45 countries’ experience with communism: a new portal deters falsification of history

  • 2020-05-06
  • Sergei Metlev

The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory has launched a full version of CommunistCrimes.org, a portal which provides information on the history of communist regimes and their crimes in Estonian, English and Russian. The aim of the portal is to deepen the understanding of the history of communist regimes on an international level and to hinder the activities of Red Terror deniers.

The portal is unique as it consolidates the communist experience of 45 modern countries into a single database. It also features an international team of historians and journalists as its authors. The portal is continually updated with fresh material.

"According to various estimates, approximately 90 million people around the world have perished due to communist experiments in the 20th century. Throughout history, the disciples of this ideology have adorned themselves with pleasant-sounding slogans about a happy future, while destroying entire nations and social groups as well as depriving their citizens of basic human rights in order to reach the leaders’ communist utopia," said Sergei Metlev, the Public and Partner Relations Officer of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory.

Metlev points out that the portal presents facts to give a voice to millions of victims and their loved ones, who still have to face those that downplay or negate what happened.

The portal brings together independent researchers and journalists from all over the world, which enables to unveil different aspects of communist ideology and explain the specifics in different countries.

According to Dr. Meelis Maripuu, the Member of Board of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, the acknowledgement of the crimes of communist regimes is regrettably not self-evident in today's world. This may create a situation where violence and injustice are tolerated yet again.

"Many people who have no personal experience of living under the conditions of a communist regime, still like to be crazed by slogans. Even those nations that have survived the communist terror have not become fully aware of the devastating impact the era had on culture, economy, and on the human psyche. We see how Karl Marx, the father of this teaching, is honoured. New statues are erected for Marx and even for the mass murderers Lenin and Stalin," Maripuu said.

The first version of the portal was launched in 2011 by the Unitas Foundation.

The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory and its predecessor have since 1998 been investigating international crimes and human rights abuses committed by totalitarian regimes in Estonia, as well as the ideologies that have given rise to such regimes. With its research results and awareness-raising activities, the Institute helps to take a stance against such regimes also in the 21st century. 

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