On March 16, in Riga, Waffen SS veterans will once again hold their march, which has long been a point of confrontation between the radicals who are trying to justify their collaborators during World War II, on the one hand, and anti-fascists, supporters of equal rights in Latvia, on the other.
On this day, several dozen elderly veterans of the SS surrounded by thousands of young "new nationalists" from around the world will march on the main street of Riga towards the Freedom Monument, to talk about the SS "great feat" allegedly committed by them during the war.
As a consistent advocate of freedom of speech and assembly, the International Human Rights Movement "World Without Nazism" believes that these rights and freedoms can not be used to promote the hateful ideas.
It is no secret that the backbone of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen SS troops were German auxiliary police, who took an active part in the destruction of the civilian population, including during the Holocaust in Latvia.
These groups have been actively involved not only in the battle with the Red Army, by all means delaying the release of their country from the Nazis, but also participated in the Nazis bloody slaughter of civilians. In particular, the Latvian police battalions that then voluntarily became part of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen SS, in February - March 1943, participated in the punitive operation "Winter Magic" at the south-eastern borders of Latvia in Osvej, Drissa, Rosson regions of Belarus and Sebezh region of Russia, during which more than 430 villages were destroyed, thousands of civilians were killed and thousands others were deported to forced labor.
The troops of the 15th and 19th Grenadier (Latvian) Waffen SS divisions in the Wehrmacht participated in the massacre of prisoners of war and civilians in village of Bobryn in Latvia (6 August 1944), a Polish village of Podgaye (February 1945), the destruction of 138 villages in the Vitebsk region of Belarus (February - March 1944).
The fact that the Waffen SS veterans’ march is held on March 16, the day of the first combat clashes between Latvian SS legion and the Red Army, which was part of the anti-Hitler coalition, in 1944, that the parade is traditionally held in the capital of Latvia with a huge crowd, and the fact that the event is used to glorify the Nazi collaborators and to incite ethnic hatred, suggest that the march of SS veterans in Riga on March 16 infringes on the rights of veterans from coalition troops, the victims of Nazism, as well as all those who consider the Nazi occupation as the personal tragedy of their families in different countries.
Nothing is stopping SS veterans and their cronies from gathering at a military cemetery or in a remote area of the city to hold a private event in memory of the fallen soldiers of Hitler's army. However, it does not happen.
In fact, the event on March 16 in the city center is a major element of the strategy for the glorification of Nazism and the division of society, which is long being realized by the radical nationalist forces of Latvia, with the tacit support of the authorities.
Moreover, the head of the Office for Protection of the Constitution of Latvia - Latvia's main intelligence agency - Janis Kazhotsinsh in recent days has repeatedly allowed himself to speak openly in various media in the sense that the annual event on March 16 "for any intelligent man" is not a glorification of Nazism in his country, and the "World Without Nazism" is a movement that is supposedly hostile to Latvia, Moldova and Ukraine, and is created and funded by the Government of the Russian Federation, operating in the form of many different organizations that "in reality, are created by 1-2 people." Also the head of counterintelligence said that the main objective of the "World Without Nazism" "is to prove that there an increase in fascism the Baltic countries, Moldova and Ukraine through absurd and biased statements".
In this regard, the International Human Rights Movement "World Without Nazism" states the following:
1. Our movement was created on June 22, 2010 in Kiev by several dozen representatives of non-governmental and well-known organizations from many countries that do not accept the ideology of neo-Nazism and racism, as well as the so-called "new" nationalism that are becoming one of the major problems of our time amid the crisis of the national state and the sharp deterioration in the economic situation in most countries of the world.
Today the movement consists of 140 organizations from 30 countries, including the organizations of veterans of coalition troops, scientific and museum organizations, organizations of those persecuted under Nazism, youth anti-fascist organizations, ethnic community organizations, organizations of the Nazi concentration camps and ghetto survivors, The Holocaust survivors, anti-Nazi movements, and many others. These are the oldest organizations that existed long before the creation of our movement.
Well-known people from around the world are members of "World Without Nazism". Among them are a German politician, former commissioner of OSCE on anti-Semitism, Gert Weisskirchen (a member of the Presidium of the organization), the director of the Germany’s Sachsenhausen Museum, Günter Morsch (Board member), members of the Legislative Assembly of the State of New York (USA), Stephen Cymbrovitz and Alec Brook-Krasny, the third President of the Republic of Moldova, the parliamentary opposition leader, Vladimir Voronin (Board member), member of the Parliament of Moldova, Inna Shupak (a member of the Presidium), the first President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk (Chairman of the human rights organization "Ukraine without Nazism", a Board member of the IHRM "World Without Nazism"), Advisor to the President of Ukraine, Anna German (a member of the Presidium), a lawyer specializing in the freedom of speech and religious freedoms of the Helsinki Group Eliza Garoya (Greece) - member of Presidium, President of the International Federation of Resistance - The Association of Hungarian anti-, Vilmosh Hunti (Board member), a member of the first democratic government of Russia, the former Minister of Taxation, Alexander Pochinok (first vice-president of “World Without Nazism”), a prominent Russian human rights activist Alla Gerber (Board member), Sergei Ryakhovsky, chairman of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians, Deputy Head of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine on justice, Valery Bondik, Ambassador of Peace and coordinator of the Alliance of Azerbaijan for Peace and Development, Rashid Rumzada and many others.
By insulting "World Without Nazism", the head of the Latvian counterintelligence insulted all these respected people that share the goals of the movement.
In accordance with the movement’s mission, we are pursuing two goals: World without Nazism, hate and discrimination and exclusion of revision of the results of World War II. Our organization has no other purposes.
2. In 2011 - 2012 the International Human Rights Movement "World without Nazism" implemented their projects funded by a number of private sponsors, primarily by the President of the movement, Boris Spiegel. During this period, the funds of the Russian federal and regional budgets, as well as budgets of other countries, were not involved.
This does not mean that the movement will not be using money from individual private or public charities around the world for the implementation of its statutory objectives in the future. We are glad if these foundations share our goals, realize the importance of our mission and are willing to finance our projects, among which the most important are not our statements, according to Mr. J. Kazhotsinsh, but monitoring of radical nationalism and extremism, countering racism and neo-Nazism in media and communication, especially the Internet, as well as bringing to the attention of the world public the violations of human rights in the area of discrimination on racial, religious or other grounds. Our only weapon is transparency and we will use it as often as need be.
3. Defamatory statements of Latvian counterintelligence about our movement is example of overt pressure of the intelligence agencies of this country on civil society both in Latvia and abroad. A situation where the head of intelligence considers it possible to impose his views on society about what position should the non-governmental organizations take on various issues, we view as a relapse of Soviet past, a relic of the era of totalitarianism and tyranny of intelligence that is inconsistent with the principles of democracy and the separation of powers, with the status of enforcement authorities and intelligence services, in particular.
The attempt to discredit the International Human Rights Movement "World Without Nazism", and, by extension, more than a hundred NGOs, as well as dozens of public and political leaders around the world, who are its members, is unacceptable. Behind it is the desire on the part of the ruling elite of Latvia espousing radical nationalist views, to weaken the growing international pressure to divert public opinion from the topic of split in society, which is partially based on the problem of glorification of Nazism in Latvia. Behind this is the desire of the Director of the Office for Protection of the Constitution of Latvia to substitute activities for the protection of state security with the banal "witch hunt".
Characteristically, the Office of Protection of the Constitution does not respond to any open calls for the destruction of the Jews made on live television by the late neo-Nazi Uldis Freimanis, nor openly Nazi activities of the NGO "Center Gustav Tselminsh." This organization, then known as "Perkonkrusts", was banned in Latvia even during the dictatorship of K.Ulmanis in 1936 for the propaganda of Nazism. In present-day Latvia, this organization, that does not hide its Nazi ambitions, is still in operating legally. The International Human Rights Movement "World Without Nazism" believes that by his statement Ya. Kazhotsinsh discredited executive power in Latvia, representing it in the eyes of the public, on the one hand, as the power allowing interference in the affairs of civil society, and on the other, as a power justifying the glorification of Nazism in his country. We are convinced that it is not so, and in the Latvian government, as well as in Parliament, there are a number of sensible politicians who, like their counterparts in Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, the USA, Israel, Germany and other countries are aware of the danger of radical nationalism in the modern world and are willing to cooperate with our movement in the name of combating this evil. We are always open to such interaction. At the same time, given that the director of the most powerful intelligence agency in Latvia for a few days is trying to discredit our organization and present it in the media as threatening the national security of his country, we expect further provocations, particularly before March 16.
In this regard, we call upon the international observers to focus on the activities of the Latvian special services during this time directed against the anti-fascist organizations, and to analyze the human rights situation and the situation of civil society in the country.
Boris Spiegel, March 11, 2013.