Victims of Stalinism remembered in Kazakhstan

Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs joined Latvia's ambassador to Kazakhstan Juris Maklakovs Thursday in a ceremony outside the Kazakh capital Astana to remember Latvian victims of communism who were forcibly taken from their homeland and relocated on the desolate Central Asian steppe.

The Akmoļinska camp housed around 4,500 women in 1946, of whom 102 were from Latvia, whose only crime was being the wives of so-called "traitors" - a catch-all description of anyone not blindly obeying Stalin.

A memorial sign dedicated to the women was unveiled by Ušakovs who said: "Almost every Lavian family has been affected by the Stalinist repressions. That is why we believe it is so important to honor the victims of Stalin's criminal regime. This is a reminder that we must do everything possible so that such things are never accepted."

The visit to the Gulag camp came a day after around 40 Latvian businesses plus officials participated in a Kazakh-Latvian business forum to promote trade links between the two countries.

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