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Putin accuses Baltics of glorifying Nazis

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MOSCOW, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin, addressing the European Jewish Congress, accused the governments of the Baltic states of "glorification of Nazis."

In his speech Wednesday in Moscow, Putin cited a Waffen SS parade that took place in March in Latvia, Deutsche Welle reported. The parade was banned in 2006, but marchers held it anyway.

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Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were annexed by the Soviet Union when its army drove out the Nazi occupiers during World War II, and the countries only regained their independence with the breakup of the Soviet Union. While Russians tend to regard the Soviet troops as liberators, for citizens of the Baltic States the event is seen as the beginning of decades of dictatorship.

Under Putin, Russia has had a hostile relationship with several of the former Soviet republics, including the Baltic States and Georgia.

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