Vike-Freiberga suggests Russia pay for occupation

  • 2004-10-13
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA - President Vaira Vike-Freiberga has called on historians and lawyers to gather information about pecuniary damages to Latvia during the some 50 years of occupation by Soviet forces in the hope that these claims could be taken to international court.

On Thursday the president handed historical documents about Latvians deported to Kazakhstan during Stalinist repressions under the Soviet rule in the 1940s to the Latvian State Archives. She received the document during last week's visit to Kazakhstan.

"We need as many authentic documents as possible that would serve as legal evidence to the number of people doing slave labor and maybe allow to us to go to some international court for compensations," the president was quoted as saying.

She added that recovery of every such document was vital to obtain accurate information about the fate of all Latvians and as to have full evidence of repressions.

Regarding compensation, Vike-Freiberga referred to the example of a German foundation that has made payments to former Nazi slave laborers in many countries.

"Our case is more serious. I call on historians and lawyers to cooperate in order to make conclusions," said the president, adding that she personally doubted that Russia would recognize any such claims.

Lithuania and Estonia have already submitted occupation claims to Russia for the damages incurred by the decades of Soviet occupation.

Recently Russia's Audit Chamber issued a report claiming that the Baltic states owed Russia some $3 billion for military and property-related losses after Soviet troops pulled out of the region in 1993 - 94.