Parliament boots leftist MP
RIGA - Lawmakers last week voted to remove a left-wing MP from the foreign affairs committee for the latter's role in putting together a Russian-made documentary that claims Latvia volunteered to join the Soviet Union.
After two hours of debate, parliamentarians decided to remove Nikolajs Kabanovs with 64 votes for and 18 against.
Several MPs suggested that Kabanovs, who is a member of the left-wing For Human Rights in a United Latvia, should be ostracized from Parliament.
"He has wiped his face with the [Latvian] flag and has spoken and written obscenities in his paper," said Juris Dobelis, an MP from the nationalist Fatherland and Freedom party.
Oskars Kastens of Latvia's First Party said Kabanovs would find a way to demonstrate his anti-Latvian stance on any committee, so therefore it was best he be expelled from Parliament.
Parliament speaker Ingrida Udre, however, restrained her colleagues, saying that the Constitution did not provide the legislature with such powers in the given case.
Kabanov responded to his ouster by sending each parliamentary faction a box of diapers.
"They are so scared of something similar [the deportations 's ed.] happening all over again, so I gave them [pampers] so that they won't have to pee in their pants," he told the Baltic News Service, adding that the pampers were size 2 since, judging by the way Latvian MPs thought, they were about that age.
In the documentary that Kabanov helped compile, entitled "Baltic Nazism," Russian "historians" claim that Latvia became part of the former Soviet Union voluntarily. What's more, it claims that the murder of Jews in Latvia took place on a similar scale as that of the Turkish genocide of Armenians in 1915.
Kabanovs is interviewed in the documentary, which was shown to local journalists shortly after the European Council decided to end human rights monitoring in Latvia. This caused some members of Parliament to conclude that the film was Russia's answer to the recent decision to end monitoring. Many have interpreted the film as depicting a revival of fascism in Latvia today.
Karlis Sadurskis, a lawmaker from the right-wing New Era, said the documentary has raised unresolved issues of history. "It's a pity that there has not been a second Nurenberg where the winners would have been tried, since their crimes were no less serious," he said.
Leftist lawmakers criticized the removal, describing it as incorrect, anti-democratic and illegal.
Kabanovs, who took part in the debate, said that the "conclusion of the presidential historians' commission about the film was totally wrong 's besides, the decision of the commission has no legal authority." He said that neither the Security Police nor Prosecutor General's Office found anything wrong with the documentar.
MPs said Kabanov's pampers move was a gaff. "It is pitiful," said People's Party faction chairman Janis Lagzdins, adding that, by presenting pampers to lawmakers, Kabanovs was first of all making a fool of himself.