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A quarter century since the fall of communism, marked in Bucharest

Seventeen former presidents, premiers, Parliament speakers, ex-president of European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering, Princess Margareta and Prince Radu attended on Thursday at the Romanian Senate the international conference celebrating 25 years since the fall of communist regimes in Europa. The event was organized by Romanian Foundation for Democracy, founded by former Romanian President, Emil Constantinescu.

Though not present at the conference, King Mihai I conveyed a message on this occasion, delivered by his son-in-law, Prince Radu. “(…) I directly witnessed the arrival and fall of both fascism and communism, two criminal systems that left behind over one hundred millions victims and several other millions of bodily and inwards crippled people,” read King’s message. He asserts that “a long and loyal expectation” was present in his life. “I expected that Europe come to its senses, that Romania coming back to itself. Patience can be sometimes a weapon against the historical destiny. Expectation and faith. Love and duty (…) Me and my family have been working hard over the past 25 years since the communism fell for a free, democratic, thriving and respectable Romania. We shall keep on doing that until the end of our lives, as we strongly believe that Royal House Institution is part of our national identity. Communism was born in 1921, in the same year with me. Now, after more than nine decades, I have the chance to address you, celebrating its fall. So help us God!”, the former sovereign stated.

Former Romania’s President during 1996-2000 Emil Constantinescu stated that what made 1989 revolutions look like a miracle was the fall of the almighty communist system from the inside, in a very short period of time. “No conspiracy couldn’t plan this change if it wasn’t for the crowds of people who believed in some ideals and who were willing to die for them. These moments are rarely experienced throughout the world human history, as they change the nations’ destiny,” Constatinescu said.

However, the former Romanian head of state warned there still is a harmful fact showing up in all former communist states and that is “the redistribution of former communist members” inside current right-wing parties. “In fact, this is precisely what former secret police have always dreamt of, not representing the left-wing parties, they belonged to them anyway, but representing the right-wing parties,” Constantinescu pointed out, adding that condemning communism crimes is not enough and suggesting that a serious debate for condemning the entire communist ideology should be initiated.

In his view, “a world and European project” must be built to restore the dignity of the communism victims and of their families by finding the truth about those who have been killed or were missing during the communist regime.

Former President Ion Iliescu told the international conference that it would be useful to have an active, alive civil society like the one in the 90s, saying “the Romanian society is still facing some problems that need the joint action of all forces and institutions for a democratic solving.”

In his turn, the famous Polish Solidarno?? leader, Lech Walesa, also Poland’s president during 1990-1995, talked about changes that preceded the fall of the communism. Walesa, dissident during the communism regime, said that his generation succeeded in breaking all barriers and gaps of the old order and started to think in terms of “one single continent”, assuring he would support a new world’s construction as long as he lives. “We need debate, we need emotions, strikes and protest to find the right solutions and to elect the right, responsible people”, the former Polish leader also said.

While the former president of the European Parliament, Hans Gert Pottering underlined that it is important that EU values should be defended and applied and that they should not remain mere speeches, former leaders of ex-Soviet countries spoke about Ukraine and about how Europe must also convince former Soviet countries of the benefits of the new world. Ex-president of Republic of Moldova, Petru Lucinschi said that European partners seem to forget or neglect that the population of ex-Soviet space comes from a different world and concrete results are needed, especially in the legal, social and economic, to convince the population of the new world’s benefits.

As for Ukraine topic, ex-Ukrainin president Viktor Iushcenko pointed out there is no civil war in his country, but a Russian occupation. In his turn, Boris Tadic, Serbia’s president during 2004-2012 told the audience that Ukraine’s crisis clearly proved the need to leave boredom aside and to fight for a free, united Europe.

 

About Alina Grigoras Butu