17:12 18/09/2012 itar-tass.com
Russia brands monument to SS established in Latvia as act of disgrace

MOSCOW, September 18 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed indignation over a monument, recently established in the Latvian town of Bauska, to former police battalions which belonged to the Legion of the Latvian Waffen SS.

The establishment of the monument to the SS "butchers" responsible for numerous acts of atrocity against the peaceful population of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, is a disgraceful act, an insult to the memories of the victims of Nazi regime, the Russian Foreign Minister declared on Tuesday. It was a particular cynical act also because the organizers of this atrocious act involved schoolchildren in it in a bid to imbue the children with xenophobic, anti-Semitic and racial prejudices, the Foreign Ministry said. Moscow states with regret that far from everywhere international partners harboring in Latvia demonstrated an adequate reaction to the practice of turning Nazi criminals into heroes.

A monument to the "butchers"' from three police battalions which belonged to the Latvian Waffen SS Legion was opened in the town of Bauska in Latvia on September 14. This a first monument built to the Nazi "butchers" who are responsible for the death of hundreds of peaceful civilians. A plaque established on the granite monument which is two meters high says that this is "a monument to the defenders of Bauska against the second Soviet occupation on July 28- September 14, 1944." Following beneath is a quotation from a speech made by the last president of pre- war Latvia Karlis Ulmanis, who declared that" Latvia should be a Latvian state."

The Nazis established two Latvian Waffen SS divisions in 1943. After Latvia seceded from the former Soviet Union and for several years since March 16 had been observed in Latvia as an official remembrance day of the Latvian Legion.

After marches staged by the former SS servicemen in the city center aroused strong criticism in Russia and in the West a decision was made to drop March 16 from a calendar of memorable dates.