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Denial of past crimes is nothing but Kremlin’s habit since the Soviet Union – expert

Russia’s veto on the UN Srebrenica resolution was dictated by a long tradition of denial inherent in the Soviet Union rather than by political motives.
Russias Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin listens to US  President Barack Obama speak at the Security Council at UN in New York

Russia refuses to recognize the mistakes and crimes of the past and, therefore, it is doomed to repeat them. The veto Moscow imposes on the draft UN resolution on the Srebrenica massacre is the symptom of “a culture of lying and denial about history.” It is written by an expert Theresa Bond in her article for Politico, Joinfo.ua reports.

Like many people in the West she is sure: the killing of eight thousand Bosnian Muslims in the UN-designated and UN-manned “safe area” twenty years ago was genocide.

“The worst kind of insult was added to this injury,” the author continues. At the UN Security Council meeting Russia vetoed a draft resolution condemning the Srebrenica genocide and denial of genocide more generally. According to the journalist, initially it looked like a mere formality, but as a result has led to a confrontation between Russia and all the other permanent members of the Security Council.

“Genocide occurred at Srebrenica. This is a legal fact, not a political judgment. On this, there is no compromise,” said Peter Wilson, the UK’s deputy ambassador to the UN. Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations agrees with him.

The Russian side explained its decision by the fact that the resolution was “not constructive, confrontational and politically-motivated.” The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the resolution was “totally of anti-Serb nature” and “incorrectly interpreted those events.” The four-page resolution mentions the word “genocide” 35 times.

However, according to Theresa Bond, Russia voted against the resolution not because of these reasons, but because the denial was the tradition of the Soviet Union. “It is a system that simply does not recognize its past crimes.” According to her, back in 1956, the rejection of the cult of Stalin soon became a symbol of the end of the era, rather than a repudiation or atonement for a regime that installed Gulags and killed millions.

“Putin has taken the Soviet tradition of denial to new depths,” the journalist says. She gives an example of the fact that the Russian leader denied Russia’s involvement in the events in Crimea until he stated the opposite.

The case of Crimea shows that the non-recognition of past mistakes leads to their repetition. Thus, under Stalin the Crimean Tatars were deported, and Putin shortly after joining the peninsula to Russia promised to rehabilitate them. However, since then they are prohibited to arrange rallies and have their TV channel in the local language closed. And ten days before the anniversary of the Crimean Tatar deportation, a plaque honoring Stalin was unveiled in the Crimean capital of Simferopol.

In general, monuments to the Soviet leaders, especially Stalin, have become part of the current policy of denial that prevails in Russia. The author quotes the words of a Russian journalist Dmitry Bykov, who argues that to restore the statue is a worse disaster than to erect it: “When you put it up, maybe you do not quite imagine the full extent of the consequences. But when you reinstate it, you know everything.”

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. “But no UN resolution can protect us from someone who studies history — and the history of genocide — in order to repeat it,” the author writes in the conclusion of her article in Politico.