Russians In Support of the Idea of International Condemnation of Communism

(An Open Letter from Leaders of Russian Anti-communist Organizations to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe)

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), having accepted the proposal outlined in Resolution No. 1481 in January, 2006, took the first step on the road to condemnation of totalitarian communist regimes.

We believe the condemnation of communism is necessary historically, is a just action and we deeply appreciate that this was undertaken at such a broad international level. Those who suffered at the hands of communism have waited for this to occur for a very long time even before the Nurenburg Trials pronounced its verdict on National Socialism.

The condemnation of communism has always had special meaning for the Russian people, who personally experienced unimaginable genocide, resulting in the extermination of tens of millions of our countrymen, the internment of tens of millions more in concentration camps and prisons (where they were subject to inhumane torture, including the malicious misuse of psychiatry by the KGB), being physically and morally crippled, robbed, and ultimately forced from their homeland. Among those Russians who fell victim to communist genocide, there emerged the greatest number of martyrs in the history of mankind, later recognized by the church as having perished for their faith.

It was very disappointing that the international community in the 20th century did not find in itself the strength and determination to officially condemn communism, and unfortunately, often remained deaf to the voices of those battling communist totalitarianism, even though the immoral nature of the communist experiment was apparent from the very beginning to all thinking individuals.

There cannot be a statute of limitations for crimes against humanity and the evildoers who committed them. Therefore, even today, when totalitarian communist regimes have collapsed throughout Europe, the need to condemn communism remains, and not only by virtue of the fact that communism continues to rule many parts of the world, destroying and oppressing its enslaved populations, but also to recognize the debt to millions of victims of communism, to learn from this terrible lesson in history, to warn the younger generations and to avoid new calamities.

Apparently, the effects of a communist past are still strongly felt in many European nations, even though they have outwardly thrown off the yoke of communism. In these countries, the former communist ruling class (nomenklatura) and secret services continue to exercise political and financial power in various ways and remain as parasites in the body of its robbed and cheated citizenry. By maintaining their influence, they both conceal as well as justify, and even at times unabashedly gloat about, their recent crimes and continue to glorify their criminal leaders. In many cases, the communists, taking advantage (as usual) of the hardships related to a transition period in a country, are capable of renewed life and embark on a new plan of attack.

We, the representatives of the many organizations of the Russian anti-communist movement, which from the very beginning in November, 1917, entered into battle with world evil under the patriotic banners of the White armies and continue the fight to this very day, almost 90 years later, welcome the proposed international condemnation of communism. We consider it our duty to support the work of PACE in this regard in any way possible.

We have much personal experience in opposing totalitarian regimes and their effects and are well acquainted with the sophistry of communists and their successors, and have no doubt that many obstacles will occur on the path to the international condemnation of communism. Even in todays world, there exist many open and clandestine groups quite interested in covering up the crimes of communism. For todays successors of totalitarian regimes and their cohorts, who attempt to avoid responsibility by concealing themselves under new, false guises, and remain silent about their criminal past and instead endorse the legacy of communism these issues amount to questions of life or death to them.

It is not helpful to list all the hidden reefs that PACE will inevitably run into in its work. Rather, it is more useful to indicate the need to avoid several important mistakes of the past:

1. Firstly, and most importantly, in condemning communism it is crucial to avoid the inconsistencies, contradictions and omissions which occurred unfortunately during the Nurenberg Trials. For example, it is well known that at the international trials in 1945-46, by secret agreement, lawbreakers were allowed to sit as judges, although they were guilty of no less crimes than those on the consciences of the National Socialists whom they were trying. These and other such circumstances dictated by the political situation of the time, undoubtedly tarnished the moral impact of the condemnation of Nazi criminals.

It is extremely important that the proposed international condemnation of communism contain not even a modicum of political subjectivity. Otherwise, it threatens to discredit the very idea of condemning the crimes of communism and may even lead to its invalidation.

The task of the international condemnation of communism must be approached with the highest degree of commitment, otherwise it would be better to postpone this action, lest it not be achieved totally and in an unbiased manner. The unfortunate experience of the artifice of the Case Against the Communist Party of the Soviet Union made in the Russian Federation demonstrates this abundantly.

2. It would be a grave mistake to apply the logic of dividing the legacy of communism into ideology, ostensibly seeking justice, and practice, allegedly misapplied.

Attempts to paint the crimes of the Communist Party as merely the deviations of a few unscrupulous communist leaders and parties from the good basic principles of communist ideology are old tactics used by communists to avoid responsibility. In the USSR, for example, the Communist Party used this strategy every time its leadership changed, assigning all the blame for earlier crimes committed by the Party upon its deceased or deposed leaders. Such a divided approach to the communist past would provide absolution for many communist supporters and would actually become the justification for adherents of this ideology!

Comprehensive analysis shows that the atheistic communist ideology of class warfare was inhumane and immoral from the onset and served as the foundation of all crimes committed by the totalitarian communist regimes. It must be understood that noble calls for social justice always served as ideological camouflage for communist beliefs, while in reality, these appeals contradicted the basic tenets of communism. Therefore, not only the practice, but the ideology also, should be subject to international condemnation. This ideology must be revealed finally for what it is actually. At the same time, all communist propaganda should be outlawed, as it was done with the beliefs of National Socialism.

3. All attempts to divide communist parties into good and bad are extremely dangerous and unjustified, as it leads to rationalizations that some of them fomented class warfare and genocide, while others merely called for social justice and even did their part to further democracy, (!!!) as stated in item 4 in the draft version of PACE Resolution No. 1481 (2006).

It must be remembered that all communist parties were allied in a common immoral, inhumane ideology and formed a united international front with those who committed genocide. The only difference was that in some countries, the communists were able to seize power and begin their bloody reforms in full force, while in other nations, the communist parties were only preparing to take over power and did not have the opportunity to achieve their immoral goals.

Nothing can justify the enactors and promoters of an immoral ideology and absolve them from responsibility!

4. When condemning communism, it is even more dangerous to divide entire countries and ethnic groups into good and bad, and linking the degree to which communist regimes deny human rights, to a nation's culture (as is mentioned in Item 1 of the preliminary version of the PACE resolution No. 1481 (2006)). The unfortunate historic example of Germany demonstrated, as attested to by the Nurenberg Trials, that even nations with an advanced level of culture are not safe from becoming victims of the most monstrous regimes and being made sources for diabolical schemes. It was ludicrous to lay blame for the crimes of the maniacal National Socialists upon the German people and to blame German culture for a predisposition to tragic violations of human rights!

It is equally wrong and unfair to lay blame for the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes on various ethnic groups and nations.

It is well known that communism was international in character, yet in all the countries where communists seized power and established their dictatorship, anticommunist opposition groups sprung into existence, organized by the best members of that society. Russia may be considered one of the best examples, where communist totalitarianism achieved its fullest expression and took on its most fanatical form. However, it is in Russia that the national anti-communist movement grew to proportions unknown heretofore in history. Millions of anti-communists sacrificed their lives in the battle with communism. Participants of the Russian White movement were the first to join in the fight against this international evil. Although the many years of fighting by Russian White armies did not produce military victory on the fields of the Civil War, Russian patriots paid the ultimate price in opposing communism and forestalled the spread of the communist scourge in the countries of Europe and Asia for several decades.

Millions of Russians were forced to flee their homeland, but though exiled, they never abandoned their ideological struggle against communism. Even within Russia, this struggle continued and manifested itself in many national uprisings and actions of the anti-communist underground. The resistance, brought to bear first against the communist dictatorship in Russia and later in other nations, demonstrated that a communist regime was never freely chosen by a people in a single country. In every instance it was imposed by force, either through armed seizure of power or heavy influence from without, and was accompanied everywhere by mass reprisals against political opponents. This illustrative fact alone gives mankind the basis and right to condemn communism!

5. Lastly, we believe that it is unacceptable that the process of condemning communism result only in official pronouncements which contain recommendations, but without any specific, real requirements. Inconsequential condemnations of communism that do not call to account those involved or forbid further activities by communist parties, the spreading of communist propaganda, symbolism, etc. (as it was done with National Socialism) will not only miss the mark, but will allow communist parties, which exist currently and those communist party members who have hidden their past allegiances, to avoid responsibility for all time and acquire permanent legitimacy.

We fully appreciate that the international condemnation of communism is an important step forward. We need to bear in mind, though, that the condemnation of communism will be fully realized when communist ideology and methodology is not only denounced on moral and legal grounds, but the perpetrators communist parties, their leaders, ideologists and henchmen - be tried in those countries where they committed their crimes. Moral principle and the memory of all the millions of victims of communism call for the planners and participants of the unlawful acts in the name of communism that are still alive to be brought to justice. Those that are no longer alive, should be condemned posthumously!

In this regard, the challenge included in the preliminary version of the PACE resolution No. 1481 (2006) to all the communist and post-communist parties of the member-nations of the Council of Europe to unequivocally disassociate themselves from all crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes and to condemn them (see item 13) is clearly inadequate and ambiguous.

Just as limiting the demands to Hitlers National Socialist Party and its allies to only unequivocally disassociate themselves from all crimes committed by the National Socialists and to condemn them without the subsequent dissolution of National Socialist organizations and their activities would not be sufficient. Indeed, the condemnation of the past crimes of communist regimes by todays communists would be an important moral statement and useful, but if the atonement by communist party members is genuine and complete, then the next logical step would be the dissolution of their own parties and their followers!

If this dissolution does not occur, it is absolutely necessary to outlaw all activity by any communist body, as it was done with all National Socialist organizations. Mankinds sense of moral justice cannot allow the continued existence of the successors of the communist parties that committed all those crimes, and allow them to continue expounding the ideals of communist ideology.

As we see it, the process of the condemnation of communism cannot take place without the active involvement of those individuals or representatives of those organizations with the moral right to accuse the communist perpetrators; those people who endured the torment caused by communism, those who fought this great evil and those who displayed strong will and conviction in opposing communism. The condemnation of communism should be held in the custom of international tribunals, with testimonies of those who suffered, eyewitnesses and validated accusers from those countries in which the crimes took place.

We are prepared to support the anti-communist initiative of PACE in any way possible. If it is helpful, we can be witnesses, or be present at the hearings, or prepare relevant documentation or do anything else that is necessary.

The first step toward the condemnation of communism on an international level has already been made, but we cannot stop there. The people of many nations that suffered from communism await from PACE the next, logical step in this process. It is vitally important for the entire world, that this next step be done responsibly, objectively and decisively. Signed (alphabetically)

1. Ivanov, Igor Borisovich Chairman of the Order of Former Russian Military; Co-Chairman of the August-91 committee. (Residing in St. Petersburg, Russia.)

2. Kazantsev, Nikolay Leonidovich Editor of the newspaper Nasha Strana (Our Country) in Argentina. (Residing in Florida, USA.)

3. Miheyev, Yaropolk Leonidovich Ataman (President) of the Society of Don Cossacka Abroad; Honorary Chairman of the Order of Russian Military; Chairman of the Gallipoli Association of Anti-Communist Veterans. (Residing in California, USA.)

4. Ogurtsov, Igor Vyacheslavovich Founder and Chairman of the All-Russia Social-Christian Union of Emancipated Nations. (Residing in St. Petersburg, Russia.)

5. Khodkevich, Leonid Yevgenyevich Chairman of the Union of Russian White Army Veterans and Their Descendants in Bulgaria; Chairman of the Organization of Russian Citizens in Bulgaria. (Residing in Sofia, Bulgaria.)

June. 2006

Explanation of the organizations whose representatives signed this document (alphabetically)

All-Russia Social-Christian Union of Emancipated Nations largest Russian, anti-communist resistance organization in the post-Stalinist period of the USSR. Founded in 1964 by a group of Christian-patriots with the aim of overthrowing the communist regime. The Union developed and ratified the Program, which provided a detailed and complete analysis of the crimes of communism and established the grounds for its inevitable crash. A majority of its members were arrested by the KGB in 1967 and were subjected to extreme measures. I.V. Ogurtsov, the founder, is a philosopher, historian and philologist. He is currently the president of the international charity fund Miloserdiye (Charity) and a member of the Paris-based PEN-club. I.V. Ogurtsov was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for his anti-communist work, and upon completion of his sentence, he was deported from Russia. He received honorary citizenship from France (in Aix-En-Provence) and a honorary degree from the city of Ann Arbor (Michigan, USA).

August-91 an anti-communist organization, formed in St. Petersburg, Russia, by the active participants in the resistance to the communist putsch of the CPSU in August, 1991.

Gallipoli Association of Anti-Communist Veterans oldest Russian anti-communist organization. Founded in 1920, after the evacuation of the Russian Army led by General P.N. Wrangel from the Crimean peninsula to military bases in Turkey (Gallipoli), Greece (Lemnos) and others. The organization currently unites descendants of the White movement and their like-minded friends. It has been a part of the Order of Former Russian Military since 1924. The union is headed by Y.L. Miheyev, a son of a veteran of Lemnos.

Society of Don Cossacks Abroad the legal successor of the Grand Army of the Don, it organized all Don Cossacks who fought against the Bolsheviks in the Civil War in Russia and who fled into exile after cessation of all armed conflicts in southern Russia. The post of Donskoy Ataman Abroad is currently held by Y.L. Miheyev (USA), a Don Cossack by blood, a grandson of a lieutenant-general and a son of a major-general of the Grand Army of the Don, both of whom were involved in the anti-communist struggle of the White Army since 1917.

Nasha Strana popular anti-communist newspaper, a leading Russian monarchist publication. Started in Argentina in 1948, where it is printed to this day. Widely circulated throughout countries where Russian immigrants can be found, as well as in Russia. N.L. Kazantsev, the editor, is a well-known journalist and political activist, and the son and nephew of White Army veterans and immigrants.

Order of Former Russian Military an anti-communist military organization founded in 1924 by General P.N. Wrangel, commander-in-chief of the Russian Army. Initially created to unite all White veterans who fought the Bolsheviks on the various fronts during the Civil War in Russia, it later became one of the largest, anti-communist organization and included veterans, followers and ideological descendants of the Russian White movement from all over the world in its ranks. Since 1992, the Union has been active in Russia and the headquarters moved there in 2000. The Union is headed currently by I.B. Ivanov, a historian, social activist and a member of the anti-communist movement in the USSR.

Union of Russian White Army Veterans and Their Descendants in Bulgaria a Russian, democratic, social organization made up currently of descendants of the White immigrants in Bulgaria and like-minded individuals. The Union is the legal successor of various Russian, White immigrant organizations in Bulgaria. It publishes the newspaper Belaya Volna (White Wave). The headquarters is in the city of Sofia. The Union is headed by Prof. L.Y. Khodkevich, a socio-political activist and a son of a colonel of the White Army.

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