Greece blocks 35,000 migrants, plans to deport arrivals after March 1

first_imgMigrants who arrived in Greece illegally after March 1 will be transferred to the northern city of Serres and deported back to their own countries, Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said late on Wednesday.”Our aim is to return them to their countries,” he told the Athens News Agency. CriticismMitarachi also said migrants who entered Greece prior to Jan. 1, 2019 and are living on its Aegean islands would be transferred to the mainland in the coming days.Athens announced on March 1 that it would not accept any new asylum applications for a month following the build-up of migrants at the border. This has triggered criticism from human rights agencies.The Aegean Sea remained choppy on Thursday and there were no further sightings of dinghies carrying migrants to Lesbos and other Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast.Lesbos already hosts more than 20,000 asylum seekers, many of them living in filthy conditions in overcrowded campsGreece and the EU accuse Turkey of deliberately goading the migrants to cross the border as a way of pressuring Brussels into offering more money or supporting Ankara’s geopolitical aims in the Syrian conflict.Turkey, which already hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees and faces another influx from an upsurge in fighting in northwest Syria, says it cannot take in any more and complains that EU aid falls well short of what is needed for the refugees.President Tayyip Erdogan discussed the migrant issue with senior EU officials in Ankara on Wednesday but his spokesman said the Europeans had made “no concrete proposition” on how to resolve the crisis.Ankara’s change in policy towards the migrants on its soil came after at least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed by Russian-backed Syrian government forces in an air strike in Syria.Erdogan flew to Moscow on Thursday for talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin over a potential ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib, where their militaries are facing off in a war that has displaced nearly a million people in three months. Greece has repulsed nearly 35,000 migrants trying to cross onto its territory illegally since Turkey opened its border nearly a week ago, government sources said on Thursday, as it prepares to deport hundreds of others who made it through.Thousands of migrants have made for Greece since Ankara said on Feb. 28 that it would let migrants cross its borders into Europe, reneging on a commitment to hold them on its territory under a 2016 deal with the European Union.Ankara has accused Greek forces of shooting dead four migrants. a charge rejected by Athens, which says Turkish forces are helping the migrants to cross the border. Both sides used tear gas at the Kastanies border post on Wednesday. Turkey’s interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, visited Edirne province bordering Greece on Thursday and announced the deployment of 1,000 special police to the area to halt the pushback of migrants towards its territory.Soylu, who said on Wednesday that Turkey was preparing a case at the European Court of Human Rights over Greece’s treatment of migrants, accused Greek forces of wounding 164 people and pushing back nearly 5,000 into Turkey.The situation at the Kastanies border crossing was calm on Thursday. Migrants – many of whom are from Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as Syria and other Arab nations – huddled in tents and makeshift camps on the Turkish side of the border.Greek border guards rebuffed nearly 7,000 attempts in the last 24 hours alone, taking the total since Feb. 29 to 34,778 and the number of arrests of those who got through to 244, the Greek government sources said. Topics :last_img read more

Australian clinic closes after doctor tests positive for coronavirus

first_imgFour special coronavirus clinics have now been opened in Melbourne to reduce the strain on emergency departments and GP clinics.New South Wales state reported six new cases of coronavirus overnight bringing the total cases in Australia to nearly 70.Australia will release 260,000 surgical masks from medical stockpiles for immediate use, deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly told a media briefing in Canberra.The outbreak has killed more than 3,400 people and spread across more than 90 nations, with seven countries reporting their first cases on Friday. The economic damage has also intensified, with business districts starting to empty and stock markets continuing to tumble.Topics : He saw about 70 patients between March 2 and March 6.”The doctor…most likely acquired his infection in the United States,” Mikakos said.”I have to say I am flabbergasted that a doctor that has flu-like symptoms has presented to work,” she said, adding the clinic has been closed until further notice.Mikakos said patients have been contacted while the passengers on the flight will be contacted as soon as the manifest is available. Australian health authorities said on Saturday they had closed a clinic and were contacting around 70 patients of a doctor who has been diagnosed with coronavirus after recently returning from the United States.The Melbourne-based general practioner returned to Australia on Feb. 29.He became unwell with a runny nose on an internal flight from Denver to San Francisco before flying to Melbourne on United Airlines flight 0060, Victoria State Health Minister Jenny Mikakos told a televised news conference.last_img read more

PREMIUMProsecutions continue amid lack of indigenous people’s protection

first_imgTopics : LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Facebook #IndigenousPeople indigenous-people customary-forest #Forests forest Log in with your social account Google Linkedin Forgot Password ? A wave of prosecutions of indigenous people who regard themselves as defending their rights continues as local governments and law enforcement authorities fail to contextualize the habits and traditions of indigenous people amid an absence of laws protecting their rights, activists claim.A court in Eastern Seram regency in Maluku recently rejected a pretrial motion filed by two members of Sabuai customary village against the police’s decision to name them suspects for damaging heavy equipment belonging to a logging company operating in the forest.They are two of 26 people detained in mid-February after a protest against logging company Sumber Berkat Makmur’s activities turned into a riot. The protesters say that they were trying to protect the Mount Ahwale forest in Sabuai, which they consider part of their customary forest.Awal Darmawan Akhmad, the sole judge pre…last_img read more

People with bipolar disorder seek strength amid social distancing

first_img“It is hard because I couldn’t see my psychologist for a psychotherapy session. I also don’t dare to go to the hospital to restock my medication because I’m afraid of contracting the coronavirus there,” Olivia told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.Olivia was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2011 and bipolar disorder in 2017.For Olivia, social connections and mental support from her friends and psychologists are essential for her well-being. With the COVID-19 pandemic she now lives in constant worry over the safety of her family, friends and herself. Social distancing, also known as physical distancing, makes it harder for her to seek the optimal mental support from her closest circles.“It needs extra effort for me in coping with bipolar disorder. It is hard for me to concentrate and I cannot think clearly. More negative thoughts pop up when you are stuck at home for a long time,” she said. “Several days ago, I hit rock bottom and I could only get support from my friends through mobile messaging apps,” she said.And although her psychologist offered her online consultation sessions by video call, Olivia said it was far from sufficient.“It was not ideal because it relied on a stable internet connection. Not to mention the 15-minute limit per session because other patients were also waiting in line for consultation sessions with the psychologist,” she said.”I think the demand for mental health consultations has increased these days because many people feel worried and stressful [because of the pandemic].”Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme mood swings that cause unusual shifts in concentration, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. It is associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.The exact cause of the disorder remains unknown but experts believe that a combination of genetics, environment and altered brain structure and chemistry may play a role.March 30 is marked annually as World Bipolar Day to educate people about bipolar disorder and end the stigma surrounding the illness.Mental health experts urge families and friends of people living with bipolar disorder to give them extra support during the COVID-19 pandemic.The codirector of Bipolar Care Indonesia (BCI), Agus Hasan Hidayat, said that most of the members of the group had shared how the COVID-19 situation had negatively impacted on their mental health. The biggest stressor, Agus said, was the news related to the coronavirus.“Many have been worried about access to treatment these past two weeks, especially because there is an appeal that they shouldn’t see psychiatrists except if there is a serious situation that they cannot control,” Agus said. “While in fact they need regular counseling and medication.”There is no official data on how many people live with bipolar disorder in Indonesia, but estimates put the prevalence between 1 to 8 percent of the population, and that nearly 45 percent of affected people don’t get diagnosed properly.The BCI alone has recorded more than 700 people with bipolar disorder registered as its members. Most of them are students and white-collar workers who are now studying and working from home to maintain COVID-19 physical distancing.“People with bipolar disorder need to limit their information intake on COVID-19,” Agus said. “Those living alone in a rooming house are in a more worrying situation because their social interactions and activities are very limited compared with those living with family.”Gina Anindyajati, a general psychiatrist at the Cipto Mangunkusumo National General Hospital, said that while people were physically distant during this unprecedented period, it was crucial to maintain social contacts, especially for those with bipolar disorder.“What we need right now is social connection and empathy. […] Ask each other about their condition, share stories, send each other food, a simple form of attention is really helpful for them,” she said.“It is also important for them to maintain routine activities and a daily schedule. It is also important for them to do something relaxing,” she said.Benny Prawira, founder of Into the Light Suicide Prevention Community, highlighted the importance of people with bipolar disorder getting enough sleep and never skipping on prescribed medication.He stressed that people must first take care of themselves during the pandemic before caring for those with mental illness since it can be a challenging task.“Giving our support [to people with bipolar disorder] when we ourselves also need to adapt to the [COVID-19] situation is not an easy thing to do,” he said.Topics : Being isolated and cut off from social interaction and everyday routines can be hard for everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic. It presents an even bigger challenge to those living with bipolar disorder whose support system is an integral part of their well-being.Content creator Olivia Fabriane, 25, has been working from home for almost two weeks since authorities imposed a so-called social distancing policy to limit the spread of coronavirus by reducing physical contact between people.Jakarta is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country with 1,414 cases and 122 deaths as of Monday.last_img read more

Acting transportation minister cancels Jakarta’s policy to suspend interprovincial buses

first_imgActing transportation minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan has indefinitely postponed the Jakarta Transportation Agency’s policy to temporarily halt interprovincial bus operations to slow the spread of the coronavirus.Luhut, the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister, sought to have an assessment on the economic impact of such a policy, which might prevent Jakarta residents from going to their hometowns for mudik (exodus), according to the Transportation Ministry’s spokeswoman Ardita Irawati..“According to [the minister’s] instruction, the implementation of the operational ban is suspended while waiting for a comprehensive assessment of the economic impact, in line with the President’s instruction in a meeting [on Monday morning],” Ardita told The Jakarta Post on Monday.The ministry, therefore, is dealing with the fast-spreading COVID-19 by spraying disinfectant on public transportation facilities, providing hand sanitizer, scanning the temperature of staff members, offering masks to passengers showing symptoms such as cough and arranging the seats so as to maintain a safe distance between passengers.Read also: Recovered COVID-19 patient in Central Java urges people not to ‘mudik’The Jakarta Transportation Agency initially planned on Sunday to suspend operations of interprovincial and intercity buses starting from Monday to stop the coronavirus from spreading further outside the capital, as Jakarta residents recently left the capital for their hometowns.COVID-19, a respiratory illness first discovered in Wuhan city in Hubei province in China, has infected 698 people in Jakarta as of Monday. The capital, which the government named the national epicenter of the outbreak, recorded 74 deaths and 48 recoveries.Thousands left the capital last week, suggesting the government’s warning to discourage them from mudik was barely effective. In neighboring Central Java, for example, Jepara recorded 1,776 arrivals as of March 24, Purwokerto recorded 2,323 arrivals and Wonogiri recorded 2,625 arrivals.Central Java recorded 81 people with COVID-19, the fifth-highest number of confirmed cases in the country. Of them, seven people have died, while no recoveries have been reported yet.The government reported on Monday 129 new people with the contagious disease, bringing the national number of confirmed cases to 1,414. (dfr)Topics :last_img read more

Bali puts entire village on lockdown after hundreds tested in Bangli regency

first_imgThe Bali administration has made the decision to expand the area of lockdown from one of three hamlets in Abuan village, Bangli regency, to the entire village.The decision was made after rapid tests indicated it was probable that hundreds of its residents were infected by the coronavirus. All the villagers are required to stay at home but will be provided meals three times a day.The decision to isolate the whole village – home to 2,640 residents – was made on Friday after the authority put one of the village’s hamlets, Serokadan, on lockdown on Thursday.Read also: Bali hamlet put under lockdown after tests indicate over 400 people ‘reactive’ to virus Earlier, the administration found eight of the village’s residents contracted the virus through local transmission after reportedly coming into contact with a migrant worker who had just returned from abroad.The Bali provincial COVID-19 task force took 1,200 blood samples from residents of the hamlet on Thursday, of which more than 400 returned “reactive” results after rapid testing. The team also took swab samples of 126 people, with all results coming back negative on Friday.“Sanglah Hospital Laboratory has taken swab samples from 126 residents whose rapid tests show they were reactive to the PCR [polymerase chain reaction] test. We already got the test results and all came back negative,” said the task force’s executive chairman, Dewa Made Indra.The swab tests are being conducted in several phases due to the limited testing capacity of the laboratory. “On Friday morning, we took another 183 swab samples for the PCR test. We are conducting the test in phases,” Dewa Made Indra said.On Friday, additional rapid testing was conducted on 669 residents, with only four people showing “reactive” results.As of Friday, Bali had 235 coronavirus cases with four fatalities. Eight of the total number of cases were foreigners. Topics :last_img read more

AirAsia to resume flights from Surabaya to two major Malaysian cities

first_imgIndonesian airlines are struggling to survive amid the COVID-19 pandemic, having booked combined revenue losses of Rp 207 billion (US$13.4 million) as of April 15, according to Finance Ministry data.In order to keep the company afloat, Veranita said the company had taken a number of cost-cutting measures such as employee salary cuts and airplane lease renegotiations and was also seeking new sources of capital.“We’re currently still looking at which sources of capital we could explore. To do so, we also need permission from the shareholders,” she said.Veranita said AirAsia would fully comply with the Transportation Ministry’s regulation and the government-regulated health protocols for international flights, such as mandatory use of masks and a health document requirement.“We will implement the health protocols set by the government and will require health documents [for passengers],” she said.She added that the airline would continue monitoring developments in the COVID-19 pandemic in both countries, and could shut down the flight routes if there was a spike in new cases.The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has risen steadily with the latest Health Ministry data recording 395 new confirmed cases on Monday, an increase of 349 new cases from the previous day.In neighboring Malaysia, the trend in new COVID-19 cases has shown signs of plateauing, with the country’s Health Ministry reporting 55 new confirmed cases and no deaths on Monday, down from 122 new cases and two deaths on Sunday, according to local media The Star.Topics : AirAsia Indonesia has suspended all scheduled flights since April 1 due to a lack of passengers as the government appealed to the public to stay at home and avoid travel. The government officially prohibited flights on April 24 to and from the country’s major cities as part of the emergency measures implemented to halt the spread of COVID-19.To generate income, Indonesian airlines including AirAsia Indonesia have shifted to cargo and chartered flight services that are still permitted by the Transportation Ministry.“Currently, we are only utilizing 10 of our 28 airplanes. We’re partnering with AirAsia Group’s cargo business company Teleport to run the cargo operation,” she said.Although the airline has been able to shift its operation from passenger to cargo services, AirAsia, as with other airlines, is still struggling to maintain its cashflow. Low-cost carrier AirAsia Indonesia will soon resume flights from Surabaya, East Java, to the Malaysian cities of Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru after they were temporarily stopped on April 1 amid the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the two countries, an AirAsia official has said.AirAsia Indonesia decided to reopen the flights from Surabaya to the Malaysian cities on May 18, following a decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the neighboring country, the airline’s president director Veranita Yosephine said on Monday.“Kuala Lumpur has shown a positive trend regarding the spread of COVID-19, and therefore we decided to reopen our flights to Malaysia. However, we’ll continue to review our decision and maintain our health standards,” she said during a virtual press conference.last_img read more

Experts slam govt for ‘inconsistent, poor’ COVID-19 policies after transport relaxation

first_imgChairwoman Asfinawati of the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) lambasted the new “travel relaxation”, saying that any government policy adopted solely for economic reasons and with minimal consideration of public health was off target.“It is worrying when the policies taken are not based on accurate data. The outcome may be worse, considering the small percentage of our population that has been tested compared to those of other countries,” Asfinawati told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.Despite the government’s claim that the policy was intended to accommodate essential travel for public officials, COVID-19 patients and their families and Indonesians wishing to repatriate, Asfinawati feared that the policy could easily be misused.“How are we going to verify all [travelers]? I said from the beginning [that] what are needed from the regulations are the details. With this [policy], public officials can easily fabricate a legitimate reason to go back to their hometowns. In the end, this would be class bias,” she stressed. The government’s latest move to allow public transportation services to resume, even as the mudik (exodus) ban remains in force, has added unnecessary complications to that nationwide physical distancing policy. Experts say that the move is not only poorly calculated, but also inconsistent at a time when the nation’s fight against COVID-19 should be strengthened, not relaxed. Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi reopened all air, land and sea transportation services on Thursday, saying the measure was necessary for the national economy to survive.Although the new policy applies to certain individuals like state officials and medical workers and carries certain requirements, it has compounded the nationwide ban on all domestic travel to and from the so-called COVID-19 red zones. Read also: New regulation allows businesspeople, officials to travel despite ‘mudik’ banThe government has been heavily criticized for its inconsistent stance on social distancing since the first large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) was implemented in Jakarta.Ride-hailing ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers were left confused as to whether they could still transport passengers when the capital implemented the PSBB on April 10.While the Health Ministry rejected Jakarta’s request to allow ojek drivers to transport passengers, the Transportation Ministry issued a regulation that stipulated the opposite, which many pointed out was a contravention of the PSBB’s implementing guidelines.The government then issued the mudik travel ban on April 21, weeks after affected informal workers had started returning to their hometowns. President Joko Widodo attempted to fend off criticisms that the regulation came “too late”, with an etymological claim that the Idul Fitri tradition of mudik was not the same as the “regular” pulang kampung tradition of returning to one’s hometown.This Wednesday, however, Budi Karya said that mudik and pulang kampung were the same thing and that the government was banning both under the President’s instruction.Economist and political analyst Ichsanuddin Noorsy pointed out other instances that showed the government’s lack of commitment to COVID-19 mitigation, such as allowing international flights to operate normally despite the mudik ban.Ichsanuddin also regretted the Manpower Ministry’s plan to bring in 500 foreign workers from China in direct contravention of the Law and Human Rights Ministry’s recent temporarily ban on foreign arrivals to Indonesia.Read also: Indonesia to revise ‘overall data’ on COVID-19 cases as govt scrambles to ramp up testing“Almost all policies on COVID-19 [mitigation] are inconsistent,” he said on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com, adding that such policy inconsistencies had led to weak inter-agency coordination in the field.“[These] policies are not based on the correct understanding of the problems – [they are] poor public policy formulations,” Ichsanuddin said, adding that he was afraid public distrust of the government could grow as a consequence.Similarly, Lokataru Legal and Human Rights Foundation executive director Haris Azhar said that the central and regional governments were out of sync in their stances on the COVID-19 social restriction policies.“The stay at home order is to reduce transmission. [So] Why is it that the government is now facilitating public transportation?” he said. “It’s confusing, because the regional administrations seem to want strict restrictions, but the central government keeps pushing the other way,” Haris told the Post on Thursday.Haris also called on the central government not to claim that Indonesia had succeeded in “flattening the curve” of COVID-19 transmission as a reason for making new policies.“It should not use language that says we are [now] safe. The numbers are still going up,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

Boris Johnson backs key aide over lockdown breach claims

first_imgJohnson said during Sunday’s news briefing he believed Cummings “acted responsibly and legally and with integrity” after the pair held crisis talks.”I’ve concluded that in travelling to find the right kind of childcare at the moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus, and when he had no alternative, I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent,” he added.Cummings was seen with his son close to his parents’ home in Durham, northeastern England, more than 250 miles (400 kilometres) away from his London home on March 31, the day after he himself reported suffering symptoms.The Observer and Sunday Mirror reported that he had broken lockdown restrictions again and was seen in Durham a second time on April 19, days after he had returned to work in London following his first trip north.beautiful 👏🏻RT @fant1345: Another angle on Cummings arriving home tonight, greeted by neighbours. Credit: Barneyfrost/TikTok #BOOFORBORIS pic.twitter.com/dyBVWzG8NT— Paul Deotherone (@Lucky_Jon_) May 24, 2020 A named witness told the newspapers that Cummings was also spotted in the town of Barnard Castle, 30 kilometres from Durham, on April 12. That witness, convinced it was Cummings, filed a complaint with police for a possible breach of the lockdown rules.Cummings denied the latest claims, which have caused a public outcry, particularly among people who avoided contact with elderly relatives, some of whom died of the virus.’Got to go’ Johnson also announced that primary schools in England are to reopen for some pupils from June 1 as part of the next stage of easing restrictions.The school announcement however was overshadowed by the continuing row over Cummings.Deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries said on Saturday there was some room for manoeuvre in the lockdown rules if both parents were ill, saying “all guidance has a common sense element to it, which includes safeguarding around adults or children”.It was still unclear whether Cummings was symptomatic when the family made the journey.Tory MP Steve Baker, a staunch Brexiteer but critic of Cummings, demanded his sacking, as did another leading eurosceptic, Peter Bone, who said he “has to go”.Many contrasted the decision to support Cummings with the treatment of Scotland’s former chief medical officer and a government scientific adviser, who both had to quit for breaching lockdown rules.Johnson’s backing did little to calm public outrage — and sparked questions about his political judgement.The leader of the main opposition Labour party, Keir Starmer, said Johnson had failed the test and insulted the public who had made huge sacrifices during the crisis.”The public will be forgiven for thinking there is one rule for the prime minister’s closest adviser and another for the British people,” he said. “The prime minister’s actions have undermined confidence in his own public health message at this crucial time,” he added.After Johnson’s statement, the British Civil Service Twitter account posted: “Arrogant and offensive. Can you imagine having to work with these truth twisters?”It was later deleted and a tweet from the Cabinet Office said it was “unauthorised” and they were investigating the matter.Hostile headlines Monday’s headline on the front page of centre-left newspaper The Guardian read: “No apology, no explanation: PM bets all on Cummings.”Even the right-wing Daily Mail criticised the government: “What planet are they on” it asked.Probably not the headline Boris and Cummings were hoping for in the Mail tomorrow after dropping the primary school reopening news this evening.Govt apologists in shambles now not knowing who to blindly follow. Bloody left-wing media witch hunt innit. pic.twitter.com/bYJroGkofy— Ben Watters (@Dynamite_Shovel) May 24, 2020Cummings also denied reports in The Guardian that police had spoken directly to him or his family about a tip off they received on March 31 that he was in Durham.The force insists they spoke to Cummings’s father on the telephone but Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Sunday it was the family who had initiated the contact to talk about security arrangements.Downing Street revealed at the end of March that Cummings was self-isolating with virus symptoms. Johnson was also infected and ended up in intensive care.Britain has been the worst-affected country in Europe according to official figures, with 36,793 confirmed fatalities, up 118 in the last 24 hours. Topics : British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday defied pressure from within his own party and backed top aide Dominic Cummings over allegations he breached coronavirus lockdown rules.Cummings has been a highly divisive figure in British politics since masterminding the successful 2016 Brexit campaign alongside Johnson.But Johnson rejected calls to sack him after he came under fire for travelling across the country with his wife while she was suffering from symptoms of the disease when the official advice was to isolate at home.last_img read more

Russia stares down WWII controversies 75 years on

first_imgRape in GermanyRapes committed by Soviet soldiers as they captured Berlin in April 1945 permeated German collective memory, but are largely overlooked in Russia.A Russian blogger in January was charged with “Nazi apologism” for satirical social media posts that referenced Soviet abuses committed in Germany.In 2016, a newspaper in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad was handed an official warning over an article about atrocities committed by the Red Army during the takeover of the German city in 1945. Ahead of this year’s parade on Wednesday, postponed from May because of the coronavirus pandemic, here are five World War II episodes that continue to fuel tensions.  Topics : World War II erupted after Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded and carved up Poland in September 1939 under a secret clause of the pact.The agreement, which remained classified in the Soviet Union until 1989, has been described by Putin as necessary because Western powers had abandoned the USSR to face Germany alone.He has also lauded the pact as a triumph of Stalin-era diplomacy.Putin was angered last year by a text published by the European Parliament saying the pact helped pave the way for World War II. Invasion or liberation?Soviet soldiers are celebrated in Russia for liberating Europe from Nazism, but for some countries in eastern Europe the Red Army is remembered as an occupying force.The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were forcibly integrated into the Soviet Union, and revile Nazi and Soviet forces alike.Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said last month that the war did not end until 1993 “when the last Russian soldier left” his country. Russia says this narrative is an unacceptable rewriting of history and routinely protests at the removal of Soviet-era military monuments in eastern and central Europe. The Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in 1945 is a pillar of national pride in Russia, used by the Kremlin to stir patriotic sentiment and rebuff criticism of the USSR and its army.Yet Russia’s state-backed narratives about the war and its legacy regularly lead to disagreements with other European countries.Russia celebrates its victory in World War II every year on May 9 with a massive military parade on Red Square in front of the president and other world leaders. Mass deportations During the war, Stalin accused minority ethnic groups of collaborating with the Nazis and deported hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatars, Kalmyks, Chechens, Balkars, Germans and others to Central Asia in harsh conditions.Deported populations were rehabilitated after Stalin’s death, but tensions linger with those that returned.Crimean Tatars, for instance, were deported from their homes and as a result opposed Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.Many Soviet soldiers and officers returning home after captivity in Germany were also likened to traitors and sent to forced labor camps. Pact with Hitler The 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler remains a point of contention between Moscow and European countries to this day. Polish massacre One of many points of friction with Poland is the massacre at Katyn, named after a forest near the Russian city of Smolensk where Soviet secret police shot thousands of Polish officers in 1940 on Stalin’s orders.Until 1990, the Soviet Union claimed the executions were carried out by the Nazis.Moscow has since admitted responsibility, but the legacy of the massacre has been overshadowed in Russia by wider Stalinist repressions.In 2010, during a thaw in relations between Moscow and Warsaw, the plane carrying Poland’s president to a commemorative event in Smolensk crashed, killing all 96 people on board.Investigations into the accident have become a new source of tension between the two countries.last_img read more