This Christmas present: human ignorance. After the EU decision, I believe that we have not learned from the tragedies of history. It seems that communism is still alive in West, and it doesn’t matter the crimes it did in East. It is a shame!
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 21 December 2010 18.15 GMT
EU rejects eastern states’ call to outlaw denial of crimes by communist regimes
Eastern European states wanted Soviet crimes ‘treated according to the same standards’ as those of Nazi regimes
Soviet soldiers with some of the prisoners they freed at Auschwitz in January 1945. ‘For all the terrible crimes of the USSR, you can’t compare the people who built Auschwitz with the people who liberated it,’ said Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff. Photograph: Reuters
The European commission has rejected calls from eastern Europe to introduce a so-called double genocide law that would criminalise the denial of crimes perpetrated by communist regimes, in the same way many EU countries ban the denial of the Holocaust.
Last week six countries wrote to Viviane Reding, the European justice commissioner, calling for the “public condoning, denial and gross trivialisation of totalitarian crimes” to be punished.
Foreign ministers from Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic said communist crimes “should be treated according to the same standards” as those of Nazi regimes, notably in those countries with Holocaust denial laws.
But the EU executive will say in a report due tomorrow that opinion is too divided on the matter and that there is no legal basis allowing Brussels to act.
“There is no consensus on it. The different member states have wildly differing approaches,” EU justice spokesman Matthew Newman told the Guardian. He said the commission takes the issue “very seriously”, but: “At this stage, the conditions to make a legislative proposal have not been met. The commission will continue to keep this matter under review.”
The east European countries point to the EU’s ability to make laws relating to “particularly serious” cross-border crimes and a separate EU decision permitting the crafting of rules targeting racism and xenophobia.
But the commission says neither legal instrument mentions totalitarianism and rejects the idea of double genocide. “The bottom line is, obviously, what they did was horrendous, but communist regimes did not target ethnic minorities,” said Newman.
“For all the terrible crimes of the USSR, you can’t compare the people who built Auschwitz with the people who liberated it. Nazi Germany would probably not have been defeated if it weren’t for Russia.”