Washington, DC (JBANC) — House Concurrent Resolution 128 (H. Con. Res. 128), recently introduced by House Baltic Caucus co-chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) is gaining steady support just days before an event in Moscow to mark the end of World War II. The legislation asks that the Russian Federation clearly state admission and condemnation of the Soviet Union’s illegal occupation and annexation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania from 1940 to 1991.
In a Friday, April 30, meeting with members of the Midwest Baltic Coalition, House International Relations Committee (HIRC) chairman Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) expressed his backing for the Shimkus resolution. In a letter presented to Chairman Hyde, the Midwest Baltic Coalition stated that Russian acknowledgement of history should strive to be “both factually and morally correct.”
H. Con. Res. 128 now has 17 co-sponsors and is expected to be passed once it is brought up for a vote. Current co-sponsors are:
Mary Bono (R-CA), Christopher Cox (R-CA), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), David Dreier (R-CA), J. D. Hayworth (R-AZ), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Jack Kingston (R-GA), Tim Holden (D-PA), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), James McGovern (D-MA), Mike Rogers (R-MI), David Scott (D-GA), Mark Souder (R-IN), Frak Wolf (R-VA)
Representatives of the Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) met with Congressman Shimkus on May 4 to reaffirm support for the legislation, and to discuss related developments, including President Bush’s upcoming trip to Europe. As Moscow prepares to mark the 60th anniversary of victory over Nazism, there is concern that the occasion will be exploited by the Russian leadership to ignore the dark realities of Soviet history. This includes the occupation and annexation of the Baltic countries and the fifty-year dominance over Central and Eastern Europe. Russians, too, suffered under Soviet rule.President Bush will meet the Presidents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in Riga this Saturday, before travelling to Moscow. On the eve of the president’s trip, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley has also asked Russia’s leaders to renounce the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (MPR) and “to come to terms with some of that history.”The 1939 Pact, in which Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to divide Central and Eastern Europe, has not been invalidated by Russian President Putin. The Russian Federation instead continues to insist that the Baltic countries voluntarily joined the USSR. The United States upheld a 50-year policy of non-recognition of the Soviet occupation and annexation of the Baltics.JBANC will continue to advocate on behalf of H. Con. Res. 128. The occupation of the Baltic countries by the Soviet Union and its resultant terror, mass executions, deportations, and denial of human rights must not be forgotten, glossed over, or distorted.