Maryland, U.S.A - The Kremlin got its shirt dirty in the Ukrainian gas affair, and it was well deserved. Unless they have a retaliatory trick up their sleeve, the Russian officials who planned this episode, most certainly not among Russia's best and brightest, will be put to the test to score a victory somewhere else to offset the Ukrainian blunder.
One major upcoming event at which they and their brethren may choose to cause discord is the annual opening session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, or PACE, to be held later this month. This body has been considering, off-and-on for some 10 years, a resolution generally titled "The Need for International Condem-nation of Crimes of Totalitarian Communist Regimes." As resolutions go, this one definitely has some teeth and holds much promise. Aside from not only condemning communism, it would also establish committees and other research bodies to publicly study, catalogue and bring forth the heinous nature of this thing that in its time bloodied and stunted practically half the globe. This would go a long way in bringing publicity of the crimes of communism up to a par with those of its sister ideology of Nazism. This is long, long overdue.
The Russian delegation in PACE, along with misguided leftists from certain other member European countries, have so far been successful in opposing the resolution and trying to kill it. Their chances for continuing to do so now appear slim, but it's certain they will try.
And this oil and gas business may play a role. It wouldn't stretch the imagination if in the corridors and back rooms of the session, Russian delegation members made known to selected other country representatives that their vote on the resolution would influence the Kremlin's allocation or pricing of oil and gas to the affected country. It's a card that's there for the playing; an option the Russians have likely thought of.
Would there be takers? Probably. Although there's reason to hope otherwise, given the degree of solidarity shown by Europe in the Ukrainian affair. This PACE resolution is too valuable not to be adopted this time, and the very recent solidarity may bode well for it. In any event, its purposes and means are so important that others should take up the cause as well. There is still, for one example, a great reservoir of talent, much of it underused, in the U.S. in Russian and related studies. The U.S. and Europe could consult and divide up the tasks and topics described in the PACE resolution. For that matter, an affiliate institution could also be placed in Asia, to cover the area.
There are more than enough crimes and horrors committed under the banner of communism to go around. Let's hope the PACE resolution will kick off the campaign.