It is noteworthy that this new gesture of the Baltic country failed to become a sensation because the last several months witnessed lots of “references” of various “independent” states to the contemporary history. In so doing, as analysis of the developments shows, all these events are turned to be well-spiced not only with sorrow reminiscences of the past but also with realties of the contemporary politics.
For example, on June 14-15, Lithuania observed “The Day of Mourning” in commemoration of “victims of massive deportations by the Stalin regime”. As quoted to Cheslovas Yurshenas, Speaker of the Seim, who address the national Parliament on June 12, this date is “one of the darkest dates in the history of the state”. This high-ranking legislator again referred to “300 thousands of Lithuanians deported to deep Russia, to Siberia, or sent to concentration camps”. According to Vilnius’s estimates, each fifth of them died.
On June 14, Latvia observed “The Day of Victims of Communist Genocide”. In this connection the state flags with mourning decoration were posted everywhere, and various mourning events, rallies and meetings were held. The ceremony of guard mount and flower laying at the Monument to Freedom in Riga was attended by top state officials and members of parliament. President Valdis Zatlers said addressing a conference that “deportation of the Latvians was a part of a ruthless plan to annihilate the independent state and etch the feeling of freedom out of the mind of nation”.
On June 14, the events devoted to “repressed innocent people” were held in Estonia. The national flags were dipped. A mourning meeting was held in Tallinn. The meeting was attended by the state leaders. And again they spoke about “more than 10,000 Estonians illegally deported to Russia, many of whom failed to see the day of release”.
On the same day - June 14, National Scout Organization Plast arranged actions in commemoration of victims of “Holodomor” of 1932-33 in Ukrainian cities Kiev, Cherkassy, Poltava and Kirovograd. The actions were supported and “blessed” by President Victor Yuschenko. The 70-year-old scourge of famine once again was called “a deliberate act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation preplanned by the leaders of Soviet Russia, entailing millions of deaths”. Speaking about the actions the official press reported that in November 2008 Yuschenko is planning to inaugurate the first national memorial in commemoration of “The Big Famine” to be built in the shape of “an eternal candle of 30 meters high with a list of all expired”.
In late May, relatives of Polish citizens shot down in Katyn in the 40s appealed to a Moscow court against a decision taken in 2006 by the Chief Military Prosecutor, to close the respective file because the Prosecutor failed to find a proof that the victims were repressed by the Stalin regime. The informer insists on reopening the file. It claims that in Katyn the Soviet authorities shot down about 22,000 Polish citizens taken prisoners after the division of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union in September 1939.
It is evident that so many events coinciding not only in time but also in rhetoric where the key words are “genocide” and “Russia” cannot be accidental and pursue a definite goal.
A principal answer to the question: “What goal?” follows from the following maxim of famous philosopher George Santayana (1863-1953): “A man's memory may almost become the art of continually varying and misrepresenting his past, according to his interest in the present”.
And here we need to (just slightly) look back and see what these ruling politicians in these countries declaring themselves “advocates of memory” and “guardians of the history” want.
For example, here are the abstracts from Western media:
Radio Liberty (USA), January 7, 2008: “Defining the foreign policy tasks Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus said that his country does not abjure the claims to the Russian Federation for compensation of the damage caused by the Soviet occupation. Addressing the Collegium of the Foreign Ministry the head of state asserted: “We are not going to abjure our claims to recognize the fact of Soviet occupation and receive compensation for the caused damage”. The Lithuanian Parliament authorized the Government to conduct negotiations with Russia on compensation of material and other losses as far back as 2001 (at that time the amount in question was about 20 billion Dollars). But after the left-wing administration came to power this matter has not been raised. However, according to President Adamkus, its solution is in the priority list of the Lithuanian foreign policy.”
BBC (Great Britain), April 28, 2008: “By 2009, a special board established in Latvia is going to complete assessment of damage caused to the country during the years of the Soviet rule. As claimed by Chairman of the board Edmund Stankevich at the meeting of the Government on April 28, “a half of the necessary work has been done already”.
The board established by the State in August 2005 consisting of experts from the General Prosecutor Office, police, Ministries of Justice, Health Care, Foreign Affairs, Interior, officials of other agencies, calculates the damage caused to the environment, demography and economy of the republic in the period from 1940 to 1990. According to Stankevich, in particular it is planned to make a full database on political prisoners in the period when the country was a part of the USSR, defined as “the Soviet occupation”. The Chairman said that the board has got the details of 55.58 thousand residents of Latvia, prepared a list of camps where they were detained, as well as published a book titled “Deported”. Besides, the board determined a direct demographic damage, prepared an analysis of the number and composition of the victims of “the occupation regime”, and the negative impact of the Soviet period on the gender and age structure of the population.
It also conducted studies of impact generated by the people's economy structure created by the USSR rulers on development of production in Latvia. The board assessed the damage caused to the environment of the country within the period from 1940 to 1990, damage caused to the human resources and economy due to the war in Afghanistan, direct and indirect damage caused by the Chernobyl disaster. According to unconfirmed data, Riga may raise a claim to Moscow for one billion Dollars for each year of its membership in the USSR.”
Poland and Ukraine do not lag behind “the colleagues” in their efforts to earn an income from the history. The matter in question is not only just a mercantile interest nominated in Dollars and Euros but also an effort to show themselves as “true fighters against the Russian expansion”, and get good appraisal and rating in the eyes of the United States, which is an actual mastermind of “the history-revision campaign”. Warsaw needs money for fulfillment of its far-reaching plans to upgrade its national armed forces (by the way it costs 20 billion Dollars). “Orange” Kiev dreams to gain support to his membership in NATO regarding it as a cure-all solution of the problems it faces these years.
There is lots of evidence that such view on the developments has a right to exist. For example, it is the selectivity in the claims demonstrated by “the democracy rookies”. According to foreign media, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus castigated a proposal approved by the Seim Committee for Foreign Affairs on June 13 to supplement the draft resolution of the Parliament claiming from Russia “to compensate the damage caused in the years of the Soviet occupation” with the similar claim to Germany. The statement on this issue speaks for itself: “Lithuania is not ready to claim compensation from Germany. It is necessary to prepare such step well enough but not to take this idea out of you pocket before the election as a rabbit from a hat. It may seriously damage our image.”
Meanwhile Washington “escalates the situation”. On June 12 the United States observed the first anniversary of founding the Victims of Communism (read the Soviet Union) Memorial, devoted to “100 million people who have been killed by communist totalitarian regimes” as reported by the Voice of America. Simultaneously it was announced that a virtual Global Museum of Communism will open in the global Internet in January 2009. This news was aired by Lee Edwards, who chairs the Memorial Foundation. He also rather frankly explained the cause of this step: “Next year we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Communist regime collapse in Eastern and Central Europe, as well as the beginning of the Soviet empire collapse”.
Only one question arises: Is it an only cause? (It is well-known that Russia is a successor of the USSR, and “the history is the politics turned over to the past” as it was truly mentioned by Russian Soviet historian Mikhail Nickolayevich Pokrovsky (1868-1932).