Various countries in Europe suffered for decades from communist oppression after being invaded by the Soviets.
Russia wants to erase the memory of the Holodomor
One of those countries was Ukraine. There, the communists perpetrated a genocide that had millions of victims, the Holodomor, with which Stalin tried to liquidate the Ukrainian national identity by exterminating its people. Today, Putin's regime tries to erase the memory of that genocide while dedicating itself to whitewashing communism and lifts new monuments to Stalin.
The exhibition of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory
To denounce this terrible episode from its past, Ukraine is promoting an exhibition that recalls the crimes of communism. The exhibition is organized by the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory and was opened for the first time on June 15, 2022 on Mykhailivska Square in Kiev. In December, the exhibition reached several cities in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Panels from this exhibition can currently be viewed at Lviv, in western Ukraine.
The exhibition is titled "Komunizm-Rashyzm" (Communism = Rashism). The expression "Rashism", a mixture of "Russia" and "racism", is widely used in Ukraine to refer to Russian imperialism and its racist character, as is becoming evident with the terrible atrocities that the Russian invaders are committing against the civilian population of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory notes that this the exhibition was created by the team from the National Memory Archive, a state agency linked to that Institute. "It tells 13 stories of 20th and 21st century Ukrainians who suffered at the hands of modern Soviet and Russian authorities. The stories are not chosen by chance: they draw a parallel between the crimes of communism and Ruscism. And they also prove that the methods and motives of the Russians for the destruction of the Ukrainians are no different: they are executions, evictions, robberies, deportations and filtration camps."
The exhibition has been prepared by the director of the National Memory Archive, Ihor Kulyk, and the archive's communicator Darina Rohachuk, with the collaboration of Oleksandr Denysenko, Tetiana Prys, Anna Ryaba, Svitlana Starovoit and Yevhenii Yankevich, with designs by Oksana Zhenzhera. You can download the exhibition panels (in Ukrainian) here (in Ukrainian) and here (in English). On the website of the Memory Archive National Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and German versions of the panels are also available.
Several European countries have called for a broader condemnation of communism
On the occasion of this exhibition, this week Ukrainian historians have called for communism to be condemned the same as nazism. A petition that coincides with European condemnation of the crimes of nazism and communism, approved by the European Parliament in 2019, but which is not binding. In July 2022, the governments of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Romania called on the EU for a broader condemnation of communism, recalling the following:
"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."
The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory highlighted that call, denouncing that "there is still no equal condemnation of communism and Nazism and a proper understanding by all European societies of the nature of the totalitarian Soviet regime."
Main photo: Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. The exhibition "Komunizm-Rashyzm" in Kiev in June 2022.
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