoy in the Russian Federation Oleg Mironov turned to Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga asking her to assist in transferring Kononov to the Russian jurisdiction.

The Russian President's congratulation as well as a memorable gift was given to Kononov by Russian Ambassador to Latvia Igor Studennikov.

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