Dozens of Latvia's Russian-speakers sign open letter saying that not every Russian-speaker is Kremlin supporter

  • 2022-04-10
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Dozens of Latvia's Russian-speakers have signed an open letter saying that not every Russian-speaker is a Kremlin supporter and urging those who usually celebrate May 9 in Latvia not to do so this year.

The letter has been signed by a number of Latvia's Russian-speaking journalists, cultural workers, athletes, health professionals and others.

The letter condemns Russia's criminal war against Ukraine, and the signatories say they mourn every person killed by the Russian army in Ukraine.

The authors of the letter emphasize that they are aware that the Kremlin's war does not discriminate on the basis of nationality or mother tongue, and that the recent war crimes in Ukraine only confirm this fact. This makes many people scared.

"We are ashamed that orders to kill, rape and torture are given in our native language. The Russian war in Ukraine has changed what it means to belong to Russian culture," says the letter. There are many Russian-speakers living in Latvia, including citizens of Russia as well as people who have nothing to do with Russia, who do not support this criminal war and are trying to help the Ukrainian people in every way possible.

The authors of the letter say to the dissenting Russian-speakers - those who celebrate May 9 at the monument to Soviet soldiers in Riga's Pardaugava - to realize that doing so this year will mean supporting the war.

"Your family history is important and you have every right to remember your relatives lost in the war. But right now you must not ignore the fact that the Russian government is using the symbols of World War II to wage a new war," says the letter.

Those who still doubt the crimes committed by the Russian army are urged by the authors to follow global media known for their integrity and take a critical look at information from official Russian sources.

At the same time, the letter also asks Latvians to trust the Russian-speakers of Latvia and not to view every Russian-speaking person as a potential supporter of the Kremlin.

"Indeed, we - the people who speak and think in Russian - now have a completely new burden of responsibility. And only we can take on this responsibility and deal with it," the letter says, expressing the belief that the Latvian nation can be united and that people of different ethnicities can defend the common interests of the nation.