Igor Boțan: Danger of repeat of horrors that society experienced under communist regime still exists

The danger of a repeat of the horrors experienced by society under the communist totalitarian regime hasn’t been overcome as long as communism hasn’t been subject to a condemnation trial similar to the Nuremberg trials, the permanent expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan stated in a public debate  titled “History, an international antidote to political repression. The expert said that in the case of Nazism, which was tried by a Nuremberg tribunal, things are very clear, but when we compare communism and Nazism, the conclusions will be different.

“As far as communism is concerned, we see that the efforts made in Moldova to ban symbols were declared unconstitutional. But at the level of the European Union, there are also only proclamations, statements, resolutions condemning the repressions of the communist regime,” noted Igor Boțan. He said that we also have political parties that glorify the Soviet Bolshevik experience, including the experience of partitioning Poland in 1939. The expert went on to say that the remedy for these manifestations and even relapses can only be the memory that is cultivated by scientists, historians, while the citizens, the young generations must know that the victims of the communist regime exceed at least 2-3 times the victims of the Nazi regime.

“We must understand the whole mechanism of repression and deduce that this mechanism was so well elaborated, and subsequently exported to Central and Eastern European countries, that this phenomenon must be regarded as a whole. It all began with the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in 1917. With the dissolution of the Assembly, on the basis of which Russia could become a democratic country, the protests of the workers, for whose sake the revolution was supposedly mounted, were suppressed in St. Petersburg. Then war communism was introduced and the Bolsheviks meanwhile had to destroy some of their allies. After that the Red Terror began, which practically destroyed all those who dared to support Lenin’s Putsch of 1917. Later, the Civil War expanded also because Bolshevik Russia remained an agrarian country, with a proportion of peasants of about 80-85%. The Civil War was a war against the peasantry and in that war we all remember that all inventions that were later also used in the occupied Eastern European countries were applied. I mean decimation, hostage-taking, until the peasantry was defeated. Thus, the Red Terror was the first stage,” said the expert.

Igor Boțan noted that the second stage began when Stalin became the “master” of the Soviet Union. In 1936-1938, the Great Terror destroyed the entire Soviet elite. The third stage followed then, the so-called “state anti-Semitism” in the Soviet Union, which lasted from 1938 to 1953, until Stalin’s death. After World War II, in 1944-1945 until 1947, where the Soviet forces came with the methods that the NKVD had accumulated at the previous stages, communist regimes that applied all the Stalinist methods were fortified. As a result, in March 1947, the United States through the so-called Truman doctrine began the process of limiting the communist regime, after which the Cold War started to the fullest,” explained the expert.

“All these stages must be very well learned and the experience of every country that experienced these atrocities must be known. At the same time, we should see the way in which these processes are currently reflected in these states so that, if we lay the foundations of a  curriculum  for optional study, all these things are very well fixed into this curriculum and those who have an interest can understand the whole mechanism,” concluded Igor Boțan.

The public debate entitled “History, an international antidote to political repression” was the 30th installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” which is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

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