In Denial

  • 2011-09-14
  • By Stephan Eberhardt, Valmiera

Dear TBT,

Janis Urbanovics in this interview (TBT no. 767, Q&A) shows he is unfit for public office in the ethnically diverse nation of Latvia. He is an Occupation Denier. Certainly there were scoundrels in Latvia that supported a lurch to the left, just as there are those today in society. But he grossly exaggerates the reality.

But that is not the real point – which is that Russia (and Germany) illegally and violently invaded Latvia during WWII. The unhappy fact is that the Soviets continued to illegally occupy the country for almost 50 more years. They brought their Red Terror, uninvited, into the country. His talk of ‘a cult’ is merely a cynical distraction - and a typically Soviet tactic - from the discussion. The occupation by this foreign government sent thousands of Latvians to Siberian work-to-the-death camps, resulted in the theft of property, the ruination of industry and the impoverishing and brutalizing of the country and its people. Similarly, Norway and the Netherlands were occupied by the Nazis; what doesn’t he understand? Urbanovics closes his eyes to these facts as he dismisses history.

Latvians are not cultivating a cult of victimhood, but are getting on with the business (together with the Russian community) of rebuilding their society. They do, however, want an honest discussion, one in which Russians objectively examine and evaluate themselves and their own history, without the distortions. This might serve to help them understand why Latvians, and the world, feel as they do today about them, and to heal society in the process.

Urbanovics ought to think before he opens his mouth; he has proven to be the biggest scoundrel in this story. Until he comes to terms with history, he will remain one of the biggest dividers in Latvian society.


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