Motives behind recognising the Communist Party as a criminal organisation
The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, on June 26 adopted a Resolution recognising the Lithuanian Communist Party (LCP), which functioned during the Soviet occupation in Lithuania, as a criminal organisation. A similar draft resolution was initiated in the Seimas two years ago, however, the former ruling coalition rejected it without a consideration. This time, the Resolution won support of a vast majority of Members and was adopted with only one vote against, the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats Political Group in the Seimas said in a press release.
"The Resolution adopted today is of historic significance, judging not only from a national perspective. Finally, the historical truth has been upheld – the Lithuanian Communist Party, a national branch of the Soviet Union Communist Party, was an organisation responsible for enforcing the dictatorship of the Soviet occupation. It provided a political cover for the crimes and repressions against the Lithuanian citizens and organised them. At a time when Putin's regime in Russia is striving to whitewash Stalinist crimes, to revive a hybrid nashist-communist ideology and to justify aggression against its neighbours, Lithuania makes it clear by this Resolution – the efforts to resurrect the communist ideology are doomed to fail", stressed one of the initiators of the Resolution Mr Audronius Ažubalis, MP, Member of the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats Political Group in the Seimas.
The Law on the Assessment of the USSR State Security Committee (NKVD, NKGB, MGB, KGB) and the Current Activities of the Staff Members of this Organisation, adopted on July 16, 1998, has recognised these state terror institutions as criminal organisations, which committed war crimes, genocide, acts of repression, terror and political persecution in the Republic of Lithuania occupied by the USSR. By this law, adopted almost 20 years ago, the enforcement institutions which executed the Soviet terror were clearly denounced as criminal, and their place in history has been evident ever since.
However, according to Mr Ažubalis, a similar effort was lacking with regard to the LCP, an organisation, which actually made those decisions and formulated orders or tasks during the years of the Soviet occupation. Certainly, it is not only those who executed the orders bear the responsibility for criminal actions but also those who gave the orders.
In his plenary statement, Mr Ažubalis pointed out that the official recognition of the LCP as a criminal organisation is significant for the development of the historical memory. There is some duality in the public perception of the Soviet occupation period: on the one hand, it is considered to be one of the bloodiest and most painful decades in Lithuania's history, whereas, on the other hand, we are still not free from the Soviet nostalgia prevailing in a part of our society.
The document adopted by the Seimas is also important for a shared European historical memory. There are significant discrepancies between the Eastern and the Western Europe in the evaluation of the crimes committed by the Nazi and Communist regimes, primarily due to different historical experiences. Therefore, a mere prohibition of the Communist Party is not self-explanatory as to why this organisation is not acceptable in our country, while in some Western European countries the communist parties are functioning freely.
"By stating clearly that the crimes committed during the Soviet occupation were executed not by abstract "soviets", but, rather, by the decisions of the Communist party, which enjoyed the power and the force at that time, we are reaffirming this historical memory narrative at the highest level. While Nazi crimes and the National Socialist German Party were legally assessed at the Nuremberg Trials, nothing similar happened with regard to the USSR Communist Party and its national braches in the occupied countries. Therefore, the states have to take their own effort to legally assess the responsibility of the Communist Parties for criminal acts against the state and the people, committed during the occupation", noted Mr Ažubalis.
In addition, the Resolution stresses, that its content relates exclusively to the LCP as a legal person and not to private persons or those who belonged to the LCP. Personal responsibility for the criminal acts continues to be under the jurisdiction of the Criminal Code and other legal acts currently in force. Therefore, any interpretation that condemning the LCP as a legal person is in some way directed against individuals is misleading and false.