Despite the backlash caused by the refusal of the Greek government to take part in a conference on August 23 in Estonia focusing on crimes committed by communist regimes in the 21st Century titled “The Heritage in 21st Century Europe of the Crimes Committed by Communist Regimes”, leftist SYRIZA party doubled down on the decision praising Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis for his stance. In an official statement SYRIZA labeled the decision for Greece to abstain from the conference-the only EU member-state to do so- as “appropriate and a given”.
“Any attempt to equate Nazism with Communism is dangerous and unhistorical, especially at a time when the far right is attempting to rear its head in Europe again. In this context, ND’s reactions to this choice show its steady persistence in so-called “twin extreme theory,” which all it achieves is to exonerate Nazism”, the statement read. Junior coalition partner in the SYRIZA-led government and ANEL PM Dimitris Kammenos expressed his strong disagreement with SYRIZA politicians wondering why Greece was the only western nation “that insisted on refusing to condemn communist totalitarianism.
Meanwhile, many twitter users blasted the position adopted by the Greek government on the matter in a series of posts. One user shared a post titled “#Syriza summer collection 2017” of a red SYRIZA t-shirt with a stamp reading “Communism has only killed 100 million people. Let’s give it another chance”. Another posted photos of Mao Zedong, Stalin, Lenin and Marx asking Minister Konstonis whether they were enough.
Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis has turned down an invitation to participate in the conference on crimes committed by Communist regimes in Estonia on August 23, saying it sent “a wrong and dangerous political message”.
The conference titled “The Heritage in 21st Century Europe of the Crimes Committed by Communist Regimes” will be held at the Tallinn Creative Hub, as part of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
“At a time when the fundamental values of the European Union are openly questioned by the rise of far-right movements and neo-Nazi parties across Europe, the above-mentioned initiative is very unfortunate,” Kontonis said in his letter to the conference organizers. August 23 has been designated as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Communist and Nazi Regimes, instituted in April 2009 by the European Parliament Resolution of 2 April 2009. SYRIZA member Maria Yannakaki, who was appointed General Secretary of Human Rights equated the Estonians with Nazis in a twitter post.