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UWC Urges the European Community to Demand that the Ukrainian Government Authorities Immediately Condemn all Forms of Glorification of Stalinism

18 May 2011
In a letter dated 18 May 2011, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) called upon the European community to demand that the Ukrainian government authorities immediately denounce the glorification of Stalinism and cease promoting symbols of the Communist totalitarian regime. This letter was sent to: а) the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek; b) the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy; c) the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso; d) the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland; e) the Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Audronius Ažubalis; f) the European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle; g) the Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, Pawel Kowal; h) the Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights, Heidi Hautala; i) the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg; and  j) the OSCE Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Janez Lenarčič.

In this letter, the UWC noted that Ukraine began chairing the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 11 May 2011, and that it will chair the OSCE in 2013. The UWC stressed that it is imperative that such institutions be chaired by states that espouse and aspire to Europe’s vision of society based on the principles of democracy. The UWC pointed out that fundamental pan-European ideals have been forged through Europe’s common history, especially in the 20th century. They include freedom, the rule of law, respect for human rights and, as a consequence, the rejection of totalitarian regimes, both past and present. The UWC referred to several declarations and resolutions based on these principles and ideals, in which Europe has condemned Stalinism and the Communist totalitarian regime, particularly the following: the Declaration of the European Parliament on the proclamation of 23 August as European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism (23 September 2008); the European Parliament resolution of 23 October 2008 on the commemoration of the Holodomor, the Ukraine artificial famine (1932-1933); the European Parliament resolution of 2 April 2009 on European conscience and totalitarianism; the Resolution on Divided Europe Reunited: Promoting Human Rights and Civil Liberties in the OSCE Region in the 21st Century (the OSCE Vilnius Declaration of 3 July 2009); and the Resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of 28 April 2010 Commemorating the victims of the Great Famine (Holodomor) in the former USSR.

The UWC noted that despite the above declarations and resolutions:
a)  on 5 May 2010, the Regional Organization of the Communist Party of Ukraine unveiled a monument to Stalin in Zaporizhzhia;
b)  on 7 May 2011, the Union of Soviet officers put up a billboard in Sevastopol with the image of Stalin; and
c)   on 21 April 2011, the Verkhovna Rada adopted an amendment to the Law of Ukraine “On immortalizing Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945” which introduces the concept of the “Victory Flag” – a red flag emblazoned with a star and hammer and sickle – that must be officially displayed on all buildings and raised on all flagpoles alongside the State Flag of Ukraine every May 9. It was under the red flag that Stalin’s Communist totalitarian regime conducted a genocide of the Ukrainian people, ruined Ukrainian churches, executed Ukrainian scholars and cultural activists, and crushed all expressions of the Ukrainian national spirit.
In view of Ukraine’s important symbolic role as the current chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and future chair of the OSCE, and given Europe’s fundamental opposition to totalitarianism as reflected in the aforementioned declarations and resolutions, the UWC urged the European community to demand that the Ukrainian government authorities immediately condemn all forms of glorification of Stalinism and cease promoting symbols of the Communist totalitarian regime. Any action short of this would undermine the well-established policies and principles of the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the OSCE aimed at denouncing all forms of past totalitarianism and combating any kind of neo-totalitarianism.

The UWC calls upon all of its member organizations to support its appeal to the European community and to jointly demand that the current Ukrainian government authorities condemn the intolerable actions which glorify Stalinism and promote symbols of the Communist totalitarian regime,” stated UWC President Eugene Czolij.  

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