The U.S. Senate called on Russia to also recognize the Soviet occupation of the Baltics (Photo by Kevin McCoy)
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senatehas unanimously passed a bill declaring the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states "illegal."
The bill also calls on Russiato acknowledge the occupation, something the state has been unwilling to dosince the fall of the Soviet Union. Russiamaintains that it 'liberated' the Baltics from the Nazi regime.
"The Soviet Union imposed the communist politicalsystem on Latvia,Estonia and Lithuaniaand thus oppressed opposing views, free expression of political will andviolated basic human rights," the document said.
"The Congress appeals to the U.S. President and the U.S. State Secretary tourge the government of the Russian Federationto admit that the Soviet Occupation in Latvia,Estonia and Lithuania,which started after signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and lasted for 51years, was illegal," it said.
The document underlines that the U.S.never recognized the Baltics as "Soviet republics" and maintained continuousdiplomatic relations with these countries throughout the Soviet occupation.
The U.S.never recognized this illegal and violent occupation and continued diplomaticrelations with the three countries during all the years of Soviet occupationperiod, never admitting that they would be 'SovietRepublics'," the document said.
The Senate also used the opportunity to congratulate Latviaon the 90th anniversary of the country's independence.
The document briefly outlines the key facts of Latvia'shistory 's including the proclamation of independence on November 18, 1918, the recognition of Latvia'sindependence.
The bill also notes Latvia'sstable and friendly relations with the Soviet Union inthe 1930s and the aggressive annexation by the Soviet Unionof the three Baltic states despite these relations in1940 under the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
In the bill, the Senate "commends the Government of Latvia for its successin implementing political and economic reforms, for establishing political,religious and economic freedom, and for its strong commitment to human andcivil rights."