On May 12, Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution (S.Con.Res.) 32. The bipartisan resolution is a companion resolution to H.Con.Res. 128 introduced earlier in the House by Representative John Shimkus (R-IL). The two resolutions call on the Government of Russian Federation to clearly and unambiguously state that the occupation and annexation of Estonia, Latvia in Lithuania from 1940 to 1991 by the U.S.S.R. was illegal.
The occupation of the Baltic countries by the Soviet Union was an act of brutal assault on the freedom and sovereignty of the Baltic people. The U.S. and 32 other countries, for nearly a half a century, refused to recognize the occupation and annexation as legal. Yet, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and other Russian government officials insist that the Baltic people “invited” the Red Army to march into their countries, to annex them into the Soviet State and willingly subjugate themselves to one of the most brutal government in the history of modern Europe.
Baltic American leaders hold that the acknowledgment by Russia of the illegality of the occupation would substantially reduce tension and ill feelings between the people involved and would go a long way towards reconciliation between the Baltic countries and Russia. They note that Germany has acknowledged its part in brutalizing the Baltic people by signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 which carved up Eastern Europe into Nazi and Soviet spheres of influence which enabled Hitler to Start World War II. Under the Pact, Baltic countries were given to Stalin.
Russia’s inability to accept the loss of its empire and its ideology is a threat to itself and its neighbors. It would be far better for the Russians themselves to live in a prosperous stable and free society than to gnaw on its neighbors for Russia’s lost grandeur.
On his recent visit to Latvia, President George Bush unambiguously re-endorsed the U.S. position that the occupation of the Baltic countries by the Soviet Union was illegal and supported the Baltic position that the Government of Russia should admit this fact.
Leaders of the Baltic American Freedom League urge Baltic Americans and their friends and supporters to contact their congresspersons to urge them to support the two resolutions. For more information on the resolutions, course of action, sample letters, etc. click BAFL ACTION.