OSCE irks Russia with Nazism-Stalinism link

5th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

A session of the 56-nation Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe overwhelmingly approved a resolution proposed by host Lithuania and fellow ex-communist Slovenia.

Vilnius -- Frosty ties between the OSCE and member state Russia deteriorated Friday when the pan-European security and democracy body voted to condemn Nazism and Soviet-era Stalinism alike.

A session of the 56-nation Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe overwhelmingly approved a resolution proposed by host Lithuania and fellow ex-communist Slovenia.

It acted despite stiff opposition from Russia, which resists fiercely any attempt to equate the regimes of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

Moscow's delegation boycotted the vote on the final day of a week-long session of the OSCE's parliamentary assembly in Lithuania, after failing to have the resolution withdrawn.

The OSCE assembly comprises 320 lawmakers. Just eight voted against the resolution and four abstained.

Among the opponents was Michel Billout, a French Communist Party lawmaker.

"This resolution confuses Nazism and Stalinism," he told AFP. "That won't help to build a future where we're able to stop these crimes recurring."

The resolution, meant to mark the 1989 fall of the Iron Curtain, underlined that 20th century Europe had been held in the grip of "two major totalitarian regimes, the Nazi and the Stalinist, which brought genocide, violations of human rights and freedoms, war crimes and crimes against humanity."

It urged all OSCE members to take a "united stand against all totalitarian rule from whatever ideological background" and slammed the "glorification of totalitarian regimes, including the holding of public demonstrations glorifying the Nazi or Stalinist past."

Despite being blamed for the deaths of millions of people through purges and forced farm collectivisation under his rule, Stalin remains a hero for many Russians for his role in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II. He came third in a nationwide poll last year to find Russia's greatest-ever personality.

"The adoption of this resolution means that a 56-nation alliance has condemned Stalinism, and that's crucial," said Lithuanian lawmaker Vilija Aleknaite-Abramikiene, who drafted it.

In East European nations like Lithuania that fell under Moscow's control during the war, the bloody dictatorships are often seen as evil twins.

The OSCE has already fallen out with Moscow over a monitoring mission in pro-Russian breakaway regions of Georgia, and hurdles to election observers in Russia itself.

AFP/Expatica

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