Ottawa (April 12, 1997) Over 150 demonstrators, including three bus loads from Toronto, protested outside the Russian Embassy in Ottawa. The predominantly Ukrainian-Canadian group were demanding that Russia respect the present borders of the Ukraine and Crimea. Russian expansionists have repeatedly claimed the Crimea and Sevastopol, the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting during the Crimean War, and wanted these areas incorporated into Russia.
A number of protesters of Latvian origin were asking for the return of Abrene, a district of Eastern Latvia seized and retained by the former Soviet occupiers. According to the 1920 peace agreement between Soviet Russia and the newly independent Latvia, Abrene was recognized as part of Latvia. The new Russian regime has refused to abide by this agreement.
Ottawa’s establishment media greeted the demonstration with a big yawn and ignored it, a reaction consistent with the persistent hostility of the Canadian media to the Eastern European nationalist concerns. The media seems more comfortable whooping up hatred against ancient East Europeans and defaming them as war criminals.