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Moscow Furious Over Call To Remove Latvia WWII Monument

Latvian President Andris Berzins
Moscow has protested to Latvia over a petition calling for the dismantling of a monument to "Soviet liberators" in Riga.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Luashevich said on Wednesday that the petition is further evidence of "Latvia's policy of falsifying the results of World War II."

He criticized Latvia's "obsessive wish to rehabilitate the Nazis."

Also on Wednesday, Latvian President Andris Berzins said the petition was simply a populist gesture in the run-up to the 2014 parliamentary elections.

He called the move "a gimmick."

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Bombrovskis said Latvia is bound by agreements with Russia to tend to war memorials.

More than 10,000 people have signed the petition, while 5,000 have signed a counter petition calling for the memorial to remain in place.

Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS