Baltic, Polish, Romanian leaders urge EU to step up efforts to preserve common historical memory

  • 2022-07-22
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

RIGA - Leaders of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Romania in a joint letter to European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency,  have called on EU bodies to step up efforts to preserve historical memory to counter Russian propaganda and disinformation aimed at justifying its brutal and inhumane war in Ukraine, LETA was told at the State Chancellery. 

In their joint letter, the heads of state and government point out that the background and the roots of the current Kremlin regime ideology represent, in many cases, a reflection of the predecessors of recent Russia -- the USSR and the Russian Empire. Russia has never condemned the crimes of the Soviets and its current leadership openly tolerates and even enthusiastically supports the Soviet legacy. There is a need to strengthen efforts on the EU level to fight the attempts of Russia to rewrite the history and use the narratives of totalitarian regimes in the context of war against Ukraine, by using legal, political and awareness raising instruments.

"The democratic world has decisively condemned the Nazi regime and brought to justice its leaders and perpetrators. The bitter lessons of the Nazism and the crimes perpetrated by the regime have become an obligatory part of teaching about the history in our educational systems. At the same time, the memory and knowledge of Soviet crimes have yet to find their rightful place in the consciousness of the Europeans. Today more than ever clear and visionary leadership is needed, to promote the European Remembrance narratives across the whole EU, which in the end should become a part of all member states national educational programs," they said.

The EU is best positioned to take up this coordinated role, and such a gesture would also be timely and highly relevant, in the light of an unprecedented level of Russian disinformation and misinformation, including on issues of the European history, the heads of state said.

In the recent years, important steps have been made on the European level by establishing the Platform of European Memory and Conscience. The EU could do more by providing the Platform with necessary political and financial resources, the joint letter reads. The establishment of a Pan-European Memorial for the Victims of Totalitarianism in Brussels would be a very important step in ensuring proper remembrance of crimes committed by totalitarian regimes, including the Soviet one, in our awareness-raising efforts in order to prevent similar crimes and to stop them in Ukraine, and in paying our tribute to the victims.

The joint letter is signed by Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.