Latvian volunteer of the Waffen-SS willingly serving the Nazi occupiers in Russia
European Parliament Members have been shown the film Soviet History. The plot of the film shot by Latvian film-makers is based on the “crimes” of Stalin’s regime. The film-makers centre on the cooperation in Stalin’s time between the NKVD (People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs) and the Gestapo, the artificially-provoked famine in the Ukraine, the slaughter of Polish Amy officers in Katyń Forest, and medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners.
The film is indeed emotional and produced a strong impression on European Parliament deputies. But, if one looks at the material impartially, one will note too many cases of put-up jobs and loose interpretations of well-known facts. The NKVD-Gestapo cooperation theme is based on a document that was proven to be a forgery some 10 years ago. Experts know the document was false, but, not the watchers of the film.
The photos that allegedly show the victims of famine in the 1930s Ukraine actually depict horrible scenes of starving people in Southern and Central Russia in the early 1920s, right after the Civil War in Russia. Yet another fabrication is allegedly documentary evidence of medical experiments in the NKVD’s torture cells. The film-makers actually use photos of inmates of a Nazi death camp murdered by the SS in Estonia and try to pass these photos off as evidence of Russian peasants who were shot down by the Bolsheviks.
In short, the film Soviet History abounds in contentious scenes and claims. But, the problem goes beyond the framework of historical discrepancies, said Russian political analyst Vladimir Bruter, who claims that the film-makers seek to justify the discriminatory policy carried out against Russian-speakers in Latvia by the Latvian authorities.
Mr Bruter said, “Russia itself was part of the Soviet Union and subjected to the very same problems. It is absolutely untrue to claim that ethnic Latvians suffered more than ethnic Russians. What happened in the Soviet Union is now on the Scales of History, not on the scales of the current foreign policy. Only half of the problem is that historical facts are loosely interpreted. But, it’s a totally different thing that a great number of Latvian residents are denied civil rights. One gets the impression that Riga needs films like Soviet History to persuade Europeans that Latvian officials just can’t treat part of the republic’s residents other than outcasts. This is precisely what underlies the current discrepancies between Latvia and Russia.
Time is irreversible, and one cannot get back to the 1930s, or any other decade in the past, to correct the errors made. It IS a hard fact that Stalin’s rule in the Soviet Union was despotic and bloody, and based on mass-scale reprisals and all-out lying. In this context, it stands to reason to point out that during the initial days of the Soviet government, several regiments of Latvian Riflemen helped it to consolidate its position. The historical period in question should certainly be studied in a most impartial way, with no ideological or political bias. The obvious fact-juggling by the film-makers makes one feel they chose not to bother about numerous details in the tragic history of the 20th century. What the film-makers clearly seek is to find some justification for the stand of the Latvian authorities on the republic’s Russian-speakers, a stand that is in flagrant violation of European values”.
12 April 2008
Voice of Russia World Service
One wonders if the filmmakers stressed the fact that ethnic Latvians were amongst the most enthusiastic and willing collaborators with the Nazis during World War II. Some 148,000 Latvians, some 12 percent of the population, volunteered to serve in the Waffen-SS or Wehrmacht auxiliary units. These units (including the all-Latvian 15th, 19th, and 20th Waffen-SS Grenadier Divisions) were willing participants in atrocities against Russians and Jews. The US government is supporting Nazi revisionists in Riga (and in Tallinn, Kiev, and Zagreb as well). How low have we fallen?