The joint communiqué on the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe issued by Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič and Russian head of state Dmitry Medvedev on April 7 lacked any mention of the forced deportations of Slovak citizens to the Soviet Union in 1944-46 and the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968, said the leader of the opposition Christian Democratic Party, (KDH) Ján Figeľ, the TASR newswire reported.
“As the war front crossed (the country), thousands of innocent people, mainly from eastern Slovakia, were dragged by bodies of the Soviet public and secret police service NKVD into gulags in Siberia. Many remained there in cruel conditions for years, many didn't return at all. Unfortunately, the end of the war wasn't a liberation for these thousands of people,” Figeľ stated to TASR.
Gašparovič and Medvedev stated in the communiqué that they consider WWII to be the biggest tragedy in human history, and on this occasion they paid tribute to the memory of the many millions of victims. The heads of both states highlighted the substantial contribution made by nations belonging to the Soviet Union, who bore the main brunt in terms of liberating Europe from Nazism.
Former Slovak Ambassador to the US, Martin Bútora, said for the Sme daily that if two countries go back to history in a document, it is natural to mention also the dark side of bilateral relations. He considers it a paradox that after several predecessors who condemned the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia after 1968, Medvedev did not mention it – 20 years after the Velvet Revolution. Not only the opposition parties, but also junior coalition members Slovak National Party (SNS) and Movement for Democratic Slovakia, HZDS, missed the mention of the August 1968 invasion in the official document, Sme wrote.
Sources: TASR, Sme
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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8. Apr 2010 at 10:00