Latvian authorities try to persuade veterans of the Great Patriotic War that the victory over fascists is not the holiday for Latvian people.
"Latvia has no reasons to commemorate May 9 as Victory Day, 50 years after this date it was occupied by the Soviet Union”, wrote Advisor of Latvian President on Historical Issues Anton Zunda in his letter to Latvian veterans of the war.
Latvian veterans of the World War II requested President Vaira Vike-Freiberga to commemorate this date on official level, RIA-Novosti reported.
After Latvia gained independence in September 1991, official celebration of Victory Day on May 9 was cancelled. Instead, May 8 became the celebration of defeating Nazism and commemorating the victims of the World War II.
Many war veterans disagree with the authorities’ opinion. One of the leaders of Latvian veterans Association Alexander Komarovsky wrote in “Chas” Russian-language Latvian newspaper that 154,000 Soviet soldiers died when fighting for Latvia’s liberation. Latvian people were fighting against Nazis as well. “35,000 Latvians died in battles on the way from Moscow to the West of Latvia”, Alexander Komarovsky wrote. He hopes that Latvia “will commemorate the day of the victory over Hitler’s Germany as the EU and NATO do”. The war veteran criticizes the current practice of Latvian authorities’ honoring former pro-Nazi legions members and ignoring the Latvians defeating fascism”.