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Lang supports Latvia's efforts to explain history

  • 2005-02-23
  • By The Baltic Times
TALLINN 's Foreign Minister Rein Lang has expressed support for Latvia's policy of explaining to the world that May 9, 1945 was not the end of war and that the Baltic countries considered the Soviet Union an occupier and not a liberator.

"What Latvia is doing now is good for all three Baltic states," Lang told Kuku Radio on Sunday.

Lang said President Arnold Ruutel can make the decision whether to go to Moscow alone since the invitation was addressed to him personally. There is no one else Estonia could send to Moscow instead of the head of state, he added, since no one else has an invitation.

So far Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga is the only Baltic president who has accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin's invitation to attend the May 9 ceremonies in Moscow to mark the end of World War II. But at the same time Vike-Freiberga has spearheaded a campaign to explain the Baltics' unique experience before and after the war. She has already received support from British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Meanwhile, Lithuania's leadership has become increasingly frustrated with Russia in recent days. Parliamentary Speaker Arturas Paulauskas said he was surprised by Putin's interpretation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. In an interview to the Slovak media last week, he that the Soviet Union had signed the pact in an effort "to ensure its interests and security of its western borders."

"I was really surprised at the Russian president's statements. This is impermissible," Paulauskas said in an interview on national radio on Friday.

He recalled that the 1991 agreement between Lithuania and Russia, which relations are currently based on, also recorded the fact of annexation of the Republic of Lithuania carried out by the Soviet Union and was committed to eliminating the consequences of annexation. "It would be very dangerous to revise the [Lithuanian-Russian] agreements. Then we would be able to justify all the wrongdoings in the world by our state and national interests, met at the expense of other countries and nations. These are dangerous assessments indeed, and I think that they should receive strong condemnation," Paulauskas said.

President Valdas Adamkus has also stated the Russian president's assessment is unacceptable for him. Representatives of the President's Office told the Baltic News Service that Putin's statements "would without a doubt have influence on President Adamkus' decision" to go to Moscow.