Egils Levits
Egils Levits

Dear Latvians!

More than 42 000 Latvian residents were forcibly uprooted from their homes and lives 74 years ago.

They were illegally deported thousands of kilometres away from Latvia in cattle wagons.

It was a criminal attack on Latvian agriculture by the Soviet occupation authorities.

Its purpose was to undermine the Latvian identity and weaken the armed resistance to Soviet rule.

Many people's lives were shattered.

Latvia, already weakened by the occupation regimes and the war, suffered a new tragic loss.

The mass deportations of the 1940s are one of the many crimes against humanity committed by the Soviet Union. There is no statute of limitations for these crimes.

However, neither the Soviet totalitarian regime nor its crimes were ever brought to international justice.

The people of Ukraine, whose land has been invaded by Russia, are now paying most dearly for this injustice.

They are paying the highest price - the lives of their own people.

We cannot allow history to repeat itself.

We have a duty to call Russian aggressive imperialism, Russian crimes by their proper name, everywhere and at all times, without evasion. To reveal the true face of Russia to the world.

We want Russia to be punished for its crimes.

We only regained the freedom to tell our people the truth about our past with the restoration of our independence. In today's Latvia, the commemoration of the deportations has a national scale.

The experiences and losses of each individual family are intertwined in a great national tragedy that has become part of our history.

Today, all over Latvia, we will commemorate those who were deported on 25 March 1949.

Their names will be heard along with the names of the places and homes from where they were lawlessly snatched and taken into the unknown.

Let us symbolically bring them back home! Let us remember and commemorate!

Today and always.

25.03.2023. Valsts prezidents Egils Levits piedalās piemiņas pasākumā “Aizvestie. Neaizmirstie” Rīgas Doma baznīcā