Latvian Saeima becomes first foreign parliament to recognize genocide of the Crimean Tatars


International, Op-ed

Two days ago, the Latvian Saeima became the first foreign parliament to adopt a resolution recognizing Soviet treatment of the Crimean Tatars as an act of genocide, an action in advance of the 75th anniversary of their deportation in 1944 and a response to an appeal by the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars.

On April 23, the Mejlis issued an appeal to the parliaments and governments of UN members states to recognize the deportation of May 18, 1944 as an act of genocide. Latvia is the first to respond positively to this development, something Crimean Tatars welcome as a breakthrough.

The Latvian resolution is available at It reads in part “Recognizing the entire seriousness of this declaration, we call the deportation and ensuing Soviet terror an act of genocide.”

The resolution also takes note of the fact that “five years ago, Russia illegally annexed Crimea and is carrying out the Russian policy of oppression and force in relation to the Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea.”

“It should have been impossible to imagine that the Crimean Tatars for the second time in 75 years are being subjected to harsh repressions and persecutions and have been forced to leave their motherland,” Latvian deputy Richards Kols added. One can only be deeply concerned that “history could be repeated in this way.”

Crimean Tatar leaders are extremely pleased Latvia has taken this step and are calling on other countries to follow its lead. On that, see

Given the international support that Latvia and its two Baltic neighbors received during the Soviet occupation, many groups not surprisingly have looked to them for support against oppression since that time. Baltic actions have been mixed, reflecting the tension between what they would like to say and what they can given their proximity to Russia.

One very much hopes that the two other Baltic countries and then all countries around the world concerned with justice will adopt similar resolutions in support of the Crimean Tatars and against Russian crimes of genocide past and present against them.

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Edited by: A. N.

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