There are very rare moments in a person’s life when events and attitudes towards them can be expressed categorically – white is white and black is black. Usually, everything is colorful. But now here we are – white or black. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the mercantile powerlessness of some political leaders have created a need for the moral cleansing of Latvian society.
In our opinion, the time has come to express a clear position and also support those Latvian politicians who, in fact, are helping us, Latvians, to maintain mental health and one cornerstone of which is self-esteem. The Latvian people have the right to live in conditions that do not harm their mental health.
Consequences of the occupation of Latvia on the mental health of Latvians
The occupation of Latvia by the Russians (then called the USSR) in 1940 and the deportations and torture of Latvians to Siberia have inflicted deep emotional wounds on several generations of Latvians.
Emotional trauma, as well as physical trauma, needs to heal, otherwise, it becomes chronic and chronically hurts. In addition, long-term untreated trauma causes people who are:
- with low self-esteem,
- cannot rejoice but are always ready to endure hardship,
- develop unhealthy humility, for example by easily switching to the aggressor’s language or by giving up their views too quickly in discussions,
- who are kind to strangers and make them smile however at the same time treat their own children with harshness and constant criticism.
In the end, you lose the ability to love others and don’t allow yourself to be loved. Anxiety, fear, and insecurity create dissatisfied, annoyed, easily irritated people who are difficult for others and difficult for themselves in their sense of helplessness – learned helplessness. The nation and the state do not develop and prosper as much as they could if they had healed the trauma.
Latvians’ self-esteem has been damaged especially in recent years, with the festival taking place on May 9th at the so-called “Victory Monument” in Pardaugava. We would like to remind and emphasize that May 9th is not the end of the Second World War to commemorate the dead – in fact, May 9th is the day of occupation for Latvia and Latvians, and those who gather, celebrate, and cheerfully rejoice in their “victory day” openly demonstrates a lack of civilization and respect for the country in which they live. Celebrating May 9th means traumatizing the mental health of Latvians.
Please do not allow May 9 to be celebrated in Latvia
It is not a day that symbolizes freedom or democracy. No, this day symbolizes the occupation and the crime committed against Latvians. What’s more, this year’s rally on May 9th will be seen as support for Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Civilized Europe commemorates the end of World War II and its victims on May 8th, or any day at the Brethren’s Cemetery by the Eternal Fire.
The monument, now called the “Victory Monument”, should be demolished
The monument, whose official name is the Monument to the Soviet Soldiers – the liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German fascist invaders, but is now called the “Victory Monument”, should be demolished. We are happy to denote a part of our annual salary for this purpose. Just as the people of Latvia donated funds for the construction of the Freedom Monument, so the people of Latvia can demolish this monument symbolizing the occupation of our nation with donated funds. If anyone still thinks that this is preservable evidence of history, then the monument to Lenin was not to be demolished either.
Latvia finally needs one language of communication in the public sphere, and it goes without saying that it should be the state language
In a democratic society, everyone has rights and responsibilities, including minorities. For example, to be loyal to the country and to promote its prosperity. At the same time, we want to emphasize that Latvia needs all Latvian citizens who speak all languages, but the language of understanding of the nation in Latvia is Latvian.
An appeal to us Latvians is to get our last courage, to understand and accept that we can no longer and cannot afford to wait any longer and that it is important for us to regain our self-confidence.
We recommend Latvians and Latvian speakers to do two good things every day.
- do not switch to Russian. Our experience is that in such cases, nine out of ten Russian speakers start to speak quite good Latvian.
- Teach that tenth Latvian, starting with hello, thank you, and only after that, if you need it, switch to a foreign language.
We call on the members of our society who speak Russian on a daily basis to unite and say a clear NO to the Russian war in Ukraine.
In the current situation, a clear position is needed. You shouldn’t be somewhere in the middle. This is the moment when Latvian Russian speakers need to rethink which of the two civilizations they choose. The behavior of Russian soldiers in Ukraine clearly shows that the Russians, as a nation, do not really belong to the Western civilization. As a free and independent state, Latvia has long chosen to belong to Western civilization and respect its values. If they are too foreign to some Russian speakers, if they are closer to the model of human relations that is currently being demonstrated by Russia, then there is an opportunity to move. Because in Latvia we will never allow such a model. At the moment, the Russians are raping women and children in Ukraine, playing with children the game “you run and I will shoot you”, rob, humiliate and kill. Russian troops in Ukraine not only leave their slain and wounded on the streets but rob them before leaving.
Do any of you who live in Latvia have the same values?
We believe that the Latvian nation can unite and that Latvians of different backgrounds can defend their democratic and independent state interests and development opportunities together.
Dr.med. Gunta Ancāne un Dr.med. Dace Zavadska