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Commemoration of victims of totalitarian regimes. Op-Ed by Victor Pelin


https://ipn.md/public/index.php/en/commemoration-of-victims-of-totalitarian-regimes-op-ed-by-victor-7978_1075710.html

“It’s very good that the liberation from fascist occupation is commemorated, but what about the condemnation of the Stalinist totalitarianism and its effect on the fate of compatriots? The Moldovan authorities do not have an answer to this question. Probably because some of the representatives of the government have the obligation to promote the Russian imperialism in the Republic of Moldova. It’s a pity that the pro-European allies of the Party of Socialists in the Democratic Party of Moldova keep silent and do not pronounce on the issue...”
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Europe’s attitude to totalitarian regimes

The European Parliament proclaimed August 23 as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. It happened on April 2, 2009, before the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the signing of the nonaggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union and of the Secret Additional Protocol that divided Europe into spheres of influence. What matters for the citizens of the Republic of Moldova is the fact that the proclamation took place about a month before Moldova joined the Eastern Partnership, whose objective is to strengthen the political association and economic integration with the European Union. It was normal for our country to associate itself with the given proclamation.

Ten years later, on September 17, 2019, the European Parliament, listing a series of basic principles and tens of documents for condemning the totalitarian regimes, adopted the
Resolution on the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II and the importance of the historical memory for the future of Europe. It should be noted that the European Parliament’s resolution was adopted a week after the desecretization by the Russian Ministry of Defense of archive documents concerning the aforementioned Pact and the Secret Additional Protocol, confirming the existence of this. The fact that the adoption of the Resolution took place namely on September 17, exactly 80 years after the invasion by the Soviet occupation forces of Poland, cannot be neglected. So, the given Resolution is a synthesis document that lays emphasis honestly and very exactly, without equivoques:
 

  • Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union cooperated from political, economic and military viewpoints, pursuing the common goal of conquering Europe and dividing it into spheres of influence;

  • The strategic objective of the USSR was to promote the Communist revolution in the world by triggering a war between Nazi Germany and the Western allied powers so that both of the parties weakened each other and fell prey to the Sovietization. These plans were detailed on August 19, 1939 in the secret message of Stalin to the Political Bureau;

  • The Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact was followed by the German-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty of September 28, 1939, the Polish Republic being invaded first by Hitler and two weeks later by Stalin;

  • The Soviet Union started an aggressive war against Finland on November 30, 1939. In June 1940, it occupied and annexed parts of Romania – territories that have never been returned – and annexed the independent republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia;

  • After the defeat suffered by the Nazi regime and the ending of World War II, some of the European countries managed to recover and to become involved in a reconciliation process, while other European countries, as a direct consequence of the Treaty of Yalta, remained under the Soviet occupation and the Communist dictatorship for half a century;

  • The West’s wish to appease the totalitarian regimes meant that the decisions were taken without consulting countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as it happened in Locarno and Munich. This revealed the West’s vulnerability to these regimes. This thing opened the way to the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact that, for its part, led to the start of World War II;

  • Even if the crimes of the Nazi regime were assessed and penalized through the Nürnberg trials, there is yet an urgent need to increase the awareness level and to carry out moral and juridical assessments of the crimes committed by Communist dictatorships, etc.

Russia’s attitude to the European approach

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin published an article that was translated for the US magazine “National Interest”, by which he pretended to present an alternative view to the view of the European Parliament. He shifted the blame on the European politicians who ruled in that sad period, accusing the current politicians of historical revisionism. According to the President of Russia, the root causes and effects of World War II were as follows:

  • The Treaty of Versailles became a symbol of grave injustice for Germany. It was the national humiliation that became a fertile ground for radical sentiments of revenge in Germany;

  • The Munich Agreement served as the factor that triggered World War II after the Western powers refused to honor their obligations to Czechoslovakia, meeting this way Nazi Germany’s expansionist aspirations to the East, towards a confrontation with the USSR;

  • Poland was also engaged in the partition of Czechoslovakia along with Germany and the tragedy it experienced after the Nazi invasion of Poland was fully on the conscience of the then administration;

  • The Baltic countries voluntarily joined the USSR and weren’t occupied;

  • The USSR rejected Nazi Germany’s offer to join the Pact of the three on the Germany, Italy and Japan axis in November 1940;

  • Stalin and his company acted based on the correct understanding of the nature of the foreign threats to the USSR – the war on two fronts with Germany and Japan – even if the Soviet dictator deserves to be condemned for the crimes and mass repression committed against the own people.

The Russian President didn’t hide the goals pursued by publishing the own view on the root causes of World War II:
 

  • Accreditation of the idea that what matters is the common victory of the allies against Nazism, which, overcoming the contradictions and creating the system of Yalta, saved mankind from global conflicts during tens of years and this thing should be appreciated and improved based on common historical memory;

  • Emphasizing of the huge human losses suffered by the USSR in World War II  compared with Western democracies’ losses;

  • Convocation of an eventual meeting of the leaders of the five nuclear states – standing members of the Security Council – in the existing international context.

What the Russian President avoided saying refers to:

  • The role of the Communist International (Comintern) managed by Stalin, which, at the fifth Moscow congress of 1924, adopted decisions on the Bolshevization of the Communist parties all over the world as a method of struggle for the dictatorship of proletariat, stigmatizing social democracy as the left wing of bourgeoisie, of a fascist character. Consequently, the antagonization of the Socialist and Social-Democratic parties in Europe paved Hitler’s way to power in Germany and then Franco’s way in Spain;

  • The real motivation of the non-joining of the fascist axis by the USSR – Hitler’s refusal to ensure the USSR’s control over the straits in the Black Sea and access to the Persian Gulf;

  • The fact that the Western democracies, which entered the battle against fascism from the very beginning of World War II, imposed the condition of disbanding the Comintern for opening the second front in Europe and Stalin was to do this in 1943;

  • The fate of the European nations that after the war remained part of the Communist camp for half a century.

The details about the role of the totalitarian and authoritarian regimes matter yet. It is evident that the Russian President’s move was aimed at creating preconditions for Russia’s return to the forefront of international politics after the isolation and sanction imposed in 2014 by the Western democracies following the annexation of Crimea and the causing of the war in Donbas.

What does the Republic of Moldova commemorate?

On August 21, 2019, the Government of the Republic of Moldova proclaimed August 23 a day of mourning for the commemoration of the victims of all the totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. President Igor Dodon and the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) didn’t back the given approach. That’s why we didn’t expect the Moldovan authorities to at least issue a press release in memory of the victims of the totalitarian regimes this year. It wasn’t meant to be.

We know that the authorities have an agenda that is aimed at shifting emphases, underlining somehow that Stalinist totalitarianism was yet better than Nazism. In this connection, President Dodon took part in the military parade staged on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Evidently, President Dodon does not want to remember that two tyrants leading totalitarian regimes actually made a pact and then had a life and death war. This means the Great Patriotic War started after the USSR and Nazi Germany during August 23, 1993 – June 22, 1941 had been allies after signing the Boundary and Friendship Treaty.

In the same connection, it should be noted that President Dodon on March 16 kicked off the activities to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Moldova’s liberation from fascist occupation, planning a Victory March for May 9 and another march through Chisinau on August 24, on the historical day of the Iasi-Chisinau Operation. It’s very good that the liberation from fascist occupation is commemorated, but what about the condemnation of the Stalinist totalitarianism and its effect on the fate of compatriots? The Moldovan authorities do not have an answer to this question. Probably because some of the representatives of the government have the obligation to promote the Russian imperialism in the Republic of Moldova. It’s a pity that the pro-European allies of the Party of Socialists in the Democratic Party of Moldova keep silent and do not pronounce on the issue.