RIGA, August 16 (Itar-Tass) —— The action is under way in Latvia to demand that World War II veterans in the republic should be granted the status of veterans of the anti-Hitler coalition, which should entitle them to monthly allowances and benefits.
The action was launched by the party For Human Rights in United Latvia and the Russian Cultural Society Veche.
The party which, in opposition, represented the interests of ethnic Russians in Latvia over many years did not make it to parliament in the latest election in 2010.
As many as 1,158 signatures in support of World War II veterans were collected in the Latvian cities of Yelgava and Riga. The signatures were put to the address to the Latvian and Russian authorities, sources in the party’s press service told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
The party stresses that war veterans do not receive any assistance from the Latvian state. They are not given even the status of veterans of the anti-Hitler coalition, are regarded as just old-age pensioners. The years they spent in the battlefields are not registered in their service records and do not increase their pensions.
There is some relief and payments from the Russian side but far from all war veterans are the recipients of this relief. The number of war veterans dwindles with every year and many of them will have passed away without receiving due appreciation and assistance, the party notes.
Those who initiated the action ask that the status of veteran of the anti-Hitler coalition be adopted with the allowances and benefits it should carry. They ask Russia, as the successor of the USSR, to influence the Latvian authorities so that this problem should be resolved.
The signatures collected will be referred to Latvia’s Saeima (parliament) and to Russia’s State Duma.
“We, the signatories, are of the opinion that from the time of the restoration of Latvia’s independence, the republic’s authorities did nothing to give due attention to war veterans, participants in the anti-Hitler coalition. We regard these people as heroes who saved the world from fascism, so they deserve respect and support at the state level. We call on the Latvian parliament, government and president to work out shortly the status of veteran of the anti-Hitler coalition and determine the monthly allowances and benefits this status should carry,” says the address. It is open to signing to all who wish to help veterans.
The status of fighter of the anti-Hitler coalition in World War II confirmed by legislative acts in Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, France, Germany and Italy. War veterans numbering over 8,000 in Latvia have no such status and receive no assistance from the state. The Saeima rejected more than once the proposals of the ethnic Russian opposition to change this situation.