Αρχική Νέα Ελλάδα - Κόσμος Τι λέει το “μνημόνιο για τα εγκλήματα των Ολοκληρωτικών Κομμουνιστικών καθεστώτων”

Τι λέει το “μνημόνιο για τα εγκλήματα των Ολοκληρωτικών Κομμουνιστικών καθεστώτων”

17

Πολύς ντόρος έχει γίνει  γύρω από το μνημόνιο “Για την ανάγκη για διεθνή καταδίκη των εγκλημάτων που έγιναν από Ολοκληρωτικά Κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα” ή το “αντικομμουνιστικό μνημόνιο” όπως έγινε γνωστό στην Ελλάδα.

 
Σε τοπικό επίπεδο το “καταδίκασαν” από την ΕΛΜΕ και τον Δήμαρχο κ.Μεννή μέχρι το ΔΣ του Δήμου Αγίου Μηνά. Ενώ δήλωση έκανε και ο Υπουργός Αιγαίου, αλλά και η ΑΔΕΔΥ, Εργατικά Κέντρα ανά την Ελλάδα και πολλοί άλλοι.

 
Τι τελικά λέει το περίφημο Μνημόνιο;

 

Το Chiosnews.com σας προσφέρει το μνημόνιο όπως είναι δημοσιευμένο στην σελίδα του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης μαζί με τις επεξηγήσεις του και μεταφράζει στα ελληνικά το κυρίως ψήφισμα ώστε να διαμορφώσει ο καθένας την προσωπική του γνώμη.

Στο τέλος του άρθρου  έχουμε τα Links με τις δηλώσεις όσων εξέδωσαν για το θέμα ανακοινώσεις που φιλοξενήθηκαν στις σελίδες μας για να κρίνετε πόσοι απο αυτούς το διάβασαν και πόσοι έβγαλαν ανακοίνωση επειδή απλά κάτι άκουσαν….

 

Summary

The totalitarian communist regimes which ruled in Central and Eastern Europe in the last century, and which are still in power in several countries in the world, have been, without exception, characterised by the massive violation of human rights.

Tα ολοκληρωτικά κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα που κυβέρνησαν την Κεντρική και ανατολική Ευρώπη τον τελευταίο αιώνα, και τα οποία βρίσκονται ακόμη στην εξουσία σε κάποιες χώρες του πλανήτη έχουν, χωρίς εξαίρεση, χαρακτηριστεί από τη μαζική παραβίαση των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων.

The Parliamentary Assembly is of the opinion that the public awareness of crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes is very poor.

Η Κοινοβουλευτική Σύνοδος του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης πιστεύει ότι η δημόσια συνειδητοποίηση των εγκλημάτων που έγιναν από τα ολοκληρωτικά κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα είναι περιορισμένη.

It strongly condemns human rights violations and calls on all communist or post-communist parties in its member states which have so far not done so, to reassess the history of communism and their own past, clearly distance themselves from the crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes and condemn them without any ambiguity.

 

Καταδικάζει έντονα τις παραβιάσεις των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων και καλεί όλα τα κομμουνιστικά και μετακομμουνιστικά κόμματα στις χώρες μέλη του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης που δεν το έχουν κάνει έως σήμερα, να επανεκτιμήσουν την ιστορία του κομμουνισμού και το παρελθόν τους, να πάρουν αποστάσεις από εγκλήματα που έγιναν από ολοκληρωτικά κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα και να τα καταδικάσουν χωρίς διφορούμενα.

 

It also urges the Committee of Ministers to set up a committee composed of independent experts with the task of collecting and assessing information and legislation related to violations of human rights under different totalitarian communist regimes and to adopt an official declaration for the international condemnation of the crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes.

 

Επίσης παροτρύνει την Επιτροπή των Υπουργών να ορίσει μια επιτροπή από ανεξάρτητους ειδικούς με αντικείμενο την συλλογή και αποτίμιση πληροφοριών και νομοθετημάτων σχετιζομένων με τις παραβιάσεις των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων κάτω από διαφορετικά ολοκληρωτικά κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα και να υιοθετήσει μια επίσημη διακύρηξη για την διεθνή καταδίκη των εγκλημάτων που έγιναν από τα ολοκληρωτικά κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα.

 

The Assembly calls on the Council of Europe member states which had been ruled by totalitarian communist regimes to introduce a memorial day for victims and establish museums documenting crimes.

 

Το κοινοβούλιο καλεί τις χώρες μέλη του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης που κυβερνήθηκαν από ολοκληρωτικά κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα να υιοθετήσουν μια “μέρα μνήμης” για τα θύματα και να δημιουργήσουν μουσεία που θα εκθέτονται αποδειδικτικά των εγκλημάτων.

 

I.       Draft resolution
Προσχέδιο Ψηφίσματος

1.       The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 1096 (1996) on measures to dismantle the heritage of the former communist totalitarian systems.

Το Κονοβούλιο αναφέρεται το Ψήφισμα 1096 του 1996 σχετικά με τα μέτρα για την διάλυση της κληρονομιάς των πρώην κομμουνιστικών ολοκληρωτικών καθεστώτων.

 

2.       The totalitarian communist regimes which ruled in Central and Eastern Europe in the last century, and which are still in power in several countries in the world, have been, without exception, characterised by massive violations of human rights. The violations have differed depending on the culture, country and the historical period and have included individual and collective assassinations and executions, death in concentration camps, starvation, deportations, torture, slave labour and other forms of mass physical terror.

 

Τα ολοκληρωτικά κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα που κυβέρνησαν την κεντρική και ανατολική Ευρώπη τον περασμένο αιώνα, και τα οποία ακόμη βρίσκονται στην εξουσία σε κάποιες χώρες του πλανήτη, έχουν χωρίς εξαίρεση χαρακτηριστεί από μαζικές παραβιάσεις των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων. Οι παραβιάσεις αυτές διαφέρουν ανάλογα με την κουλτούρα, την χώρα και την ιστορική περίοδο και περιλαμβάνουν ιδιωτικές αλλά και άλλες μορφές μαζικής φυσικής κατατρομοκράτισης.

 

3.       The crimes were justified in the name of the class struggle theory and the principle of dictatorship of the proletariat. The interpretation of both principles legitimised the “elimination” of people who were considered harmful to the construction of a new society and, as such, enemies of the totalitarian communist regimes. A vast number of victims in every country concerned were its own nationals. It was the case particularly of peoples of the former USSR who by far outnumbered other peoples in terms of the number of victims.

 

Τα εγκλήματα αυτά δικαιολογήθηκαν στο όνομα της θεωρίας της πάλης των τάξεων και της αρχής της δικτατορίας του Προλεταριάτου. Η ερμηνεία των δύο αυτών αρχών νομιμοποίησε την “εξάλειψη” ανθρώπων που θεωρήθηκαν επιβλαβείς για την δημιουργία μιας νέας κοινωνίας και, ως τέτοιοι, θεωρήθηκαν εχθροί των ολοκληρωτικών κομμουνιστικών καθεστώτων. Η συντριπτική πλειοψηφία των θυμάτων αφορούσε τους ίδιους τους κατοίκους της κάθε χώρας. Ιδιαίτερα δε, λαοί της πρώην ΕΣΣΔ που σε αριθμό θυμάτων υπερτερούν κάθε άλλου λαού.

 

4.       The Assembly recognises that, in spite of the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes, some European communist parties have made contributions to achieving democracy.

 

Η Σύνοδος αναγνωρίζει ότι παρά τα εγκλήματα των ολοκληρωτικών κομμουνιστικών καθεστώτων, κάποια Ευρωπαϊκά Κομμουνιστικά κόμματα έχουν συνεισφέρει στην αποκατάσταση της Δημοκρατίας.

 

5.       The fall of totalitarian communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe has not been followed in all cases by an international investigation of the crimes committed by them. Moreover, the authors of these crimes have not been brought to trial by the international community, as was the case with the horrible crimes committed in the name of National Socialism (nazism).

 

Η πτώση των ολοκληρωτικών κομμουνιστικών καθεστώτων στην κεντρική και ανατολική Ευρώπη δεν ακολουθήθηκε σε όλες τις περιπτώσεις από μία διεθνή έρευνα για τα εγκλήματα που διαπράχθηκαν. Επιπλέον, οι υπεύθυνοι για αυτά τα εγκλήματα δεν προσείχθησαν στη δικαιοσύνη από τη Διεθνή Κοινότητα όπως συνέβη με τα φρικτά εγκλήματα που διεπράχθησαν στο όνομα του Εθνικοσοσιαλισμού – Ναζισμού.

 

6.       Consequently, public awareness of crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes is very poor. Communist parties are legal and active in some countries, even if in some cases they have not distanced themselves from the crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes in the past.

Συμπερασματικά, η δημόσια επαγρύπνηση για τα εγκλήματα των ολοκληρωτικών κομμουνιστικών καθεστώτων είναι μικρή. Κομμουνιστικά κόμματα είναι νόμιμα και ενεργά σε κάποιες χώρες παρότι σε κάποιες περιπτώσεις δεν έχουν ξεκαθαρίσει την θέση τους σε ότι αφορά την τέλεση εγκλημάτων από τα ολοκληρωτικά κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα στο παρελθόν.

7.       The Assembly is convinced that the awareness of history is one of the preconditions for avoiding similar crimes in the future. Furthermore, moral assessment and condemnation of crimes committed play an important role in the education of young generations. The clear position of the international community on the past may be a reference for their future actions.

Η Κοινοβουλευτική Σύνοδος πιστεύει ότι η γνώση της ιστορίας είναι  προϋπόθεση ώστε παρόμοια εγκλήματα να μην επαναληφθούν στο μέλλον. Επιπλέον η ηθική αξιολόγιση και καταδίκη των εγκλημάτων που έγιναν παίζει σημαντικό ρόλο στη μόρφωση των νέων γεννεών. Η ξεκάθαρη θέση της Διεθνούς Κοινότητας στο παρελθόνμπορεί να είναι αναφορά για τις μελλοντικές τους πράξεις.

8.       Moreover, the Assembly believes that those victims of crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes who are still alive or their families, deserve sympathy, understanding and recognition for their sufferings.

Επιπλέον, Η Κοινοβουλευτική Σύνοδος πιστεύει τα θύματα αυτών των εγκλημάτων που έγιναν από τα ολοκληρωτικά κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα και ζουν ακόμη ή οι οικογένειες τους, αξίζουν την συμπόνια, την κατανόηση και την αναγνώριση των όσων υπέστησαν.

9.       Totalitarian communist regimes are still active in some countries of the world and crimes continue to be committed. National interest perceptions should not prevent countries from adequate criticism of present totalitarian communist regimes. The Assembly strongly condemns all those violations of human rights.

Ολοκληρωτικά Κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα υπάρχουν και σήμερα σε κάποιες χώρες του κόσμου και εγκλήματα συνεχίζουν να διαπράττονται. Λόγοι του πως αντιλαμβάνεται η κάθε χώρα το εθνικό της συμφέρον δεν πρέπει να εμποδίσουν χώρες από την επαρκή κριτική των σημερινών ολοκληρωτικών κομμουνιστικών καθεστώτων. Η κοινοβουλευτική σύνοδος καταδικάζει έντονα όλες τις παραβιάσεις των ατομικών δικαιωμάτων.

10.       The debates and condemnations which have taken place so far at national level in some Council of Europe member states cannot give dispensation to the international community from taking a clear position on the crimes committed by the totalitarian communist regimes. It has a moral obligation to do so without any further delay.

Ανεξαρτήτως του τι έχει γίνει σε εθνικό επίπεδο σε κάποια κράτη – μέλη, αυτό δεν μπορεί να απαλλάξει την Διεθνή Κοινότητα από το να πάρει καθαρή στάση για τα εγκλήματα που έγινανα από ολοκληρωτικά κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα. Έχει την ηθική υποχρέωση να το κάνει χωρίς καθυστέρηση.

11.       The Council of Europe is well placed for such a debate at international level. All former European communist countries, with the exception of Belarus, are now its members and the protection of human rights and the rule of law are basic values for which it stands.

Το Συμβούλιο της Ευρώπης θέτει σε διεθνές επίπεδο το ζήτημα. Ολες οι πρώην κομμουνιστικές χώρες, με την εξαίρεση της Λευκορωσίας, είναι τώρα μέλη του και η προάσπιση των ατομικών δικαιωμάτων και η εφαρμογή των νόμων είνα βασικές του θέσεις.

12.       Therefore, the Parliamentary Assembly strongly condemns the massive human rights violations committed by the totalitarian communist regimes and expresses sympathy, understanding and recognition to the victims of these crimes.

Συνεπώς, η Κοινοβουλευτική Σύνοδος έντονα καταδικάζει τις μαζικές παραβιάσεις των ατομικών δικαιωμάτων που διεπράχθησαν από ολοκληρωτικά κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα και εκφράζει την συμπόνια, την κατανόηση και την αναγνώριση προς τα θύματα αυτών των εγκλημάτων.

13.       Furthermore, it calls on all communist or post-communist parties in its member states which have not so far done so to reassess the history of communism and their own past, clearly distance themselves from the crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes and condemn them without any ambiguity.

Επιπλέον καλεί όλα τα κομμουνιστικά και μετακομμουνιστικά κόμματα στις χώρες μέλη του, τα οποία δεν το έχουν κάνει έως τώρα, να επαναξιολογίσουν την ιστορία του κομμουνισμού και του παρελθόντος τους, και να πάρουν ξεκάθαρα αποστάσεις από εγκλήματα που διαπράχθησαν απο ολοκληρωτικά κομμουνιστικά καθεστώτα και να τα καταδικάσουν χωρίς καμία αμφισημία.

14.       The Assembly believes that this clear position of the international community will pave the way to further reconciliation. Furthermore, it will hopefully encourage historians throughout the world to continue their research aimed at the determination and objective verification of what took place.

Η Συνοδος πιστεύει ότι η καθαρή θέση της Διεθνούς Κοινότητας θα προλειάνει το έδαφος για μεγαλύτερη συμφιλίωση. Επιπροσθέτως, ελπίζει ότι θα ενθαρρύνει ιστορικούς σε όλο τον κόσμο να συνεχίσουν την έρευνά τους για να ξεκαθαρίσουν και να εξακριβώσουν αντικειμενικά τι ακριβώς έγινε.


II.       Draft recommendation

1.       The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 1096 (1996) on measures to dismantle the heritage of former communist totalitarian systems and to Resolution … (2006) on the need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes.

2.        The Assembly is of the opinion that there is an urgent need for an in-depth and exhaustive international debate on the crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes with a view to giving sympathy, understanding and recognition to all those affected by these crimes.

3.        It is convinced that the Council of Europe, being an organisation which stands for the rule of law and protection of the human rights, should take a clear position on the crimes committed by the totalitarian communist regimes.

4.       Therefore, the Assembly urges the Committee of Ministers to:

4.1.       set up a committee composed of independent experts with the task of collecting and assessing information and legislation related to violations of human rights under different totalitarian communist regimes;

4.2.       adopt an official declaration for the international condemnation of the crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes and to express sympathy, understanding and recognition to the victims irrespective of their nationality;

4.3.       launch a public awareness campaign on the crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes at European level;

4.4.       organise an international conference on the crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes with the participation of representatives of governments, parliamentarians, academics, experts and NGOs;

4.5.       urge the Council of Europe member states which had been ruled by totalitarian communist regimes to:

4.5.1.       establish committees composed of independent experts with the task of collecting and assessing information on violations of human rights under the totalitarian communist regime at national level with a view to collaborating closely with a Council of Europe committee of experts;

4.5.2.       revise national legislation with a view to making it comply fully with Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation Rec(2000)13 on a European policy on access to archives;

4.5.3.       launch a national awareness campaign about crimes committed in the name of communist ideology, including the revision of school books and the introduction of a memorial day for victims of communism and the establishment of museums;

4.5.4.       encourage local authorities to erect memorials as a tribute to the victims of the totalitarian communist regimes.

 

III.       Explanatory memorandum by Mr Lindblad

1.       Introduction

1.       The fall of communist rules in central and eastern European states in the early nineties of the twentieth century raised numerous discussions concerning political and legal assessment of actions and crimes committed in the name of communist ideology. The responsibility of the perpetrators and their possible prosecution has become an issue. In all former communist countries national debates on the subject were held and in several countries specific laws on “decommunisation” and/or lustration have been passed1.

2.       In all countries concerned this question was considered as part of a broader process of dismantling the former system, and transition to democracy. It was perceived as an internal matter, and the guidance from the international community, and in particular from the Council of Europe was focused on the prevention of possible violation of human rights.

3.       In this spirit two reports of the Parliamentary Assembly on measures to dismantle communist totalitarian systems were elaborated on by Mr Espersen and Mr Severin on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights respectively in 1995 and 1996, the former was referred back to the Committee after a debate in the Assembly, the latter resulted in the adoption of Resolution 1096 (1996).

4.       So far, however, neither the Council of Europe nor any other international intergovernmental organisation has undertaken the task of general evaluation of communist rules, serious discussion on the crimes committed in their name, and their public condemnation. Indeed, however difficult it is to understand, there has been no serious, in-depth debate on the ideology which was at the root of widespread terror, massive human rights violations, death of many millions of individuals, and the plight of whole nations. Whereas another totalitarian regime of the 20th century, namely nazism, has been investigated, internationally condemned and the perpetrators have been brought to trial, similar crimes committed in the name of communism have neither been investigated nor received any international condemnation.

5.       The absence of international condemnation may be partly explained by the existence of countries whose rules are still based on communist ideology. The wish to maintain good relations with some of them may prevent certain politicians from dealing with this difficult subject. Furthermore, many politicians still active today have supported in one way or another former communist regimes. For obvious reasons they would prefer not to deal with the question of responsibility. In many European countries there are communist parties which have not formally condemned the crimes of communism. Last but not least, different elements of communist ideology such as equality or social justice still seduce many politicians who fear that condemnation of communist crimes would be identified with the condemnation of communist ideology.

6.       However, the Rapporteur is of the opinion, that there is an urgent need for public debate on the crimes of communism and their condemnation at international level. It should be done without any further delay for several reasons. Firstly, for the sake of general perception it should be clear that all crimes, including those committed in the name of ideology praising the most respectable ideals like equality and justice, are condemned, and there is no exception to this principle. This is particularly important for young generations who have no personal experience of communist rules. The clear position of international community on the past may be a reference for their future actions.

7.       It seems that a sort of nostalgia for communism is still alive in some countries. That creates the danger of communists taking over power in one country or another. This report should contribute to the general awareness of the history of this ideology.

8.       Secondly, as long as victims of communist regimes or their families are still alive, it is not too late to give them moral satisfaction for their suffering.

9.       Last but not least, the communist regimes are still active in some countries of the world, and the crimes committed in the name of communist ideology continue to take place. In my opinion, the Council of Europe, the organisation which stands for the human rights has no right to remain indifferent and silent even if those countries are not Council of Europe member states. The international condemnation will give more credibility and arguments to the internal opposition within these countries and may contribute to some positive developments. This is the least that Europe, a cradle of the communist ideology, can do for these countries.

10.       It should be stressed that there is no question in this report of any financial compensation for victims of communist crimes, and the only compensation which is recommended is of a moral nature.

11.       The 15th anniversary of the fall of communist rules in many European countries provides a good opportunity for such action. The Council of Europe is well placed to carry out this task as almost half of its member states have experienced communist rules.

12.       In the framework of the preparation of this report, the Committee organised a hearing with participation of eminent personalities, whose expertise on the subject has contributed largely to the preparation of the present report. (See Programme for the Hearing in Annex 1). I have also carried out fact-finding visits to Bulgaria (16 May 2005), Latvia (3 June 2005) and Russia (16-17 June 2005) (See attached Programmes of the visits in Annexes 2-4). I would like to express my gratitude to the national parliamentary delegations of these countries for their assistance in the preparation of these visits.

13.       I wish to stress that this report is by no means intended to be an exhaustive account of communist crimes. Historic research should be left to historians, and there is already quite a substantial amount of literature on the subject, which I used when preparing the present report. This report is designed as a political assessment of the crimes of communism.

2.       General overview of communist regimes

14.       The communist regimes, as the ones under scrutiny in this report can be defined by a number of features, including in particular the rule of a single, mass party committed, at least at the verbal level, to the communist ideology. The power is concentrated within a small group of party leaders who are not accountable or constrained by the rule of law.

15.       The party controls the state to such extent that the boundary between both is blurred. Furthermore, it expands its control over the population in every aspect of everyday life to an unprecedented level.

16.       The right of association is non-existent, the political pluralism is abolished and any opposition as well as all attempts of independent self-organisation are severely punished. On the other hand, mass mobilisation channelled through the party or its secondary or satellite organisations is encouraged and sometimes even forced.

17.       In order to enforce its control over the public sphere and prevent any action beyond its control, such communist regimes expand police forces to an unprecedented degree, establish networks of informers and encourage denunciation. The size of police formations, numbers of secret informers have varied at different times and in countries, but it has always exceeded by far numbers in any democratic state.

18.       Means of mass communication are monopolised and/or controlled by the state. Strict preventive censorship is applied as a rule. In consequence, the right to information is violated and free press is non-existent.

19.       Nationalisation of the economy which is a permanent feature of the communist rule and stems directly from the ideology puts restrictions on private property and individual economic activity. As a consequence, citizens are more vulnerable vis-ΰ-vis state which is the monopolising employer and the sole source of income.

20.       Communist rules lasted over 80 years in the country in which they first came into being, namely in Russia then renamed as the Soviet Union. In other European countries it was about 45 years. Outside Europe communist parties have been ruling for more than 50 years in China, North Korea and Vietnam, more than 40 in Cuba, and 30 in Laos. Communist rules reigned for some time in different African, Asian and South American countries under the then Soviet influence.

21.       More than twenty countries on four continents may qualify as communist or under communist rule over some period of time. Besides the Soviet Union and its six European satellites, the list includes Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Benin, Cambodia (Kampuchea), China, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, North Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Mozambique, Vietnam, South Yemen and Yugoslavia.

22.       The number of population living under the communist rule accounted for over 1 billion before 1989.

23.       The longevity and geographical expansion have implied differences and modifications in practice of communist rules in different countries, cultures and times. The communist regime has evolved, resulting from its inner dynamics or in response to the international circumstances. It is difficult to compare communist rules in Russia in 1930, Hungary in 1960 or Poland in 1980.

24.       However, despite the diversity, one can clearly determine common features of historic communist regime whatever country, culture or time. One of the most evident characteristics is the flagrant violation of human rights.

3.       Crimes of communism

25.       The communist rules have been characterised by the massive violation of human rights since the very beginning. In order to achieve and maintain power, the communist regimes have gone beyond individual assassinations and local massacres, and have integrated crime into the ruling system. It is true that several years after the establishment of the regime in most European countries, and after tens of years in the Soviet Union and China, terror has lost a little of its initial vigour. However, “memory of terror” played an important role in societies, and the potential threat substituted real atrocities. Furthermore, if need arose, the regimes have resorted to terror as illustrated by Czechoslovakia in 1968, Poland in 1971, 1976 and 1981 or China in 1989. This rule applies to all historic and present communist regimes irrespective of the country.

26.       According to cautious estimations (exact data is not available) the number of people killed by the communist regimes divided by countries or regions can be made up as follows:

– the Soviet Union: 20 million victims
– China: 65 million
– Vietnam: 1 million
– North Korea: 2 million
– Cambodia: 2 million
– Eastern Europe: 1 million
– Latin America: 150 000
– Africa: 1,7 million
– Afghanistan: 1,5 million

These figures include a variety of situations: individual and collective executions, deaths in concentration camps, victims of starvation and deportations.

27.       The figures quoted above are documented, and if they are only estimations, it is because there is justified ground for suspicion that they should be much higher. Unfortunately, restricted access to archives, in particular in Russia, does not allow for the proper verification of exact numbers.

28.       The important feature of communist crimes has been repression directed against whole categories of innocent people whose only “crime” was being members of these categories. In this way, in the name of ideology, the regimes have murdered tens of millions of rich peasants (kulaks), nobles, bourgeois, Cossacks, Ukrainians and other groups.

29.       These crimes are direct results of the class struggle theory which imposed the need for “elimination” of people who were not considered as useful to the construction of a new society. A vast number of the victims were nationals.

30.       In the late twenties, in the Soviet Union, the GPU (former Czeka) introduced quotas: every district was obliged to deliver a fixed number of “class enemies”. The figures were established centrally by the leadership of the communist party. Thus local authorities had to arrest, deport and execute concrete numbers of people; if they failed to do so, they themselves were subject to persecution.

31.       In terms of numbers of victims, the list of the most important communist crimes includes the following:

– individual and collective executions of people considered as political opponents without or with arbitrary trials, bloody repressions of manifestations and strikes, killing of hostages and prisoners of war in Russia in 1918-1922. Lack of access to archives (and also lack of any documentation on numerous executions) makes it impossible to give exact figures, but the number of victims is in the tens of thousands.

– starvation of approximately 5 million people in consequence of requisitions, in particular in Ukraine in 1921-1923. Starvation was used as a political weapon by several communist regimes not only in the Soviet Union.

– extermination of 300 000 to 500 000 Cossacks between 1919 and 1920

– tens of thousands of people perished in concentration camps. Here again, lack of access to the archives makes the research impossible.

– 690 000 people arbitrarily sentenced to death and executed as a result of the “purge” in the communist party in 1937-1938. Thousands of others were deported or placed in the camps. In total, between 1 October 1936 and 1 November 1938, approximately 1 565 000 people were arrested, and out of this figure 668 305 were executed. According to many researchers these figures are underestimated and should be verified when all the archives become accessible.

– massive assassinations of approximately 30 000 “kulaks” (rich peasantry) during the forced collectivisation of 1929-1933. A further 2 million were deported in 1930-1932.

– thousands of ordinary people in the Soviet Union accused of relations with “enemies” and executed in the period preceding the second world war. For example, in 1937, approximately 144 000 people were arrested and out of this figure 110 000 were executed after being accused of contacts with Polish citizens living in the Soviet Union. Also in 1937, 42 000 people were executed on the grounds of relations with German workers in the USSR.

– 6 million Ukrainians starved to death following a deliberate state policy in 1932-1933

– assassinations and deportations of hundreds of thousands of Polish, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Moldavians and inhabitants of Besarabia in 1939-1941 and 1944-1945;

– deportation of Volga Germans in 1941, Crimean Tartars in 1943, Chechens and Ingush in 1944;

– deportation and extermination of one fourth of the population in Cambodia in 1975-1978;

– millions of victims of criminal policies of Mao Zedong in China and Kim Ir Sen in North Korea. Here again, lack of documentation does not allow for precise data;

– numerous victims in other parts of the world, Africa, Asia and Latin America, in countries which call themselves communist and make direct reference to communist ideology.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There is literally no country or area under communist rules which would not be able to establish its own list of suffering.

32.       Concentration camps established by the first communist regime as early as in September 1918 have become one of the most shameful symbols of communist regimes. In 1921, there were already 107 camps which accommodated over 50 000 detainees. The extremely high mortality in these camps can be illustrated by the situation in Kronstadt Camp: out of 6500 detainees placed in the camp in March 1921, only 1500 were alive a year later.

33.       In 1940, the number of detainees amounts to 2 350 000 accommodated in 53 concentration complexes, 425 special colonies, 50 colonies for minors and 90 houses for new-borns.

34.       Throughout the 1940s there were on average 2,5 million detainees in camps at any time. In light of the high mortality rate that meant that actual number of people who were placed in camps was much higher.

35.       In total, between 15 and 20 million people passed through the camps between 1930 and 1953.

36.       Concentration camps have also been introduced in other communist regimes, notably in China, North Korea, Cambodia and Vietnam.

37.       Invasion by the Soviet Army of several countries during the Second World War was systematically followed by massive terror, arrests, deportations and assassinations. Among the countries most affected was Poland (an estimated 440 000 victims in 1939, including the assassination of the Polish officers prisoners of war in Katyn, in 1940), Estonia (175 000 victims including assassination of 800 officers which amounts to 17,5 % of the whole population), Lithuania, Latvia (119 000 victims), Besarabia and North Bukovina.

38.       Deportations of whole nations were a common political measure particularly during the Second World War. In 1940-41, approximately 330 000 Polish citizens living in the areas occupied by the Soviet Army were deported to Eastern Soviet Union, mainly to Kazakhstan. 900 000 Germans from Volga region were deported in autumn 1941; 93 000 Kalmouks were deported in December 1943; 521 000 Chechen and Ingushetian people were deported in February 1944; 180 000 Crimean Tartars were deported in 1944. The list would not be complete without mentioning Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Armenians from the Crimea, Meshketian Turks and Kurds from Caucasus.

39.       Deportations also affected political opponents. Since 1920, the political opponents in Russia were deported to the Solovki Islands. In 1927, the camp built in Solovki contained 13 000 detainees representing 48 different nationalities.

40.       The most violent crimes of the communist regimes like mass murder and genocide, torture, slave labour, and other forms of mass, physical terror have continued in the Soviet Union, and to a lesser extent in other European countries until the death of Stalin.

41.       Since mid-1950s terror in the European communist countries significantly decreased but selective persecution of various groups and individuals has continued. It included police surveillance, arrests, imprisonment, fines, coerced psychiatric treatment, various restrictions of freedom of movement, discrimination of employment often resulting in poverty and professional exclusion, public humiliation and slander. The post-Stalinist European communist regimes have exploited the widespread fear of potential persecutions well present in collective memory. In the long term, however, memory of past horrors has gradually weakened having less influence on young generations.

42.       However, even during these relatively calm periods, communist regimes have been capable of resorting to massive violence if necessary, as illustrated by the events in Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, or in Poland in 1956, 1968, 1970 and 1981.

43.       The fall of communist rules in the Soviet Union and other European countries has facilitated access to certain archives documenting communist crimes. Before 1990s, these archives were completely inaccessible. The documents which can be found there constitute an important source of information on mechanisms of ruling and decision making, and complement the historic knowledge on the functioning of communist systems.

4.       Conclusions

44.       It seems to be confirmed that the criminal dimension of communist regimes has not been the result of circumstances but rather the consequence of deliberate policies elaborated on by the founders of such regimes even before they took power. Historic Communist leaders have never hidden their objectives which were the dictatorship of proletariat, elimination of political opponents and categories of population incompatible with the new model of society.

45.       The communist ideology, wherever and whenever implemented, be it in Europe or elsewhere, has always resulted in massive terror, crimes and large scale violation of human rights. When analysing the consequences of the implementation of this ideology, one cannot ignore the similarities with the consequences of the implementation of another ideology of 20th century, namely nazism. Although mutually hostile, these two regimes shared a number of common features.

46.       However, whereas the criminal and condemnable character of the Nazi ideology and regime has been uncontroversial, at least for half a century, and its leaders and many perpetrators were held accountable, the communist ideology and regimes have not encountered a comparable reaction. The crimes have rarely been subject to legal prosecution, and many of the perpetrators have never been brought to justice. Communist parties are still active in some countries, and they have not even distanced themselves from the past when they supported and collaborated with the criminal communist regimes.

47.       Communist symbols are openly used, and public awareness of communist crimes is very poor. This is particularly obvious when compared to public knowledge of nazism crimes. The education of young generations in many countries certainly does not help to decrease this gap.

48.       Political and economic interests of particular countries affect the degree of criticism of some still active communist regimes. It is particularly visible in the case of China.

49.       As Rapporteur I am of the opinion that there should be no further undue delay in condemning the communist ideology and regimes at international level. This should be done both by the Assembly at parliamentary level and by the Committee of Ministers at intergovernmental level. Personally, I do not share the position of some colleagues that a clear distinction should be made between ideology and practice. The latter drives from the former and sooner or later the initial good intentions are overtaken by the totalitarian one party system and its abuses.

50.       It should be clear, however, these are crimes committed in the name of communist ideology which are condemned, and not any particular country. Russians themselves were the first and most numerous victims of the communist ideology. In every single country where the communists have taken over power, the crimes were comparable. This report will hopefully contribute to further reconciliation based on the historical truth and comprehension.

51.       The Assembly should recommend to the Committee of Ministers the setting up of a committee which would carry out comprehensive investigations concerning communist crimes in Council of Europe member States. At the same time, the member States which have not done so yet, should be urged to establish such committees at national level. These committees would be expected to co-operate closely with the Council of Europe committee.

52.       The ultimate goal of the work of the Council of Europe and national committees would be to establish facts and propose concrete measures aimed at bringing quick justice and compensation, and pay tribute to the memory of the victims.

53.       The necessary condition for the success of the work of the committees is access to archives, particularly in Russia. Therefore, the relevant legislation in the countries concerned and particularly in Russia, should comply with the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation (2000) 13 on a European policy on access to archives;

54.       Last but not least, the Committee of Ministers should initiate an awareness campaign in Council of Europe member States on the crimes of communism. That would include the revision of school books. The Council of Europe member States should be encouraged to do so at national level.