Last week Latvia caused an uproar in the Russian media over its veto of the joint Russia-Belarus exhibition set to open at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris this week.
“In this way,” the official statement continued, “Russia is building on the Soviet tradition to silence the Holocaust events and sweep them under the carpet.”
The ministry states its objection to the “distortions of the facts of history” contained in the exhibition created by Aleksandr Dyukov of the Historical Memory organization, which in 2012 hosted a similar exhibit depicting “biased and misleading information that had nothing to do with objective academic research.”
Indeed, “Mr. Dyukov has openly threatened Latvia and its citizens (to be more precise, he threatened to burn down the Embassy of Latvia and to kill a Latvian citizen).”
“Such attitudes and behaviour are not in harmony with the spirit of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day which encourages earnest and sincere Holocaust research. Following consultations with representatives of Latvia, the proposed event was cancelled by the Permanent Delegation of the Russian Federation to UNESCO.
In place of the controversial cancelled show, Latvia has offered to screen the film “Contradictory History,” describing the experiences of Latvia’s inhabitants during the periods of occupation. The film invites viewers to get to know the survivors of the Holocaust, Salaspils concentration camp and the Soviet occupation of Latvia, in a balanced fashion.
“Latvia is always open to co-operate and participate in a constructive dialogue in order to clear away misunderstandings and ignorance,” the ministry’s statement insists. “Latvia has consistently condemned all totalitarian ideologies and the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during World War II.”
“Latvia categorically condemns the Holocaust and commemorates its victims. As a member state of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Latvia, both with its own public and internationally, is fully committed to the goals of the Stockholm Declaration in the field of Holocaust education, remembrance, and research both nationally and internationally. Latvia supports every honest and genuine effort directed at research and remembrance of this tragic legacy of the 20th century,” concludes the statement.