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Monument to Waffen SS Legionnaires Unveiled in Latvia

RIA Novosti

17:42 17/09/2012 RIGA, September 17 (RIA Novosti) - A monument to members of Latvia’s Waffen SS legion was unveiled in a Latvian town, the country’s media reported on Monday.

The monument to members of three SS battalions was unveiled in the town of Bauska on Friday in the presence of local officials and lawmakers.

The inscription on the monument says: “To Bauska’s Defenders Against the Second Soviet Occupation.”

Russian diplomats in Riga, a number of Latvian MPs and anti-Nazi activists condemned the new monument.

“It is regrettable that Latvia, a modern European country, spends municipal funds to honor [Nazis] in the presence of authorities and schoolchildren,” the embassy said in a statement.

Members of the Latvian Anti-Nazi Association said the momunent should be dismantled and removed to a Waffen SS cemetery.

Andrei Klementyev, deputy speaker of the Latvian parliament, also criticized the monument, which “is damaging to the country’s image.”

The Latvian Legion, formed by the Nazis in 1943, comprised two Waffen SS divisions. Its former members and their supporters annually gather for a march in Riga in mid-March.

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