Europe’s brand-new Justice Commissioner has only been in the job five weeks, but she has already made her own unique contribution to worsening relations between the European Union and their eastern cousins by using ‘black ribbon day’ to remind Russia they started the Second World War.
In a press release made on the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Germany and Russia, Luxembourger Commissioner Martine Reicherts stressed the importance of defending European peace, and former Russian leader Stalin’s place in causing the world’s “most brutal war”.
The Russian foreign ministry hit back at her remarks yesterday, calling them “treacherous sacrilege that blurs the lines between good and evil” and of “playing on Russophobia”, as reports the EUObserver. Joseph Stalin is presently enjoying a resurgence in popularity among Russians, despite having been rightly demonised for much of the late 20th century.
While Europe officially commemorates his alliance with Adolf Hitler, the perspective is very different in Moscow where they hold an epic military parade every year to celebrate the victory of Stalin and Russia over Nazism in 1945. This triumph of Russia over Germany has become an important part of Russo culture and self identity, and reminders of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact are not kindly received.
The ‘European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes’, or ‘black ribbon day’ is a European Union initiative for ‘Europe for Citizens to promote active European citizenship [and] ‘Active European Remembrance’ instituted in 2008.