Saturday, 9 May 2009

Victory day

Today in the Victory park (Uzvaras parks) in Riga the victory of the USSR in WWII is celebrated. For Russian-speaking community in Latvia it is perhaps more than just a Victory day but also a way to maintain a sense of community. Normally Latvians don't attend the event. However the atmosphere in the park is quite sincere. Youngsters are giving flowers to war veterans, grannies are making picnics and singing folk songs and everyone greets each other. At the same time political parties try to promote themselves before the city council and EU elections, while the fussy police forces hope for some ethnical clashes.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus


passerby said...

Right. You may see some satire about the greeting cards they love

Gabriela said...

I can only imagine what were the feelings of those living the end of the war...
Nice pictures.

Anonymous said...

Soviet sympathizers are holding here a campaign glorifying Soviets once every year at this time. Couple of last years they are holding special "George ribbon" campaign, wearing special striped ribbons and making greeting cards with heavy use of Soviet symbols.

Some people have made parodies of that, reminding the Soviet enthusiasts, that Soviet Union and Nazi Reich policies were very similar a the time and at the beginning of the WWII the USSR and the Reich actually were friends and occupied Poland together. See, for example: .

Latvians mostly hate this event because of the Soviet/Russia propaganda taste it has to it. They have victory over Nazism and WWII victim remembrance day on 8th of May, just like the rest of Europe and USA, and often consider the 9th of May (which is old Soviet tradition, now also followed by Russia and other CIS countries) a day of celebration of Soviet-Russian chauvinism.

Explanation? Soviet Union took over Latvia in 1940 and left it only in 1994, when the last Russian army units left the country. Nobody likes conquerors.

It is a pity that sentimental feelings of those old Russian men and women who fought bravely to defend their homeland (Russia) against Nazi invasion, and later settled in Soviet occupied Latvia, are being used by political forces of Neo-Soviets and Russian Nationalists.

The worst is that a whole new generation of young people born to those Soviet settlers has grown up who have never seen the USSR and often have not been to Russian Federation, but are Russian-Soviet "patriots" in their hearts, with some Commie-Putinist junk in their heads, often hating Latvia in particular and West in general and loving Great Russia and Soviet ideas retold by their nostalgic parents.

Seems as if they are people lost at the wrong side of the line bordering separate civilizations.