Informative material on March 16th


On March 16, some organizations regularly, annually, use false allegations against Latvia and Latvians, including for reviving and supporting Nazism. Such false libel is expressed and disseminated with the intent to discredit the Latvian state internationally. An informative material explaining this date has been developed by the Latvian historians. Dr.hist. Ainārs Lerhis, the leading researcher of the Centre for East European Policy Studies, has also participated in the preparation of this information booklet.

In the material, the most important of all the extensive and complex information available on the topic of the Latvian Legion is summarized. It is explained that the Latvian Legion was created illegally during World War II. Nazi Germany, in violation of the Hague International Convention on the Rules of War, 1907, illegally mobilized the Latvian population in its armed forces. Approximately 115,000 young men were called in, and more than 25,000 to 30,000 soldiers died. After the war, many who survived were repressed and punished by the Soviet occupation regime.

Historians recall that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were historically responsible for this crime. They started the war and illegally mobilized the Latvian population in their armies under occupation. None of the soldiers have been found guilty of war crimes within the Legion.

The material also notes the interpretation of the events of 16 March by the Russian media in Latvia in accordance with their propaganda purposes. Namely, the information about the Latvian Legion is based on facts and their explanations that do not correspond to the historical truth. Every year, Russian public officials actively express their views on the commemoration day in Latvia, calling its members neo-Nazis. All these activities are part of the information war that Russia is continuing to intensify recently, historians say.

The booklet is available in English and Russian.