putin 88 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Russian President Vladimir Putin railed against Estonia and Latvia Wednesday, accusing the former Soviet republics of condoning Nazism and the European Union of being indifferent.
Speaking at a Kremlin meeting with members of the European Jewish Congress, Putin also lashed out at Ukraine for allowing veterans of partisan groups that fought both the Nazis and the Soviet Army to hold war remembrances.
"We know that denying the Holocaust in several countries is prosecuted under the law in a series of countries, but at the same times, the actions of the Latvian and Estonian authorities openly indulge the heroization of the Nazis and their supporters. And these facts remain unnoticed by the European Union," Putin said.
Russia in recent years has repeatedly condemned the two Baltic states for allowing World War II veterans who fought on the side of the Nazis against the Soviet Union's Red Army to hold marches and commemorations. Estonia's decision to move a Soviet war monument from its site in the center of the capital, Tallinn sparked heated protests from Moscow.
Heading the European delegation was its recently elected president, Vyacheslav Kantor, a Russian metals tycoon who is a reportedly a close associate of Putin and who was once linked to jailed oil billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Kantor warned of the danger of "nuclear terrorism emerging from rogue countries like North Korea and Iran," and spoke out against "banalizing the dangers" of anti-Semitism.
Kantor also heads the Russian Jewish Congress, one of two major Jewish groups that often compete for influence in Russia - a country with a long history of official and unofficial anti-Semitism.