Courtesy of Russia Today — one of Moscow’s poorly-concealed propaganda organs — is a reminder that even in the Baltics, often perceived as the gold standard among former Soviet Socialist Republics, the threads of history and the present sometimes lead to unsightly destinations.
During World War II, a number of states that wanted freedom from the Soviet yoke — which is to say, most of them — found that resisting the Soviet oppression was often easiest when allied with the other continental power of the time. One murderous and genocidal regime triumphed over the other, and now the Soviets all too often get a wistful glance backward, while the Nazis are properly remembered as the vicious butchers they were.
Not always, though. In Riga, former Waffen SS members drawn from Latvia — and, in a worrying development, younger generations — march in the streets in remembrance of the people who killed Jews and Slavs as equally bereft of humanity. It is hard to miss the RTcorrespondent’s glee at reminding the audience that this march is only possible because Latvia’s independent courts required that it be allowed.
It is a potent reminder that the terrible ties of history, modern democracy, and a shining example of post-Soviet Europe can still be a toxic mess.