New book on Latvia's history humiliates USSR's victory in WWII
It seems that the government of Latvia stands out among other administrations when it comes to the expression of their personal opinion regarding the forthcoming celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Victory Day in WWII. Moreover, Latvian authorities are playing the game on a rather sharp edge, deliberately provoking international scandals.
The recently-published book titled “The Story of Latvia. XX century” became another example of the Latvian government's creative imagination. Needless to say that the book on Latvia's history mentions nothing about the Soviet Union. It does not seem to be a surprising fact at all: Latvian historians are not alone when it comes to humiliating the now-defunct state.
The book definitely contains a chapter devoted to WWII. According to the authors (Anatoli Zunda, the presidential advisor for history, is one of them), Nazis were much lesser evil as opposed to the USSR. The chapter about the Salaspils death camp is rather special at this point. The book says that the camp, which can be referred to as the “Baltic Auschwitz” was an “extended police prison, a work camp.” One shall assume that it is a “perfect” formulation against the background of the anniversary marking the liberation of the infamous Auschwitz death camp.
The book gives a very brief summary on Nazis' stay in Latvia. The authors did not think that it was important to write about tens of thousands of Jews, Soviet soldiers and members of the anti-fascist resistance destroyed in Salaspils and other death camps. They did not say anything about fascists' experiments on children in Salaspils either.
According to Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the “many-sided and objective interpretation of the Latvian history” of the last century is the most important issue. The president believes that it will assist in the proper perception of the Latvian history on the international level. The head of state particularly emphasized the fact that the book had been published in the Russian language, news agency Regnum reported. “Millions of people have never heard anything different about what happened here. They only heard one version and one explanation. We do not know any facts about the events that took place here, because history was disguised with ideological propaganda for quite a long time,” said she. Vike-Freiberga was apparently guided by such ideas, when she presented a copy of the book to President Putin. It is noteworthy that the Russian president received the gift in Auschwitz.
Furthermore, the US embassy in Latvia partially funded the work on the book. Does it suppose to mean that American diplomats agree with estimations of Latvian historians?
The presentation of the book took place in Russia on February 2nd, in the Oval Hall of the Russian Library for Foreign Literature. It does not seem to be a good idea for Vaira Vike-Freiberga to arrive in Moscow, taking into consideration her insulting statement about Russian veterans: “Of course we will not be able to make elderly Russians change their minds as they put dry fish on newspapers, drink vodka, sing songs on May 9th and recollect the time when they heroically conquered the Baltic states.”
Salaspils is the name of a railway station not far from Riga. Nazis arranged a concentration camp there in 1941-1945, in which over 100 thousand people were killed. A monument in memory of those people, who fell victims to fascist terror, was unveiled on the territory of the former death camp in the 1960s (as seen on the photo).