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Bush Praises European Nations Freed From Soviet Rule


George W. Bush shakes hands after the conclusion of his press conference at the Riga cultural center
President Bush says that Europe, wounded by decades of oppression and conflict, is free and at peace for the first time in its history.

In his weekly radio address Saturday, Mr. Bush said armed conflict in Europe ended with the defeat of Nazi Germany, but tyranny in many European countries continued for decades.

Mr. Bush praised countries that fell under Soviet rule, including Latvia, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, for taking "history into their own hands and reclaiming their freedom."

He said the wave of democracy that swept Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 has now swept into countries such as Georgia and Ukraine. But he said the new democracies have much work to do, particularly in addressing free elections and ensuring the rule of law.