At the opening of this week’s Strasbourg plenary session, European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering made a declaration on the 60th anniversary of the deportation of thousands of citizens of the Baltic states to Siberia by the Soviet regime. He told the House “This week we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the deportation of some 100 thousand Baltic States citizens. This enormous wave of Soviet deportation started during the night of 24 to 25th March 1949 and resulted in tens of thousands of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians being forcefully moved from their home, deprived of their civil and human rights and often losing their lives due to harsh and inhumane conditions in the Soviet prison camps. Nearly every family in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as in other former Soviet Union republics, was affected by the cruel force of the totalitarian communist regime. In nearly every family you will find traces of people who perished in Siberia, who were persecuted by the KGB or imprisoned and harassed by the totalitarian regime. This is not a distant and obscure past; it is still very much a living memory in the minds of many people who are citizens of the European Union. Therefore, it is our moral obligation and a fundamental duty as Europeans, rooted in our common values, in honouring the memory of those many victims, to reiterate our strong and clear condemnation of those horrific crimes committed by the totalitarian communist regime in the Soviet Union. Moreover, the victims deserve nothing less than an objective, in-depth and thorough evaluation of the past, because there cannot be reconciliation without truth and remembrance.”
Declaration condemning these crimes will be presented to the Parliament tomorrow. This is important achievement as European Socialdemocrats tried till the last minute to get it out from agenda. Hearings on the crimes of communist last week in Brussels nevertheless had strong impact on Parliament and helped the case happily forward. Czech Presidency and President Havel played important role supporting the condemnation of communism. Looking on year 1968 they know what the communism is.
It is symbolic, that this declaration will be discussed on the day, when 60 years tens of thousands Baltic people were deported to Siberia. Today Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu) passed its declaration, condemning communist crimes and remebering victims of communism.