As soon as some activists discredit themselves, the others come onto the stage

Recently the Latvian State Security Service (VDD) brought criminal proceedings against Aleksandrs Filejs, a member of the Latvian Russian Union, for his posts on Facebook where he congratulated Latvians on the occasion of 17 …

Recently the Latvian State Security Service (VDD) brought criminal proceedings against Aleksandrs Filejs, a member of the Latvian Russian Union, for his posts on Facebook where he congratulated Latvians on the occasion of 17 June. In Soviet times this day was celebrated as a day of “liberation of the country from occupation”. Filejs also wrote that before the war Latvia was controlled by nationalists who oppressed the working class ant thus they approved entry of the Soviet army in 1940. In his post he also mentioned that “Latvia did not object to joining the USSR”. Filejs encouraged mentioning this date, i.e. 17 June.        
We can find similar examples that deny occupation of the Baltic States and also crimes of the Soviet Union not only in Latvia but also in other Baltic states.   Algirdas Paleckis, grandson of Justas Paleckis, who was a temporary President of Lithuania at the beginning of the first Soviet occupation (1940) can be one of such examples. A. Paleckis was arrested last year on the charge of spying for Russia; however nobody has doubts that the real reason for arresting was the fact that he repeated propagandistic messages of the Kremlin in public that on 13 January not Soviet soldiers were shooting demonstrators at the TV tower, but hidden Lithuanians – snipers sent by the Seimas.
Viačeslavas Titovas, a member of Klaipėda City Board, is another example. He also in his Facebook profile insulted Anti-Soviet resistance after the World War II and called Adolfas Ramanauskas – Vanagas, the chief of partisans, a fascist. In June he was found guilty by the court for libel and was imposed a hefty fine. Therefore, the pressure from the media and politicians made V. Titovas relinquish his mandate of the member of the Board.  Contradiction of the Soviet occupation and crimes of the Communist regime is punished in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. However, each of the mentioned states has a different legal framework in the field of historic memory.           
Neither Lithuania nor Estonia has a single law that determines criminal sanctions imposed for contradiction of Soviet occupation and crimes of this regime. In Estonia prosecution for similar offences or statements can be imposed based on two provisions of the Penal Code, i.e. incitement to public hatred and an article on offences against the state. I should mention Article 233 of the Penal Code of Estonia, which describes offences of aliens who engage in non-violent activities directed against the independence and sovereignty or territorial integrity of the Republic of Estonia. First of all, it describes people living in Estonia who are not citizens of that country or who are citizens of Russia. This group is quite big in Estonia. We can even say that this is the “heritage” of the Soviet Union. After restoration of independence Estonians in order to avoid domination of the outsiders from the USSR in public life lifted some restrictions on possibilities to acquire citizenship of Estonia. In order to become a citizen of Estonia people had to pass examinations in Estonian language, history and Constitution. This was an insurmountable obstacle to most Russian-speaking residents.   
In Lithuania both crimes of nazis and communists are treated the same. The Lithuanian Parliament managed to include equal treatment of both these offences and fines for their contradiction into the Penal Code only in 2010. Another issue in Lithuanian laws is contradiction of Soviet crimes committed during regain of independence in 1990-1991, especially about events on 13 January 1991.   
Latvia, same as Lithuania and Estonia, considers annexation and inclusion of the state into the USSR as occupation. Same as Estonia, Latvia lifted some restrictions for acquisition of citizenship to Russian-speaking outsiders from other republics of the USSR. In 2014 the Latvian Parliament adopted amendments to the Penal Code that determine criminal liability for glorification of the USSR, contradiction of the occupation and attempts to justify it.
The Russian government is categorically against such a position. The Kremlin thinks that statements about occupation of the USSR and comparison of crimes of the Nazi with crimes of Stalin and communists is wrong and distorts the history of the World War II and the history of the Baltic republics before independence.
The fight of the Kremlin with “forgers of history” has long traditions. This doctrine was created during the period of Joseph Stalin. The Soviet dictator was fighting with “forgeries” made by the Western historians and politicians, who used to remind him after the war that he was the alley of Hitler and divided up the Eastern and Western Europe with him.   
The doctrine of fighting with “forgers of history” came into light again after Boris Jeltsin stepped down from politics and Vladimir Putin came onto the stage. The period can be divided into two parts. The first culmination was May 2009 when the Prime-minister Dmitry Medvedev formed a commission against attempts to falsify history in order to negatively affect the interests of Russia. We can find some elements of such a tactics in other official documents defining the Russian strategy in the area of foreign policy (concept of foreign policy of the Russian Federation – in 2008) and state security (state security strategy of Russia until year 2020 – in 2009).      
Despite loud shrieks about the fight with “forgers of history”, the fight calmed down and a peaceful period came. It seemed that the Kremlin stepped back and “forgot” about the doctrine. No doubt that the events in Baltic republics and in that region that Moscow considered as its sphere of influence had a big impact on that. Politicians, who actively opposed the Kremlin, slowly came off the stage. We can mention the President of Lithuania   Valdas Adamkus or the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński. The Russian government restrained its fight with “forgers of history”. 
The situation changed in 2014 after the events in Ukraine.  Russian historians again started working intensively and the Kremlin activated prominent political and public leaders who previously were known as followers of the vision of a new history of Russia.
The Kremlin is again fighting with those who claim that Soviets were allies of Hitler in year 1939 and they started the World War II together. The Russian government fights with those who make public statements about occupation of the Baltic States.   
 
At the beginning of this year the Lithuanian news portal 15min.lt announced its investigative report where it analyses Russian methods how to make influence on the opinion of Lithuanians starting with economic sanctions and education programmes. “Correction of history” is one of the most important trends of the Russian propaganda aimed towards population of the Baltic States. In the light of the intensive russification and events of the last years of the Soviet government and hard start of independence, no wonder that nostalgia for the Soviet past is still very strong among population of the Baltic States. Under such circumstances it is not hard to find followers of the Kremlin interpretation of the history of the USSR. A. Filejs, J. Paleckis and V.Titovas can be assigned to them. This is just a symbolic list of such leaders. In 2014 the municipality of Tallinn decided to move the Bronze soldier (a soviet monument to the soldier of the Red Army) from the city centre to another place. This instigated protests of local Russian-speaking residents – riots broke out, protest demonstrations were organized all over Estonia.  Russian-speaking residents of Estonia treated the decision of Tallinn municipality as ingratitude to “liberators” of Estonia. We can also remember that after events in Donbas, Ukraine in 2014 Karlis Bilans organized a protest at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania. K. Bilans denounced the position of Lithuania that supported Ukraine. In 2015 a group of the Kremlin followers organized a picket at the Embassy of the USA in Vilnius in protest against dislocation of NATO forces in Lithuania. We have a lot of such examples. However, the Lithuanian government admits that it is very hard to make a list of activists or organizations that support the Kremlin. They are very “mobile”. As soon as some activists discredit themselves, the others come onto the stage.    
It is likely that Latvia understands it very well. Even Vladimir Linderman in its comment to the Pro-Russian Sputnik.lv portal noted with sarcasm that Filejs will have no menace. Despite the applicable laws it will be hard to prove that he exceeded the limits on the freedom of speech.
J. Paleckis is still in detention awaiting trial. Despite the public outrage, commentators also say that if his spying for Russia is not proved, he will have to pay just some kind of a fine.

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Autorius: Voras Online