Americans, communism, and Putinism
Communism has clearly never had a good reputation in the United States, except in the restricted circles of the Communist Party and other far-left groups. But memories of communism and the combats waged against it are still alive in the USA, whose main adversary throughout nearly all the “American century” was the USSR. The growing preoccupation with China – another formerly communist country that has recently defied American hegemony – together with the threat posed by North Korea continue to sustain this memory, as do the neo-imperial politics of Vladimir Putin’s regime.
It is true that the Kremlin no longer calls upon the workers of the world to unite, instead seeking to gather around it the international populist right, which it sees as a new alternative to liberal democracy1. This problem was long overlooked before finally coming to the attention of the American public in the wake of Moscow’s presumed involvement in the 2016 US presidential elections. Russiagate, which started early 2017, has extensively shaped the context in which the centenary of the Russian Revolution was debated in the United States.
Americans often view relations between the United States and post-Soviet Russia through the familiar prism of the Cold War. Yet the association between communism and Putin’s Russia is paradoxical, for his regime is characterized by a novel combination of mafia-style authoritarianism, cultural ultra-conservatism, clericalism, right-wing populism, and neoliberalism. It is thus far removed from communist ideals, with which it claims no affiliation. For Putin, Lenin and his Bolsheviks were in fact the West’s fifth column, and the Great October Revolution nothing short of a national betrayal, an act compounded by being committed in time of war. Despite the undeniable sympathy Putinists feel for several aspects of the USSR legacy (particularly the Soviet empire), from their point of view the communist period may only be integrated into the glorious history of Russia on condition of being purged of its specifically communist aspects. Stalin, for instance, may be celebrated as national leader, not as communist leader. Nevertheless, the West often projects certain memories of the USSR and certain preoccupations with it onto present-day Russia.
In short, the specter of communism continues to haunt the United States, though in far more nebulous and dilute form than it once did. The 2017 report by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (or VCMF) concluded: “Americans increasingly see communism as a problem”2, partly because millennials are increasingly drawn to socialism. But that does not mean that there is any unequivocal relationship between American perceptions of the USSR and of Putin’s Russia. As a rule, those who “love the Soviet Union” (as a famous left-wing American historian once confided in me) tend to emphasize the positive – or at least comprehensible – aspects of current Russian policy, even though some of them disapprove of Putin’s authoritarianism and condemn Stalin’s acts of violence. It is paradoxical that in the West the far left should have broadly retained its sympathy for Russia, despite its no longer displaying any properties with which the left could in principle identify. Or at least with one exception – the Kremlin continues to present an alternative to Western democracy and a challenge to American hegemony, which suffice to inspire the exaltation previously aroused by the Soviet Union.
On the other hand, among those not “burnt by the sun of revolution” (to borrow the title of Nikita Mikhalkov’s celebrated film), some feel sympathy for Putin, while others detest him. American Putinversteher thus come from clearly different groups, including part of the cultural left found mainly on campuses, businesspeople concerned solely with profit, and representatives of the far right and (more rarely) moderate right who share Putin’s populist attitudes and distaste for the liberal left. Typically, the latter two groups, unlike the first, have no sympathy for the Soviet experiment. Having said that, the American establishment, including the liberal left and the majority of the moderate right along with most of the media, tends to share a very critical vision of the Soviet experiment and Putinism, despite disagreeing on other points.
The centenary of the Russian Revolution provides an opportunity to reflect on these tendencies. The widespread view that the Russian Revolution is a matter of purely academic interest in the United States is belied by its centenary, which may be explained in particular by the sudden emergence of Russia as an important factor in US politics. Not that long ago, President Barack Obama characterized Russia as a regional power of danger solely to its neighbors3. But with the Ukrainian crisis, Russian involvement in the Syrian war, and especially in the 2016 US elections, perceptions of Russia have shifted. In this article I focus on the central moment in the centenary of the Russian Revolution in the United States, namely the introduction in 2017 of the “National Day for the Victims of Communism”.
Donald Trump commemorates the victims of communism
On November 7, 2017, the exact date of the centenary, the White House published a statement declaring it the “National Day of Victims of Communism”4. Donald Trump was in Seoul at time, discussing the danger posed by North Korea, but he then went to Peking (and to Vietnam). The American press did not fail to accuse him of having poorly chosen the timing of his declaration5, bearing in mind that China still proudly claims to show “the socialist path opened up by the Russian October Revolution in 1917”, to quote a recent comment by a senior figure in the Chinese Communist party6. Additionally, an exhibition jointly hosted by the National Museum of China and the Historical Museum of Russia opened in Peking on November 7 to mark the anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution7. Nevertheless, Chinese leaders display a certain ambiguity towards the October Revolution. While claiming their communist legacy, they are afraid of social upheaval (as Putin is in Russia)8. Furthermore, the Chinese leadership does not take Trump’s rhetoric seriously, seeing him as a loudmouthed but docile negotiator9. During his stay in Peking, the American president was full of praise for the country and its traditions.
The November 7 declaration obviously resonated more strongly in the United States than it did in China. One of the first comments made by a White House official stated that the president wanted to mark the hundredth anniversary of “Lenin seizing the Winter Palace in Russia” and that the day for the victims of communism would not necessarily be “recognized every year”10, clearly intending to minimize the initiative. There is in fact a complex set of rules for introducing commemorative dates in the United States11. In addition to national holidays, there are forty-odd permanent patriotic and national observances introduced by law and listed in Title 36 of the United States Code. Some of them concern a historical commemoration, such as Columbus Day (October 12), Loyalty Day (initially called Americanization Day, introduced in 1921 to replace International Labor Day celebrated on May 1), Memorial Day (on May 28 to honor those who have died while serving in the Armed Forces), National Freedom Day (February 1 to commemorate the abolition of slavery in 1865), Patriot Day (commemorating the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks), and Veterans Day (to celebrate the November 11, 1918 armistice ending the First World War). There are also thousands of commemorative dates introduced either by a chamber of Congress (in most cases the Senate, because the House of Representatives has refused to consider this type of initiative since 1995), or else by presidential proclamation. These dates need to be confirmed each year by new measures. Lastly, the president may publish messages setting out his vision of a given historical event on its anniversary, adding new days to the already long list of commemorative dates, whose status is sometimes hard to determine accurately. It is not at all surprising that this list contains some unusual dates. For instance, before becoming the National Day for Victims of Communism, November 7 had been declared Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day12.
In order to make public his reflections about the Russian Revolution, the American president opted for the least restrictive format, namely a message. It involved no piece of legislation and is not a permanent commemorative date. Nevertheless, on November 7 the following year, the White House once again published a presidential message taking up the themes of the 2017 message, with significant changes that will be examined later. Of course, the theme of communist crimes is one that is dear to Donald Trump, and he has expressed similar views on other occasions13.
Trump’s message and the Cold War legacy
The November 7 message belongs to a tradition of American commemorative policy dating back to the Cold War. Numerous “entrepreneurs” of this policy in the United States have long advocated an official commemoration of the victims of communism. Most have ties to the Republican Party, although Democrats have also supported several anti-communist remembrance initiatives. The VCMF has been the leading advocate. The Friendship Act of December 1993 authorized its creation in 1994 “for reform in new and emerging democracies” and the development of “partnership with Russia, Ukraine, and other new independent states of the former Soviet Union”14. The law stated that “since 1917, the rulers of empires and international communism led by Vladimir I. Lenin and Mao Tse-Tung have been responsible for the deaths of over 100 million victims in an unprecedented imperial communist holocaust […]. The imperialist regimes of international communism have brutally suppressed the human rights [and] national independence of the peoples of over forty captive nations”. The vision of communism as a Russian-Chinese system and the concept of “captive nations” date back to one of the most important texts of American anti-communism, namely the joint declaration by the Senate and House of Representatives signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in July 1959. This text, in the spirit of the Truman doctrine, established an inextricable link between communism and imperialism, and conceptualized national liberation movements as prime examples of anti-communist movements15. The figure of 100 million victims consecrated by the Friendship Act subsequently found its way into Trump’s 2017 message.
Additionally, the 1993 law authorized the building of a memorial to the victims of communism sited in the District of Columbia, so that “never again will nations and peoples allow so evil a tyranny to terrorize the world”. To fund this memorial and run the project, the law authorized the setting up of “a special entity”, giving rise to the Foundation for the Victims of Communism. The creation of an organization in charge of preserving the memory of victims and of constructing a monument in their honor, together with the use of the name “Memorial”, indicates the relationship between this American project and certain cotemporaneous projects in Eastern Europe, including the Memorial society in Russia (founded in 1989) whose ambition to build a monument in Moscow to commemorate the victims of Stalinism was only very partially fulfilled16.
The idea of building such a monument in the United States was initially put forward by a few Republican politicians in 1991, one of whom is of interest in the context of this article. Dana Rohrabacher, who represented California in the House of Representatives from 1988 to 2018, started his political career working for Ronald Reagan, acting as one of his speechwriters from 1981 to 1988. He was known at the time as a staunch anti-communist, and his commemorative initiative was very much part of this. Yet over time, his radical conservatism led to him to become a Trump supporter (who considered him for the position of Secretary of State in 2016) and advocate for closer ties with Putin’s Russia. He is suspected of having connections with the Russian secret services, and is often called “Putin’s favorite congressman” (or even “Putin’s lapdog”), and supported Russia in its armed conflict with Georgia in 2008 and with Ukraine in 201417. He visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017 to meet Julian Assange18. Anti-communism, ultraconservatism, and pro-Putin sentiment are clearly in no way contradictory.
The Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington
In June 2007, the VCMF fulfilled its initial objective when the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington was inaugurated in the presence of President George W. Bush, its honorary chairman at the time (the VCMF has since devoted its energies to creating a victims museum). The inauguration date was chosen to mark the anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s famous speech in Berlin in 1987 – calling on Gorbachev “to tear down this wall” – showing the importance of East European references (a topic we shall return to later). The event took place four months after Putin’s speech in Munich, which marked a crisis in relations between Russia and the United States, as well as between Russia and Eastern European countries. The monument is a bronze replica of the famous “Goddess of Democracy” statue on Tiananmen Square, made out of papier mâché by students at the Peking Academy of Fine Arts and rapidly destroyed by the Chinese government. Chinese references were thus also significant for the VCMF.
George W. Bush during the ceremony to inaugurate the Memorial
The groundwork for Trump’s declaration on November 7, 2017 was also laid by the tradition of commemorating the collapse of the Berlin wall, a supreme symbol of America’s victory in the Cold War. This tradition is in fact a recent one. It was invented by George W. Bush in November 2001, two months after the September 11 attacks. The creation of World Freedom Day (not to be confused with National Freedom Day, introduced by a joint resolution of Congress in 1947 and written into law in 1948 to commemorate the emancipation of American slaves on February 1, 1865) had nothing to do with the situation in China, Russia, or Eastern Europe. Putin was only taking his first steps to stifle press freedom, and it was hard to predict the authoritarian and neo-imperialist turn his regime would take. The presidential proclamation of 2001 stated that “today, freedom is again threatened. Like the fascists and totalitarians before them, Al Qaida, the Taliban regime that supports them, and other terrorist groups across the world seek to impose radical views through threats and violence”. The proclamation had a far more concrete objective than “celebrat[ing] the new freedom in which much of the world lives today”. The purpose was to legitimize the American invasion of Afghanistan. In his proclamation, Bush emphasized that “more than 2 billion people still live under authoritarian regimes”, adding one month after the beginning of hostilities in Afghanistan “our thoughts today especially turn to the people of Afghanistan”19.
Bush’s World Freedom Day is of far higher status than Trump’s National Day for Victims of Communism. Bush published a proclamation, not a message. Having said that, a proclamation alone does not suffice to institute a permanent commemorative date. In 2005 Bush once again declared November 9 World Freedom Day. This time his rhetoric was far more neutral, and he referred only to the situation in Eastern Europe, presented as a success story for the advance of democracy20. Tensions with Russia, which were still largely concealed from view, probably influenced the fairly abstract language of the proclamation. While the Orange Revolution of December 2004 - January 2005 in Ukraine and the arrival in power of the nationalist Law and Justice party in Poland in October 2005 may well have influenced the decision to publish it, neither of these events was explicitly mentioned.
Barak Obama decided in turn to celebrate World Freedom Day in 2016, against the backdrop of the Ukrainian crisis and presidential elections, when the question of relations with Russia was one of the most debated topics in the United States. The self-congratulatory spirit of his proclamation was combined with an almost unbelievable level of skepticism for a document of this kind, since it asserted that “liberty will not emerge across the globe in a single wave”, and that in certain countries it would take generations21.
Trump carried on with the tradition of commemorating World Freedom Day. On November 8, 2017, the day after his message about the victims of communism, he signed a proclamation celebrating the anniversary of the collapse of the wall, with vague allusions to terrorist threats and an emphasis on the need to collaborate with “our friends and allies”22. His November 7 message was equally abstract, going over the main themes of the documents quoted, including the incompatibility between freedom and communism, totalitarian violence, and the subjugation of people “under the false pretense of liberation”. According to Trump, “the Bolshevik revolution gave rise to the Soviet Union and its dark decades of oppressive communism”, adding “over the past century, communist totalitarian regimes around the world have killed more than 100 million people, and subjected countless others to exploitation, violence, and untold devastation”23. The figure is recognized as a conventional commonplace in such documents.
Trump’s message in 2018 brought some important nuances, particularly a list of the victims of communism including “Ukrainians deliberately starved in the Holodomor, Russians purged in the Great Terror, Cambodians murdered in the killing fields, and Berliners shot as they tried to escape to freedom”24. Here Trump clearly strove to show compassion for the feelings of Ukrainians, provoking a wave of enthusiasm in Ukraine. But he did not thereby forget the Russian victims of communism, and in Moscow too it is frequently pointed out that Stalin’s repressions were directed primarily against Russians. Characteristically, China was not mentioned this time, although most of the victims of communism were Chinese. The White House no doubt preferred not to irritate Peking unnecessarily.
The decommunization of Eastern Europe and American commemorations
We have already noted the important role played by Eastern European countries in American memories of communism. I now wish to add a few additional observations, including about the role played by East European diasporas in how the past is used in the United States.
In the period immediately after the war, Eastern Europe was central to US policy to contain the spread of communism. In the 1960s and 1970s Washington nevertheless accepted Soviet control of the region25, and it was only with perestroika that the US renewed its political support for the “captive nations” of the East. Since then, the decommunization of Eastern Europe has continued to stir American memories of communism. In particular, American opinion is sensitive to the often justified allegations made against Russia by countries in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine.
In 1989, popular fronts in three Baltic countries (still Soviet republics at the time), whose aspirations for national liberation were supported by Washington, staged an enormous demonstration to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact on August 23, 1939. Two million people joined hands to make a human chain running across three countries from Tallinn to Vilnius. This soon became a symbolic date associated with the Soviet occupation not just of the Baltic countries and eastern regions of Belarus and Ukraine, but of Eastern Europe more generally. No other date was as suitable for declaring the Soviet Union jointly responsible for the Second World War, and placing it on an equal footing with Nazi Germany – which corresponded to the historical experience of most of the countries in Eastern Europe. Yet in the years following the dissolution of the Soviet empire, the project to join the EU and the dwindling threat from Russia sidelined (comparatively speaking) public complaint about the past in these countries. It was only in the 2000s that such complaints acquired central political significance once again, after the formation of Putin’s regime and the rise of nationalism throughout Europe, including Eastern Europe.
The European People’s Party (EPP) was behind an initiative to take up the theme of communist crimes at a pan-European level as of 200426, with growing support from national liberals and national populists throughout Eastern European countries. In 2006, at the initiative of the EPP, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution about “international condemnation of crimes of the totalitarian communist regimes”27. Since it received the backing of less than two thirds of the assembly it was not transmitted to the Committee of Ministers, and so had no practical political impact. But its symbolic importance was to formulate the legal notion of “communist crimes” in an official European document. Two years later, the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, signed by a group of mostly Eastern European liberal politicians, called for communist crimes to be viewed in the same way as Nazi crimes28. Lastly, the European Parliament resolution of April 2, 2009 on European conscience and totalitarianism, directly influenced by the Prague declaration, called for “the proclamation of 23 August as a Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, to be commemorated with dignity and impartiality”29. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) gave its backing to this initiative, suggesting in its Vilnius Declaration that this commemorative date be called the “European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism”30. It is clear that Western countries were seeking a formula that would enable them to express their support for the remembrance demands of new EU members without thereby establishing an equivalence between communism and fascism, which was problematic given their own socialist tradition and the traditional account of the Second World War during which the Soviet Union had been their ally.
Let us observe in passing that in 2007 the Council of Europe had refused to accept a proposal by Baltic countries to include in its Framework Decision of 28 November, 2008 on combating racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law a recommendation that member states criminalize the negation not only of Nazi crimes but also of communist crimes. Yet certain Eastern European countries did so, modifying their own legislation31. The declarations just mentioned were intended by the Council to show its East European countries that their agendas were not being ignored.
Most East European countries, including Poland, Hungary, and the Baltic countries, have placed this “European Day of Remembrance” on their commemorative calendars. In November 2009, Canada too decided to dedicate August 23, called Black Ribbon Day, to the memory of victims of Nazi and communist crimes. Powerful diasporas, particularly the Ukrainian diaspora, made this country very sensitive to the commemorative agendas of Eastern Europeans.
The influence of Eastern European diasporas has also been a factor in US policy. Once again, they have worked to promote the theme of communist crimes, though it must be stated that the resurgence of Russian imperialism under Putin, Washington’s involvement in Eastern European politics, and traditional anti-communist discourse have played a greater role. Certain initiatives prior to Trump’s 2017 message to commemorate the victims of communism emanated from circles with ties to Eastern European diasporas. Thus in July 2013, Republican Representative for Illinois John Shimkus, a descendant of a Lithuanian family who emigrated to the United States in 1900, proposed a resolution “expressing support for designation of August 23 as a ‘Black Ribbon Day’ to recognize the victims of Soviet Communist and Nazi regimes”32. Illinois, home to 87,000 ethnic Lithuanians, is the largest center of this diaspora in the United States33. The resolution is reminiscent of the decisions by the European Parliament and Canada, as it is of the tradition of American legislation (including the 1959 law introducing the Week of Captive Nations), issuing a call to never forget the terror against “citizens in Central and Eastern Europe” who were “deprived […] of their basic human rights” and “separate[ed] from the democratic world by means of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall”. The resolution was never examined by the House of Representatives, which has no intention of adding to the number of commemorative dates.
Reception of Trump’s message
Given the dominant memory of communism in the United States, it is not surprising that Trump’s message was received very positively, by Republicans but also by several Democrats. On the same day, the House of Representatives set up a bipartisan committee known as the Victims of Communism Caucus to alert American society to the crimes of communism and the role that “its tyranny in the five existing communist countries (China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam) and its legacy in the post-Soviet sphere” continues to play in international relations today34. Putinism is unambiguously targeted here – going far beyond Trump’s intentions.
In the wake of the President’s decision, other bodies adopted similar declarations. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative association of members of the legislative assemblies of various states, adopted, at the initiative of Republican Representative of Utah Kay J. Christofferson, a model declaration for use by states to place a “Day for the Victims of Communism” on their calendars. The document refers to the presidential message of November 7, to the creation of the Parliamentary Caucus, and to the position of the VCMF35. Virginia, a “red” (Republican) state, was the first to adopt this declaration in March 201836. According to ALEC, the states of Kansas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas are considering introducing similar declarations (all “red” states too). The VCMF has of course warmly supported Trump’s decision, as have most conservative media and think tanks.
Most criticism of this new national day has come from the left. Blake Montgomery, a journalist with the Internet media company BuzzFeed, has described the discussion about Trump’s message as a “white nationalist talking point”, not failing to trigger sharp reactions from conservative media37, which led Montgomery to delete his tweets and say he had only sought to point out the hypocritical nature of the presidential message. Other media have condemned Trump’s initiative as an attempt to manipulate voters. The liberal website Salon has accused the American president of implicit anti-Semitism, noting that Trump has found strong expressions to condemn communist crimes, which no doubt pleases his electorate, while being, in their opinion, far less convincing when denouncing Nazi crimes. In his January 2017 speech to mark the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, he made no mention to Jews as victims and avoided explaining Nazi crimes in terms of fascist ideology (whereas in his message of November 7 he presented the communist ideology as the cause of communist terror). Salon has established a parallel between Trump and far-right leaders in Eastern Europe, who use the same anti-communism as a propaganda tool38.
Curiously, Russia has offered virtually no reaction to the creation of the Day for the Victims of Communism, although the Kremlin generally protests against “denigration” of the Soviet past. In 2007, for instance, Putin condemned the opening of the Memorial for the Victims of Communism in Washington as an anti-Russian action, indicating in habitual style that the Americans had committed equally serious crimes as the communists, and that Russia would not allow anyone to pin blame on it (a theme that the American far left constantly reproduces)39. Yet in 2017 Moscow chose not to get caught up in the controversy, even though the Russian media protested strongly about the latest American attempt to make Russia repent for its past40. First, the Kremlin avoids criticizing Donald Trump too seriously, especially as anti-communism is a weapon in its own political arsenal – it is not fortuitous that Putin has shown no interest in celebrating the centenary of the Revolution. Second, a few days before the American president published his message, Vladimir Putin had attended the ceremony to inaugurate the Memorial to Victims of Political Repression in Moscow, and he did not wish to criticize Donald Trump for having acted in analogous manner41. In general, right-wing populists tend to understand each other despite their disagreements, as the Kremlin’s discreet reaction to the introduction in America of a Day for the Victims of Communism illustrates once again.
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom. Russia, Europe, America, New York, Tim Duggan Books, 2018.
Scott Wilson, “Obama dismisses Russia as “regional power” acting out of weakness”, The Washington Post, March 25, 2014.
John Haltiwanger, “Trump declares National Day for the Victims of Communism on the Eve of China Visit”, Newsweek, November 7, 2017.
Quoted by Anne Dolhein, “La Chine communiste fête les 100 ans de la Révolution d’octobre”, October 10 2017.
“Exhibition in Memory of the 100th Anniversary of the October Revolution – A Collection of Russian State Historical Museum”, National Museum of China, November 7 2017 - February 7, 2018.
Daniel Vernet, “À Pékin, célébrer le centième anniversaire de la Révolution russe exige beaucoup de subtilité”, November 7, 2017.
Quoted by John Haltiwanger, “Trump Declares National Day for the Victims of Communism on the Eve of China Visit”, Newsweek, November 11, 2017.
Jacob R. Straus and Jared C. Nagel, "Commemorative Days, Weeks, and Months: Background and Current Practice". Congressional Research Service Report, March 25, 2016.
John Haltiwanger, “Trump declares National Day for the Victims of Communism on the Eve of China Visit”, Newsweek, November 7, 2017.
Public Law 86-90 of July 17, 1959: Joint resolution providing for the designation of the third week of July as “Captive Nations Week”. See too Justine Faure, “Croisade américaine en 1950. La délivrance des “Nations captives” d’Europe de l’Est”, Vingtième Siècle. Revue d’histoire, n° 73, 2002, p. 5-13. While the United States started to lose interest in Eastern Europe in the late 1950s, the concept of "captive nations" continued to be important, because it could also be applied to other communist countries.
Nanci Adler, Victims of Soviet Terror. The Story of the Memorial Movement, Westport, Praeger Publishers, 1993.
“He’s a Member of Congress. The Kremlin Likes Him So Much It Gave Him a Code Name”, November 21, 2017 ; Steve Bennen, ““Putin’s favorite congressman” received a Kremlin code name”, November 22, 2017 ; Benjamin Siegel, “Dana Rohrabacher, once dubbed “Putin’s favorite congressman”, trying to defend seat”, November 3, 2018.
Manu Raju, Zachary Cohen, “A GOP congressman’s lonely quest defending Julian Assange”, May 23, 2018.
Justine Faure, “Croisade américaine en 1950. La délivrance des “Nations captives” d’Europe de l’Est”, Vingtième siècle. Revue d’histoire, no. 73, 2002, p. 24.
Laure Neumayer, “Integrating the Central European Past into a Common Narrative. The Mobilization Around the “Crimes of Communism” in the European Parliament”, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 23/3, 2015, p. 347.
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, resolution 1481 (2006): Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes.
Divided Europe Reunited: Promoting Human Rights and Civil Liberties in the OSCE Region in the 21st Century, Vilnius Declaration of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Resolutions Adopted at the Eighteenth Annual Session, Vilnius, 29 June to 3 July 2009, p. 48.
See: Nikolay Koposov, Memory Laws, Memory Wars. The Politics of the Past in Europe and Russia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017, chap. 3; N. Koposov, “Lois mémorielles: Histoire et typologie”, Le Débat, no. 201, 2018, p. 165-175.
Joshua Philipp, “Trump Proclaims “World Freedom Day” to Oppose Communism and to Uphold Individual Liberties”, The Epoch Times, November 9, 2017: https://www.theepochtimes.com/trump-proclaims-world-freedom-day-to-oppose-communism-and-to-uphold-individual-liberties_2353983.html. Philipp, the author of this article published in this American Chinese newspaper forbidden in China, emphasizes the close link between the November 8 proclamation and the creation of the Day for the Victims of Communism.
Victims of Communism Memorial Day Resolution. Model Policy, October 4, 2018. Kay Christofferson, “A Memorial Day to Honor Victims of Communism – The World Must Never Forget”, November 7, 2018.
Mimi Nguyen Ly, “Virginia, First State to Join Trump in Remembering Victims of Communism”, The Epoch Times, November 8, 2018.
See for example: “BuzzFeed Journalist: Recognizing Victims of Communism Is a “White Nationalist Talking Point”“, November 8, 2017 ; see also Blake Montgomery's withdrawal tweets about his declaration.
See for example the show “Time will tell” [Время покажет] broadcast on November 8, 2017 on the leading Russian TV channel.
“Russie: Poutine inaugure un mémorial aux victimes des répressions”, October 30, 2017. The opening of this monument, which may seem a triumphal fulfilment of the work of the Memorial society, has been severely criticized by Putin’s liberal opponents as a purely demagogic gesture.