Kontonis’s refusal to attend Estonia conference draws response


Addressing an international conference on crimes committed by communist regimes, Estonian Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu said on Wednesday that he would respond in writing to the refusal by his Greek counterpart, Stavros Kontonis, to attend the event in Tallinn.

“This letter will also issue a very clear justification why those kinds of activities are vital and necessary for our future as well as for the millions of victims,” Reinsalu said in reference to the conference which was organized by the European Union’s Estonian presidency. “I would say that this is not a political but a value-based and legal question. The basis of this is human dignity, which is indivisible.”

The president of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience, Goran Lindblad, said it was “not necessary to compare or equalize different totalitarian regimes.” “It is not important to people what kind of ideology is the reason they are killed.”

Kontonis set off a political storm last week 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.”