The idea of an international Tribunal on communism is not new, but now, using anti-Russian hysteria in the West, the Baltic States are trying to bring it to the international level. That would mean such a judgment in practice? Whether it is correct from a legal point of view? And trying to avoid the Baltic countries, lobbying for this idea?
For many years the authorities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia cherish the idea of organizing a kind of “Nuremberg-2”. Ideological filling it will be simple: is Soviet communism as a criminal regime, like the German Nazis, but, unlike the latter, did not receive appropriate assessment at the international level. So it will have to do the Baltics – as the injured party.
“There is no better way to completely discredit international criminal procedure as the creation of such a Tribunal”
The first concrete proposals for “anti-Communist Tribunal” was made in 2015 during the conference, held Estonian “Museum of occupation” with the participation of guests from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Georgia. Then the Professor of the Lithuanian Institute of international law and law of the European Union Mykolas remerica the Justinas Žilinskas told the Lietuvos zinios newspaper that “the establishment of an international Tribunal to investigate the crimes of communism would be a very symbolic act to consolidate the historical memory”. However, according to the Professor, it is “unlikely to be helped bring to justice the persons carrying on Communist repression, because survivors of such persons, in any case in Lithuania, there are practically no”.
Now this issue has moved to the level of the ministries of justice: in February, the Ministry of justice of Lithuania and Latvia received from Estonian colleagues a proposal to start consultations on the establishment of an “international Tribunal to investigate the crimes of communism”. Does it project the real prospects? The historian Vladimir Frankfurt (by the way, the native of Riga and head of the research programs of Fund “Historical memory”) believes that to some extent, Yes: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia try to use anti-Russian hysteria to withdraw its political-historical claims to Moscow on the international legal level. “Existing legal formats in the Baltic States there, so we have to invent something “samolepnye”. While Russia is strong, this political toy the trial of General history at the expense of Russia and Russians has no serious significance, but will contribute to the General chorus for more “rattle.” Well, let’s not forget that “cover” the electorate in the Baltic States the local political forces, it is still possible to mobilize on the interweaving of Russophobia and anti-Communist rhetoric,” said a Frankfurt newspaper VIEW.
In turn, the doctor of political Sciences, candidate of historical Sciences, associate Professor of St. Petersburg University Natalia Yeryomina recalls that international tribunals are set up including the debriefing of military operations – with their help the face of the judges can prove loss of life, damage and so on. That is, the tribunals conduct of country winners.
“And here we see that the initiators of the European periphery, with the opinion that the EU is not particularly considered. Between the countries – initiators of such Tribunal and the Soviet Union, symbolizing the Communist system, there was no war. Moreover, the “occupation” status, which covers the Baltic States, should accompany the military action and be established on the territory of the enemy. Therefore, in these States, so great attention is paid to those military units (the same legionaries of the Waffen SS) who fought against the Soviet army, apparently in an attempt to prove the existence of the war. Before Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are challenged to prove that they were occupied. And this is considered Baltic by the authorities as a chance to defend his alleged innocence to the Communist ideology (although in fact many politicians of the Baltic States was directly linked to her – take, for example, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, who was a high-ranking Communist functionary) and thus to conduct a “cleansing”. In a similar sense, the requirement to establish a Tribunal is a political act associated with the construction of ethno-national States in the Baltic States. And they believe that the result of the Tribunal “occupation”, no one dares to challenge,” said Eremin newspaper VIEW.
According to her, the recognition of the “occupation” and condemnation of communism are closely interrelated. “But these subjects are not relying steps in the development of ethno-centric States, but an instrument of economic pressure on Russia. Please note that calls for the establishment of the Tribunal is justified and the need to obtain compensation for the suffering and forced labor in the USSR. And with whom the Baltic States can still claim this compensation with the successor of the USSR, that is Russia? At the same time, of course, do not care about the suffering and loss, and forced labor camps numerous representatives of the Russian population. Moreover, in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have already appointed Russian found guilty of spreading communism and the “occupation” of the Baltic States,” she warns.
“Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn perceive the establishment of the day of remembrance for victims of Stalinism and Nazism, the PACE Resolution on the condemnation of totalitarian Communist regimes, Resolution of the OSCE PA on the reunification of divided Europe and various Declaration adopted in Eastern Europe to condemn communism as a tool of influence on public opinion is to still turn the idea of an international Tribunal in practice”. However, according to Eremina, if condemned communism (and the Communists were the main historical opponents and real opponents of Nazism and fascism), it will automatically lead to the negation of crimes of Nazism. “Communism and Nazism in many resolutions and declarations has equated to each other, although they are different phenomena. If Nazism is above all the idea of ultra – nationalism and aggressive nationalism, communism, by contrast, is the idea of internationalism. There is a serious danger that the understanding of the threats of Nazism will weaken. And, in my opinion, there is no better way to completely discredit international criminal procedure as the creation of such a Tribunal,” the expert concludes.
Estonian human rights activist, specialist on constitutional law Sergei Seredenko held for the newspaper LOOK legal “debriefing” the idea of the anti-Communist Tribunal. He stresses that designate “specific Communist crimes” and criminalize still bad – although attempts are being made. Thus, the concept of “Communist crimes” introduces, for example, the Polish Law on “the Institute of national remembrance (Commission for the investigation of crimes against the Polish nation”), dated December 18, 1998. In this act, this term denoted “an act committed by an official of the Communist state in the period from 17 September 1939 until 31 July 1990, which is a repression or other forms of human rights violations against any person or social group, as well as other actions performed in connection with such repression and constitute a crime under the criminal legislation in force at the time of their Commission”.
Also, reminds Seredenko, trying to understand the “specific Communist crimes” was made in the PACE resolution № 1481 on 25 January 2006, “Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian Communist regimes”. The resolution States that “all totalitarian Communist regimes which ruled in the XX century in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and still remaining in power in some States of the world, characterized by massive violations of human rights (including individual and collective assassinations and executions), deaths in concentration camps, the deaths from starvation, deportations, torture, slave labor and other forms of mass physical terror, persecution on ethnic and religious grounds, violation of freedom of conscience, thought and speech, freedom of the press, and the lack of political pluralism” .
However, according to experts, these allegations can be presented to the Communist ideology only partially. “For example, Communist ideology, deeply international, does not tolerate harassment on ethnic grounds – such charges can be primarily addressed to the nationalist ideology. Where nationalist and fascist ideology of the regime claim of racial discrimination, the Communist ideology aspires to the social (class) discrimination, which is an expression of “class struggle” and the establishment of a “dictatorship of the proletariat”. It is characteristic that in the resolution the Assembly is not given such a specifically Communist type of terrorism as “the red terror”. The Geneva Declaration on terrorism 1987, which gives the description of “state terrorism”, refrained from linking this phenomenon to any ideology,” says Seredenko.
The human rights activist emphasizes that between the fascist and Communist ideologies have a significant difference scientific. “The preamble of the UN Declaration and the International Convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination contain a clear attitude towards “scientific” justification for ideas of racial superiority: “Every theory of racial differences or the superiority scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and there is nothing to justify racial discrimination either in theory or in practice”. The social and, primarily, property differences to establish not only formal, but actual equality is fighting communism, are objectively existing and scientifically sound,” says Seredenko.
The expert recalled that at the time the Hungarian Communists through the European court of human rights has made the abolition of the ban on wearing red stars in the country. He also highlighted the important fact that, unlike the Nazis, world communism was not defeated in the war – was abandoned in good faith. Thus the theory of scientific communism has not denied, on the contrary, many researchers of social processes are still building their research on the basis of Marxist ideas.
By and large, the current idea of a Tribunal – the personal initiative of the head of the Ministry of justice of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu. “For the last twenty-five years of the Estonian right-wing no new thoughts appeared. A year and a half ago, he and his colleagues, the Ministers of justice of Lithuania and Latvia, signed a Pact that they will jointly demand from Russia compensation for the “occupation”. Humans have two fixed ideas – the Tribunal for communism, and compensation from Russia. However, our former Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas then pulled Reinsalu – say, no money to demand from Russia to we will not”, – said the human rights activist.
“Actually, all this rhetoric about the tribunals and the compensation is a product primarily for domestic consumption, to win votes. I doubt very much that any practical steps for the organization of this Tribunal will be taken in reality. Another thing is that to talk about it in a public space is not recommended. At the time, I – for once in my life! – landed on the pages of our Yearbook of the security Police, which enumerates the different “enemies of the people”, only for the fact that I just said that the idea of compensation for the occupation – for internal use only. That is, quod licet jovi non licet bovi” – he concluded.