Skip to comments.Russia 'mocking' WWII ceremonies
Posted on 05/06/2005 5:14:29 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
Russian plans to mark 60 years since the end of World War II will make a mockery of the occasion, world leaders have been warned.
A group of politicians, academics and human rights campaigners have signed an open letter attacking Russia's record on democracy and political freedom.
They say official ceremonies to be held in Moscow undermine the memory of those who fought and died in the war.
Signatories include ex-Czech President Vaclav Havel and former US ambassadors.
Moscow has also upset neighbours Georgia, Estonia and Lithuania, who all plan to boycott Monday's ceremonies.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili is staying away because Russia and Georgia have failed to agree on a timetable for closing Soviet-era bases in his country.
In a separate row, Estonia and Lithuania are boycotting the ceremonies because they say their liberation from the Nazis marked the start of Soviet occupation.
Latvia will send dignitaries - but along with Estonia and Lithuania it wants Russia to apologise for the Baltic states' annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said recently that the three Baltic states had been "treated as pawns in world politics" but said Moscow had already apologised and would not do so again.
"Must we do this every day, every year? That is downright senseless," he told German television.
Pro-democracy campaigners in Europe and the US have expressed growing concerns about modern Russia.
In the letter, to be published in full in the UK's Financial Times newspaper to coincide with the 9 May ceremonies, signatories accuse Russia of betraying the principles behind victory in 1945.
They write: "[We] believe the venue and hosting of this event are altogether unsuited to the fundamental principles for which that historic victory... was achieved."
Russia in 2005 lacks strong democratic institutions, while political freedoms, civil liberties and the rule of law are weak, the signatories allege.
"It seems to us a mockery of the occasion to gather there in honour of the 20th century's climactic sacrifice for Europe's freedom."
As well as Mr Havel, the letter's 75 signatories include former prime ministers of Estonia and Bulgaria and academics and democracy activists from eastern and western Europe and the US.
Several current and former members of the European parliament, US congress and UK parliament also signed the letter.
Richard Allen, former national security adviser to former US President Ronald Reagan, has signed, alongside several former ambassadors.
Russia has been accused of concentrating too much power in the hands of the Kremlin, and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently criticised levels of media freedom.
Though Russia did need to gain their own victory against their aggressors at that time, they took the opportunity to then oppress and take over other lands as was attempted by them.
WW2 marked for them the beginning of when they became a version of Hitler with their own behavior on many other countries IMO.
Lithuania thinks the EU is just like Communism.
Socialism for sure, a little totalitarianism, maybe...
Communism, nope, that's far worse.
"Though Russia did need to gain their own victory against their aggressors at that time, they took the opportunity to then oppress and take over other lands as was attempted by them.
WW2 marked for them the beginning of when they became a version of Hitler with their own behavior on many other countries IMO."
Good sentiment but as a mater of fact, the Kremlin had liquidated 12 million between 1921 and the rise of Hitler. And Hitlers rise was possible only because of hysteria in
Germany to the liquidation of hundreds of thousands of Mennonites by the Kremlin.
What is it about people who say, "I have already apologized and refuse to do so again" when they have never really apologized at all?
My coworker is from there. She says nothing has really changed....I asked he why it costs 60 cents a minute to call Lithuania and 10 cents a minute to call Moscow...that extra 50 cents is a tax going into someones pocket.
She would rather be broke in Santa Monica than be back in Lithuania....she lent her sister $2500 to buy a house...her family is always calling her asking for $$$...I feel sorry for her.
I kinda wish Bush wasn't going to Russia to celebrate V-E Day with Putin. Let's hope there are no more embarassing comments about "looking into his soul." Or was it his eyes? Whatever.
The guy has always looked like a creep to me. Once KGB always KGB. He wants to be dictator & is well on his way to being one. He's made the situation in Chechnya worse than it ever had to be, on the excuse of the war on terror, and because he invoked the war on terror we've let him get away with it. I still think he is behind the poisoning of the Ukrainian president. And a day before the US president is due to arrive, the creep insults the US by telling us to "look to our own democracy."
Once again, WHY is Bush going there?????
The article mentions an open letter by Vaclav Havel and others. Is there any link to the text of it?
I haven't seen it.
"...WW2 marked for them the beginning of when they became a version of Hitler..."
True, except that they were even worse than Hitler.
Tyrants are the same no matter what name you give them.
So true, and we have an article where Russia is having trouble saying Stalin was like Hitler posted here in FR.
I know it is painful for them to acknowledge their past as the bad guys, but when everyone else knows, what's the supposed big secret they think they are going to hide?
Actially, it's more of a note than a letter...
Hmm... inappropriate. Havel is a serious man, and is deeply respected.
Bet they(the Soviets) wouldn't have had such a hard time if Stalin hadn't killed almost 20 million of his own people.
I think it's highly unlikely that this or any Russian president will go around in sack-cloth, with ashes on his forehead, begging the forgiveness of every postage-stamp sized country that an ethnic Georgian dictator brutalized 3 generations ago.
What worries me is the here and now.
My apologies for the use of language some FReepers might be unfamiliar with. Here is the translation:
The book title : "Yawning Heights"
The two-liner from it:
"I'm proud of the [sh*t] pile I'm sitting in,
And I am licking my own derriere"
But, to repeat, wasn't the renaming of cities and streets a repudiation of the Soviet past? Does Russia have the temperament and resources to do like Germany, and pay reparations? You know better than most how difficult it is for the Slav to admit a mistake. They can survive any hardship, except for embarassment.
It would be nice if every Stalin and Lenin statue got pulled down, but Putin is president of Russia, not the US. He has a Russian electorate to please, not a Lithuanian one. Those starpyory vote en masse, and still like to wave those things every May and November.
When I was in Czechia, I kept mixing up radnica (Czech for city hall) with zadnica. But that was the least of my worries ;-)
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