Ion Duminica: For atrocities not to repeat, we must know what happened in the past

The tale of the Russian recruit who, after being captured on the battlefield, said that he didn’t know he was going to fight in Ukraine, is a fabrication aimed at saving those who order and those who get into trouble as the invasion army consists of professional soldiers hired by contract with sums indicated in the payroll, doctor of political science Ion Duminica, of the Institute of Cultural Heritage, stated in a debate hosted by IPN News Agency.

We should not believe that Russian soldiers found themselves in battle zones accidentally as most of these soldiers are motivated financially and come from remote provinces of the Russian Federation. “They do not need a won war. Their goal is to gain something... That’s why I was astounded by the atrocities committed in the occupied areas,” said the expert.

Ion Duminica noted it is not yet known what they do in the occupied cities of Melitopol and Kherson. They say Russian army, but there are troops that use not Russian symbols, but conventional symbols. Those crimes should be studied and those victims should be documented so as to later find the culprits and this process can last.

The expert drew a parallel with the Holocaust, which was made known in time as only the Jewish population initially had sporadic data about the experienced sufferings. Information was kept secret. The Jews continue to restore names of victims who totaled over 6 million.

He spoke about the
Wannsee Conference of 1942, which made public Hitler’s plans to fully exterminate the Jews. “The German army was entrusted with the task of exterminating the Jewish population that was considered inimical... As to the current situation, we do not yet know what orders were given to the Russians soldiers who found themselves there “accidentally”, as they say, while going to zones of military exercises”.

Ion Duminica said it is very hard to get at the truth. He referred to his own experience of studying the genocide of Bessarabian Romanies in the Transnistrian region. He said he has to talk to survivors in Romanian, to document facts in Russian and Romanians and also the memories of German soldiers in German. “If we return to the atrocities in Ukraine, I can say that we need the unpublished testimonies of slaughterers, of these soldiers who are victims of orders. We must systematize the statements of locals and document the facts at the scene so as to see how those people were killed - it was a crime or an accident, how many of those from mass graves are civilians and how many are soldiers. There could be both Russian and Ukrainian soldiers there,” said the expert.

He noted the data are now insufficient to understand the causes of the atrocities. To prevent a repeat of such events, the people should know the crimes against humanity committed in the past and how these were condemned and punished.

The public debate “Atrocities in Ukrainian zones under occupation: what do they tell about and what do they oblige us to do?” was the 236th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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