The pro-Russian newspaper, Georgia and the World, made a publication in the social network claiming that Latvia’s main Christmas tree was decorated with Nazi symbols – swastikas. The information in the publication is presented with a distorted context that mislead the readers. In fact, Christmas tree was decorated not by Nazi symbols, but with Latvia’s national symbol ugunskrusts (Fire Cross).
Swastika as a graphic symbol originated in a prehistoric era, in the territory of modern Asia, long before Germany’s emergence as a nation, let alone invention of fascism. The fact that swastika was used as a symbol of Nazism in the 1930ies does not change its historic origins. Similarly, a star is also used as a symbol of different ideologies, including communism and Satanism. However, nobody considers a star to be a symbol of communism or Satanism alone.
Latvia’s Christmas trees are decorated not with swastikas, but with Latvia’s national symbol ugunskrusts – Fire which was identified in Latvia’s geographic area as early as in III-IV century AD. Latvian National Encyclopaedia of the Ministry of Culture also underlines cultural importance of Fire Cross. The encyclopaedia says that “In the territory of Latvia, the oldest finds of the fire cross date back to the 3rd century. In the following centuries, the fire cross can be found in the archaeological material of all the ethnic groups living in the territory of Latvia."
At the same time, according to the encyclopaedia’s entry the use the symbol is illegal in Latvia within the context of Nazism. However, the law does not prohibit its use as an ancient national symbol.
Therefore, Latvia’s Christmas tree features not Nazi swastika, but Latvia’s national symbol. Therefore, information disseminated by the Georgia and the World is a manipulation.
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