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Medvedev signs Soviet military graves agreement with Latvia

 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed off on an agreement with Latvia on the status of Soviet military burial sites, the Kremlin press service said on Wednesday.

The agreement is aimed at establishing the rights and obligations of the parties relating to the burial sites of military personnel from the two countries on each other's territories.

Russia has already ratified similar agreements with 11 countries, including with the Czech Republic and Germany.

Latvia and Russia agreed on the document last year against the backdrop of disturbances in neighboring Estonia following the removal of graves of Soviet soldiers, as well as a monument to Soviet soldiers killed while liberating the Baltic state from the Nazis in World War II. The monument was moved from downtown Tallinn to a military cemetery last spring.

The move provoked mass protests and riots by ethnic Russians in the Estonian capital. One man was killed and many injured in clashes with police.

The issue of Soviet-era monuments and graves is a sensitive one in the Baltic states. Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia all have large Russian-speaking populations.

RIA Novosti

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