06.05. 2010 World War II: Apologies for past crimes have to precede future victory parades. Tunne Kelam MEP
On May 9, 2010, the Kremlin leaders will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Red Army's victory over Nazi Germany and leaders from all over Europe have been invited to Moscow. "This is probably not the best venue or style to mark the end of World War II. Moscow celebrations generate mixed feelings among many, particularly the nations of Central and Eastern Europe, "declares EPP Group MEP Tunne Kelam.
Five years ago, on May 11, 2005, the European Parliament reacted to a similar Kremlin-sponsored celebration by initiating a resolution on the consequences of WW II. The parliament concluded that "for some nations, the end of World War II meant renewed tyranny inflicted by the Stalinist Soviet Union.”
"The end of WW II in Europe is generally taken to mean that the Allied powers restored freedom to the European nations subjugated by Hitler.
Tragically for Central and Eastern Europe, the coming of the Red Army meant the replacing of one form of murderous dictatorship with another. In Central and Eastern Europe alone, in the first five years after the defeat of the Nazis at least one million persons were killed during the formation of so-called peoples’ democracies. In the Soviet Union, the number of Gulag inmates more than doubled during the period immediately following the war," says Kelam.
"The basic goal of the war – to defeat the Nazi Germany and its allies – was absolutely right. However, one should never forget that the launching of WW II was the result of the August 23, 1939 alliance between Stalin and Hitler. From the beginning, both dictatorships had similar long-term strategic goals – primary among these was world domination. These goals never changed during the course of the war or as a result of changing alliances. Although eventually an important partner in crushing Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union remains co-responsible for launching the very same war, the end of which Moscow rulers are now so eager to celebrate. The Soviet Union also helped Hitler to conquer Western and Southern Europe, supplying the Wehrmacht with all possible strategic raw materials for 22 crucial months of the war."
"Reunited Europe must remind Russia, the legal successor to the Soviet Union, that apologies for past crimes have to precede future victory parades. Continued May 9 festivities in Moscow under the scenario of the KGB-FSB leadership, nostalgic about the collapse of the Soviet Union, will only obfuscate the truth." stated Kelam.
MEP Kelam reminded The European Parliament's “Resolution on European Conscience and Totalitarianism” (adopted in April 2009) concluded that reconciliation on crimes committed by Communist totalitarian regimes can be achieved only by "admitting responsibility, asking for forgiveness and fostering moral revival".
"In the future, the end of WW II in Europe should properly be celebrated in Strasbourg, the symbol of true reconciliation and the cradle of united democratic Europe. It is high time for the European Union member states to implement the call by the European Parliament to proclaim August 23 as a Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian regimes, "concluded Kelam.