Estonian Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu has dismissed in no uncertain terms the claim made by his Greek counterpart, Stavros Kontonis, that communism had “positive aspects.”
Citing Estonia’s experience of the Soviet Union, Reinsalu said he strongly disagreed with the assertion.
The Estonian official made his comments in a letter to Kontonis in response to one sent by the Greek minister explaining why he refused to attend last week’s conference in Tallinn titled “The Heritage in 21st Century Europe of the Crimes Committed by Communist Regimes.”
Kontonis set off a political storm when he refused to attend the conference, saying it “sends a wrong and dangerous political message... revives the Cold War climate that brought so much suffering to Europe, runs contrary to the values of the EU, and certainly does not reflect the view of the Greek government and the Greek people, which is that Nazism and communism could never exist as the two parts of the same equation.”
Reinsalu however countered Wednesday that even though the Soviet Union played a significant role in the victory over Nazi Germany, the “Red Army did not liberate Eastern Europe” so that these countries could determine their destiny.
Kontonis had said in his letter that the USSR was a liberator of Europe and the Nazi concentration camps.