The Guardian 28 September, 2005

Important victory
for European communists

The Communist Parties in Europe have won an important victory in succeeding to have a report titled "On the Need for International Condemnation of Communism" struck off the agenda of the next Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) meeting. The report called for Communism to be equated with Nazism and condemned equally. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) has led the fight to have the report itself condemned.

The report was initiated by the governments of the Baltic countries, backed by right-wing conservative parties across Europe, and the agenda item was initially proposed at a meeting of the Council’s Political Commission.

A Memorandum accompanying the report stated:

"The communist ideology, wherever and whenever implemented, be it in Europe or elsewhere, has always resulted in massive terror, crimes and large scale violation of human rights. When analyzing the consequences of the implementation of this ideology, one cannot ignore the similarities with the consequences of the implementation of another ideology of 20th century, namely nazism. Although mutually hostile, these two regimes shared a number of common features.

"However, whereas the criminal and condemnable character of the Nazi ideology and regime has been uncontroversial, at least for half a century, and its leaders and many perpetrators were held accountable, the communist ideology and regimes have not encountered a comparable reaction. The crimes have rarely been subject to legal prosecution, and many of the perpetrators have never been brought to justice. Communist parties are still active in some countries, and they have not even distanced themselves from the past when they supported and collaborated with the criminal communist regimes.

"Communist symbols are openly used, and public awareness of communist crimes is very poor. This is particularly obvious when compared to public knowledge of nazism crimes."

Show trial

In leading the campaign against the report the CPRF said that the real intention of the report was "to turn the PACE session into a show trial to brand the communist ideology, to accuse the communist parties of various crimes not only in Russia, but in all the countries where communists continue to be active in fighting for the rights of the broad popular masses, and for genuine democracy."

The CPRF also warned that the report would set a dangerous precedent whereby European countries then felt they had: "the right interfere in the internal affairs of Vietnam, China, the DPRK [North Korea], Cuba, Laos and other countries".

Within the Political Commission the fight against the report was championed by Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the Central Committee CPRF, on behalf of the Communist Parties of the Commonwealth of Independent States (a confederation consisting of 11 former Soviet Republics: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan).

In a fiery speech at the Commission Comrade Zyuganov spelt out the underlying agenda: "this is not just about a simple ‘condemnation’ of alleged ‘crimes of communism’, but a global anti-­communist campaign on a European and even world scale — whose end result may be total destabilisation of the world community."

The CPRF position was backed by numerous parties across the whole of Europe and after a "stormy and at times acrimonious discussion" within the Political Commission the agenda item was defeated by 20 against 5.

The full text of Gennady Zyuganov’s speech to the Council of Europe will be printed in a future issue of The Guardian.

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