On Denying the Soviet Past

by Andrew Stuttaford

For Russia fully to emerge from its Soviet past, it has to first acknowledge it.

As this recent (and remarkably restrained) press release from the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminds us, this process still has a long way to go:

Regrettably it has to be established that, when addressing the meeting of the Latvian Council of Non-governmental Organizations on 6 February, the Ambassador of Russia to Latvia Alexander Veshnyakov has denied the fact of the occupation of Latvia and pointed out that Russia was not going to admit Latvia’s occupation, however hard the Latvian side pressed for it. Such rhetoric regarding history does not facilitate a positive background of our dialogue…

If Ambassador Veshnyakov is unaware of the nature of Soviet rule in Latvia, he could do worse than visit this site — managed by Latvia’s Occupation Museum.

But then Ambassador Veshnyakov knows perfectly what happened.

Yet still he denies it.

And that says everything. 

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