Thursday, November 27, 2008

UN Adopts Russia’s Anti-Nazi Resolution

Moscow News
№46 2008
21/11/2008 |

UN (RIA Novosti) - The UN General Assembly on social and humanitarian issues has adopted a draft resolution proposed by Russia on tackling a rise in the glorification of Nazism and the desecration of WWII monuments.

The draft resolution on "combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance," is aimed at tackling the practice in the former Soviet republics of Latvia and Estonia of honoring SS veterans who fought for Nazi Germany during WWII.

"Nazi monuments are unveiled in a ceremonial atmosphere and the dates of liberation from the Nazis are proclaimed as days of mourning," Russia's UN representative, Grigory Lykyantsev, told the UN, adding that "this attitude towards anti-fascist veterans plays into the hands of those who call for ‘a pure race.'"

The resolution was passed with 122 countries voting in favor, while 54 delegations abstained, including Ukraine, Estonia and Latvia. Only the U.S. voted against. The resolution is now practically guaranteed to be adopted at the next UN General Assembly session in December.

Parades in honor of Waffen-SS veterans, involving veterans from the Latvian Legion and the 20th Esto­nian SS Division and their supporters, are held annually in Latvia and Estonia. Russia has repeatedly criticized the Baltic States for allowing these parades to take place.

Another former Soviet republic, Ukraine, announced plans in July to erect a statue in Lutsk, western Ukraine, honor of Stepan Bandera, a leader of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) that fought against the Soviets during WWII.

The resolution also raises Russian concerns over the dismantling and desecration of Soviet-era WWII monuments and the "unlawful exhu mation" or transfer of the remains of those killed in the fight against fascism.

The dismantling in Tallinn of the Soviet war memorial, the Bronze Soldier, just before the May 9, 2007 Victory Day celebrations in Russia led to street protests in which over 1,000 people were arrested and one Russian national was killed.

Relations between Russia and Latvia and Estonia have also been strained over what Moscow calls the two states' unequal treatment of ethnic Russians, the alleged persecution of Soviet WWII veterans, and the apparent revival of nationalism and fascism.