Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis has turned down an invitation to participate in an international conference on crimes committed by Communist regimes in Estonia on August 23, saying it sends “a wrong and dangerous political message”.
The conference titled “The Heritage in 21st Century Europe of the Crimes Committed by Communist Regimes” will be held at the Tallinn Creative Hub, as part of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
“At a time when the fundamental values of the European Union are openly questioned by the rise of far-right movements and neo-Nazi parties across Europe, the above-mentioned initiative is very unfortunate”, Kontonis said in his letter to the conference organizers.
August 23 has been designated as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Communist and Nazi Regimes, instituted in April 2009 by the European Parliament Resolution of 2 April 2009.
“The initiative to organize a conference with the specific content and title sends a wrong and dangerous political message that is the result of the agreements that followed the Second World War, revives the cold-war climate that brought so many suffering to Europe, runs contrary to the values of the EU, and certainly does not reflect the view of the Greek government and the Greek people, which is that Nazism and Communism could never exist as the two parts of the same equation”, he said.
“History cannot be counterfeited even though it is written mainly by the winners or otherwise assessed from the perspective of different states. Nevertheless, the historical facts and events recorded the Soviet army as the liberator of Europe and of the Nazi concentration camps and as a redeemer from the horror of the Holocaust”, the minister continued.
“The horror we lived through Nazism had a single version, the one we described above. Communism, on the contrary, gave birth to dozens of ideological trends, one of which was Euro-communism, born in a communist regime during the Prague Spring period, in order to combine socialism with democracy and freedom”, he added.