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Estonia: Denial of Stalin-era deportations could become a crime

Tallinn, 20.11.2012 17:42, (ROMEA)

The Estonian Justice Ministry has prepared a bill that would make it a crime to deny the Stalin-ordered deportations which affected thousands of people in the country during the Soviet era. The Delfi press agency, based in the Baltics, reports that Estonian courts would be able to sanction the approval or denial of the deportations to Siberia during the rule of dictator Joseph Stalin with prison sentences of up three years without the possibility of parole.

The law on denying the deportations is part of a more wide-ranging legal norm that also punishes denying the Holocaust and other instances of genocide which the Estonian or international courts have labeled crimes against humanity. The bill must be approved by Parliament and would not take effect until signed by the president.

Estonia experienced the massive deportations during WWII after 1939, when the Baltics were occupied by the Red Army on the basis of a secret agreement with Hitler. The biggest wave of deportations took place in June 1941, when approximately 10 000 Estonians were displaced to Siberia. Similar deportations were organized by the Soviet security forces under the pretext of the fight against "anti-Soviet elements" in Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine.

The anniversary of the deportations is 14 June 1941 and is a day of national mourning in Estonia. Deportations of Estonians also occurred even later, such as in March 1949, when an estimated 20 000 people were sent to Siberia. The authorities justified that banishment by saying it was necessary to the fight against kulaks (wealthy villagers) and nationalists.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Aktuality, Holocaust, Komunismus, Okupace, Ukrajina, Výročí, Estonsko, Stalinismus, genocide, History, news, world



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