As I wrote in one of my previous posts: "Juan Carlos, the King of Spain, found it necessary to express his regret for the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. Not only did he not participate personally in the expulsion, he is not even a descendant of the kings who ordered it. Nevertheless, 500 years later the King asked the Jews to return to Spain, promising that "never again will hate and intolerance provoke desolation and exile."Pope John Paul II publicly apologized to the Jewish people for the persecutions by the Catholics. He also apologized for the Holocaust and left a note pleading for forgiveness in the Western Wall. Nobody suspects the Pope of personally participating in the persecutions of the Jews. He did, however, offer a personal apology." A country whose leaders cannot recognize the atrocities their country committed in the past has no future. Juan Carlos of Spain and Pope John Paul II understood this. Putin and Medvedev unfortunately do not.
Some of the people who experienced the atrocities that now cannot be mentioned in Russia are still living. It's unconscionable that they or their surviving relatives should not be allowed to talk about their plight. It's terrifying that decades of Soviet attempts to rewrite history haven't taught the people of Russia anything. Writing history is not about serving anybody's political interests. It's about people knowing their past in order to have a future.
My grandfather was in the Red Army during the entire duration of Wolrd War II. He was wounded several times in the war. His health never recovered fully. I'm very proud of my grandfather for liberating Europe from fascism. I'm very proud that he wrote our last name on the walls of Reichstag. This doesn't mean, however, that I want any of the atrocities committed by the Red Army to be buried in the archives and never brought to light. I believe that doing this would constitute disrespect of my grandfather and other soldiers like him. By suppressing dissent Russian leaders promote the very fascism that my grandfather fought to destroy. And that is the greatest insult to his memory.