Time is now

  • 2005-06-01
Being a regular reader of TBT and a visitor of Latvia, I have noticed, with increasing concern and alarm, that your newspaper's opinion-makers, journalists and other irresponsible voices in Riga, incorrectly assess, and therefore mislead, your country's interests in two major issues of vital importance for your newly-acquired independence. First, the much-discussed border treaty with the Russian Federation agonizes over the Abrene stumbling block. It is not a stumbling block. On the contrary, Abrene is overwhelmingly populated by Russians, it was so even during your first republic. Incorporating such a region into Latvia, you would jeopardize, perhaps forever, your present day precarious linguistic and ethnic-national supremacy in your own homeland. You have already enough "diversity" 's you need more cohesion. Abrene could become your Gaza Strip symptom. Even Israelis realize that "small is beautiful!"

Second, the newly-trumpeted "invitation-thesis" spread by Moscow to explain Latvia's occupation between 1940 and 1991, is gaining ground because it is based on an easy concept, is targeted at younger generations unaware of history, and is embellished by the guilt of some pro-Nazi Latvian collaborators.

What has been Latvia's response to this new thesis? As far as I know, you have not elaborated enough. You are loosing ground, even in Brussels. If Europe and the world are tempted to accept that Russian troops entered and occupied your country after an official invitation of your government, then the Russians living in Latvia are thereby "guests," not "occupants," and a myriad of malign consequences will follow rapidly. Your newspaper, the voice of the Baltics in the world, must contribute to a comprehensive response-package to this lie, this historic perversion by publishing documents, studies, photos, interviews with witnesses who are still alive.

What is at stake is more than a diplomatic offensive. What is at stake is that Moscow has already won the first round by pushing you into a defensive stance.

Dr. Alberto Santos



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