Soviet occupation cost Latvian economy €185 billion, says research

Latvia's economy suffered losses of €185 billion during the soviet occupation, as Ruta Pazdere from the commission set up to calculate the damage caused by the soviet occupation told reporters Monday.

Demographic losses and damage to the environment each caused losses of dozens of billions of euros, said Pazdere.

Today saw the presentation of three new books - Latvian Industry Before and After Restoration of Independence, Colonial Policy of the Soviet Empire and Colonization of Latvia in 1940-1990, as well as Damage Caused to the Baltics by the Soviet Union. 

Speaking at the event, MEP Inese Vaidere (Unity) stressed the need for a common understanding of history, explaining that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were "equally criminal".

According to Vaidere, people are often too uncritical about the soviet period. Information disseminated by the soviet media was all built on lies, she stressed.

Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnacs (National Alliance) said in turn that the Baltic countries should harmonize their methodologies in calculating the damage caused by the soviet occupation.

The fact that budget funds have been allocated to the commission for calculating the damage caused by the soviet occupation proves that the government has the political will to solve the issue, said Rasnacs.

The commission to calculate the damage caused by the soviet occupation was established in 2005 and halted in 2009 during the economic downturn.

Speaking to Latvian Radio as researchers returned to their calculations in 2014, members of the commission said that they aren't hoping that Russia will foot the bill right away, however Pazdere said that the true losses should at least be known both in Latvia and internationally.

While historian Kārlis Kangeris told Latvian Radio two years ago that the committee was created as Latvia had reservations about Russian claims over huge investment flowing into the Latvian USSR during the occupation.

"Latvia created the commission as it doubted this Russian claim, so it started working on its own estimates," said Kangeris.

Related articles
Society
Society