President: Europe should review Soviet crimes

Europe should review the crimes of the Soviet Union’s totalitarian regime, Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga said at the opening of a conference in Stockholm, Sweden, examining how to prevent genocide.

The president made her remarks during a conference, “Preventing Genocide: Threats and Responsibilities,” organized by the Swedish government. Representatives of about 50 nations are present, according to the president’s press office.

If Europe avoids looking at what happened in the Soviet Union, Vīķe-Freiberga said, it risks suffocating under the weight of history.

“Genocide can happen through many forms of execution,” the president said. “It can be executed by means of a gun, a knife or a machete, it can take place in a gas chamber, but it can also be brought about through a slow death on a Siberian plain from hunger, from cold and the exhaustion of forced labor.”

The president said Latvia supports an initiative by members of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly to form a commission to study the Soviet Communist regime, the press office said

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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