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Waffen SS Supporters in Annual Parade in Riga, Latvia

March 16, 2024 (EIRNS)—Just a few days after the Latvian President made the outrageous and ludicrous statement that Russia must be destroyed, supporters of the Latvian Legion, which had become part of the Waffen SS during World War II, held their annual parade on March 16 on the streets of Riga. This is not new, but what the old Legion “survivors” have done since the break-up of the Soviet Union. While it is not clear if there are still any actual survivors of the Legion young enough to participate, the celebration is kept alive by right-wing Latvian groups, often with participation of members of the government or parliament.

This year’s fascist extravaganza included Raivis Dzintars, the head of the right-wing National Alliance Party; Seima (parliament) MP Janis Dombrava, who heads the Seima’s National Security Committee; and Janis Iesalniks, an advisor to the Ministry of Transportation. The Defense Minister Andris Sprūds, though not participating in the march, did attend the ceremony at the cemetery to honor fallen Legionnaires.

Ordinarily, there are also counterdemonstrations by anti-Nazi groups in Latvia, where the Legionnaires murdered 60,000 Latvian Jews during World War II. However, two years ago, the Riga City Council banned demonstrations by anti-Nazi groups “because of a possible threat to safety and order”! When Latvia joined the EU, there was some concern expressed about this blatant violation of the UN General Assembly ruling against glorifying the Nazi past, but Brussels paid scant attention to their ant-fascist protests.

Similar pro-Nazi celebrations had also been held in Estonia, but their government participation has become more low-key recently, not eager to have their violent anti-Russian position “tainted” as motivated by their Nazi past. Some participants dressed in uniforms with Nazi symbols and performed the Waffen SS “Horst Wessel” song.