Statement No. 55: Institute for Study of Totalitarian Regimes

On personnel changes in the Institute for Study of Totalitarian Regimes  (ÚSTR)

The Democratic Club welcomed in their official position No. 22 of 2002 already, the proposal of Act on the Institute for Documentation of Totality. We expressed a conviction there that, “an impartial and well funded analytical processing only can enable the society as a whole to more deeply understand ways of functioning of oppressive components of the totalitarian Communist regime, thus creating presumptions for the effective settlement of an important area of the Communist past as well as minimizing the chance of a recidive of that.”

We are sure that the Institute for Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR),  founding of which took place later, did an immense volume of beneficial work in this spirit. We assume, even some mistakes could have been caused within the Institute´s activities over the years of existence. However, we are not in the position of accepting the mistakes being the reason for recalling the director and other significant members of the Institute. The changed political structure of the CR Parliament´s Senate and of the Institute´s Board of Directors seems to us to be a much more likely reason, as well as the coalition-forming intentions of the victorious Party, while, doubtlessly, interpretation of history in a democratic State should never depend upon election results. This conviction of ours is supported at the same time by the members of the Insitute´s scientific council resignation, most of who are noted for their scientific and moral integrity.

Opening of discussion on the question whether Communist regime was or was not totalitarian over the entire term of its existence can be assumed especially counter-productive, since a unified and universally accepted definition of totality does not exist. Doubtlessly, the regime was an oppressive one though hardness of oppression fluctuated, and it was a negation of democracy over the whole term of existence hence, worth of damnation.

Therefore, we call on the USTR Council to negate their decision of recalling the Director and to render it possible to continue activities of the Institute in the spirit of the Act 218/2007 Preamble, free of political deformations. As a primary and highly urgent a task, as the climate of recent weeks shows it, the protection of security forces archives from possible intrusions can be assumed as well as their introduction into public domain in their full integrity, in order to enable everyone interested to employ the data contained for their research, including scientists and historians whole the world over. The most efficient support of high-quality and independent research, hence of an impartial and multi-layer knowlege, can be secured by rendering access to well described, classified and most complete primary data to all the scientists wishing to work on these. It is the most efficient way, at the same time, of purporting satisfaction to the criticism of the Institute´s former Council in the sense of research having been neglected of some aspects of our society´s development over the periods of years 1938-1945 and 1948-1989. We also assume it our democratic right to re-present those outcomes we feel deformed, by all means.

Prague, May 7, 2013.

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