Iohannis: Radical ideologies, glorification of executioners, and extremist currents threaten democratic societies

President Klaus Iohannis sent, on Monday, a message on the occasion of the Day of Remembrance for Victims of Fascism and Communism, showing that the rule of law, democratic values, fundamental rights and freedoms have been won at the cost of human lives and must be defended and conveyed to the younger generations. "The infamous Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, signed on August 23, 1939, represented the start of Europe's tragedy, a moment that opened the way to fatal abuses and ripped territories through the division of Central and Eastern Europe in spheres of influence. The so-called non-aggression pact crushed the dreams and ideals of the European nation, opening the way to the Second World War, with disastrous implications for humankind. Totalitarian regimes have changed the face of humanity, leaving behind death, suffering and deep wounds. Mass deportations, crimes, famine, torture, disinformation, the blatant infringement of the law were only part of the instruments that were used in the attempt to systematically destroy European societies," said Iohannis, according to a release sent by the Presidential Administration. According to them, the remembrance of victims of fascism and communism, of those people that sacrificed their life and freedom to defend fundamental rights and freedoms, represents an obligatory and necessary gesture to prevent reproachable developments of history. "Forgetting and the truncated or deformed presentation of historical facts can at any time make possible for the mistakes of the past to be repeated. Nobody, at any time, should experiment with those atrocities stemming from a profound despise for human dignity," the President showed. He said that August 23 also evokes the "gesture full of courage" of King Michael I in 1944, the one who "was loyal to the Romanian nation and who, with responsibility and determination, together with the Romanian Army, managed to break the toxic alliance" with Nazi Germany. The President added that the present is marked, in its turn, "by complex challenges", the COVID-19 pandemic being not only a health crisis, but also "a trial of solidarity and unity, ably exploited by populist opinion leaders and politicians." "Radical ideologies, the glorification of executioners, as well as extremist currents and attempts to distort history threaten democratic societies at the global level and threaten the progress recorded so far. Ignoring these dangers will only amplify this hydra that feeds on indifference and passivity. The rule of law, democratic values, fundamental rights and liberties, as well as peace and stability have been won at the cost of human lives. Our sacred duty is to defend and convey them to the younger generations. Our democratic future depends on involvement today. Let us firmly and vigorously oppose, each of us, and, especially, all of us together, any attempt to degrade European values and abandon them," Iohannis said. The day of the signing of the Ribbentrop - Molotov Pact - August 23 - was established by the European Parliament, through a Declaration, in 2008, as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. In 2011, the Romanian Parliament, through law no. 198, declared August 23 as the Day of Remembrance for Victims of Fascism and Communism. In Romania, the date of August 23 also celebrates the Royal coup d'etat of 1944 that saw the removal of the Axis-aligned government of Marshal Ion Antonescu and Romania's joining of the Allies. (RO - author: Irinela Visan, editor: Claudia Stanescu; EN - author: Razvan-Adrian Pandea, editor: Simona Iacob)

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