Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 156

The Latvian parliament yesterday adopted a Declaration on the Occupation of Latvia, restating for the record the fact that Latvia was occupied in 1940 by the USSR. The document expresses concern over the fact that "the Russian Federation has not recognized the occupation of Latvia by the USSR and does not accept to abide by the 1920 peace treaty in which [Soviet] Russia abandoned claims to Latvian territory in perpetuity." Only 10 deputies, mostly Russian and leftist, opposed the declaration in the 101-seat chamber. (Western agencies, August 22). In reporting the vote, Russia’s official news agency complained that the document implicitly condemned "the Red Army soldiers who liberated the republic." (Itar-Tass, August 22)

The Declaration was prompted by Moscow’s refusal to recognize not only the mutual border established by the 1920 treaty but the validity of the treaty itself, which, in the official Russian view, was allegedly superseded by Latvia’s "accession" to the USSR. Following the occupation, the USSR transferred Latvia’s 2,000 square kilometer Abrene district to the Russian Federation, where it currently forms the Pytalovo raion in Pskov oblast. In a parallel case, Russia refuses to recognize the validity of the 1920 peace treaty with Estonia, notwithstanding Estonia’s offer to renounce its title to Estonian areas annexed to the Russian Federation following the Soviet occupation. Russia’s position gives rise to concern in the two Baltic states because the 1920 peace treaties underscore the illegality of the 1940 Soviet occupation, and support the case for the continuity of the two states under international law until they were able to restore their independence.

Estonia, Latvia Settle Maritime Border Controversy.