Humanitarian organization Victims of Communism a few days ago reported that freedom fighter Vladimir Bukovsky has passed away. Excerpts below:

Everyone is familiar with the Nuremberg Trials that were convened in 1945 to prosecute the crimes of Nazi Germany. The trials served as a final day of reckoning for the violent and destructive [National Socialist] ideology that had wreaked havoc on [the world]…

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Bukovsky, a former dissident from Russia, decided to attempt [what is not impossible]: to convene a trial that would sue not the individuals as was the case in Nuremberg but rather the system of the communist regime. “For me, it seems like we have a moral responsibility to humanity,” he remarked in the documentary Le Nuremberg du communisme.

Historians have noted that while the Soviet regime had failed, the KGB were still active and the former nomenklatura, the communist-era elite, still retained power and influence, making it impossible to achieve justice for the victims of Soviet communism. Vladimir Bukovsky wanted to force the country to deal with its communist past and prevent the regime from gaining power again.

Born 1942, Bukovsky was a prominent activist whose fight against the Soviet regime earned him a total of twelve years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric prison hospitals. In 1976 he was released in a swap for the imprisoned General Secretary of the Communist Party of Chile at the Zürich airport. Once free, Bukovsky felt like he had experienced a second birth. He settled in Cambridge [in the UK] and finished his studies in biology, but he never stopped fighting to free the Soviet Union from the grip of communism.

…Vladimir Bukovsky returned to Russia in 1991…Many hoped that Bukovsky would gather together a commission that would be able to judge the communist regime for its crimes. Upon his return, he was put into contact with Vadim Bakatin, the chief of the communist party at that time…

Even though Bakatin had doubts that Bukovsky’s idea for a “Nuremberg of Communism” could be realized, he agreed to his offer. However, the next step towards a trial failed before it could even get started. Bukovsky was denied access to the more than 60 million secret documents held by the Russian government. Without these files, it was impossible to organize a trial.

Surprisingly, another opportunity arose in 1992, after Boris Yeltsin was elected President of the newly formed Russian Federation and granted Bukovsky special permission to access the secret files. He was aware of the fact that the archive would not be open for long and that he was strictly forbidden to copy anything. Nevertheless, he scanned over seven thousand pages in order to preserve them.

‘When the “trial” really came, it focused on the question of whether or not Yeltsin’s ban on the Communist Party was legal. Called before the Russian Supreme Court, Bukovsky expounded upon the incriminating documents for several hours in a symbolically divided room. Despite all his efforts, the court decided to relegalize local branches of the Communist Party. The decommunization of Russia had failed.

In 1995, [Bukovsky’s] book, a testimony of the crimes committed by the communist regime of the Soviet Union, was published in France.

But no further trial was arranged. Historians have analyzed a variety of reasons for this hesitation.

Comment: The organization Appeal for Nuremberg Trials for Communism will on November 9,2019, launch a call for a court for communism at an event in Rome, Italy and at a gathering in Madrid, Spain. The goal for signatures of the appeal will be 200 of the leading experts on the crimes of communism.

Swedish author and jurist Bertil Haggman in 1982 published a book in Sweden (at publishing house Pro Veritate, Uppsla, on the crimes of communism and estimated 104 million victims of the horrendous ideology. After the end of the Cold War the number is more likely to be around 150 million victims. The highest number of victims of the crimes of communism is estimated to be in Mainland China where the Chinese Communist Party is responsible for around 80 million victims.

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