Thursday, July 13, 2023

“Medieval Inquisition” returns to Europe with anti-communism as a spearhead

Do you remember the so-called “Velvet Revolution” back in 1989 in Czechoslovakia? Do you remember the promises of the then leaders of the counterrevolution, like Vaclav Havel, about the supposed coming of “freedom” and “democracy”?

Well, more than 33 years later, it has been proved that the “Velvet Revolution” had nothing to do with revolution but, on the contrary, it was a major setback for the working people of Czechoslovakia. 

The overthrow of socialism and the restoration of capitalism gave birth to monsters, including the dismantling of major social achievements, widening of social inequalities, destruction of public health and education, liquidation of state property to the private capital, impoverishment for the popular strata, etc.

The accession of the Czech and Slovak Republics in the EU and NATO was accompanied with the intensification of anti-communist propaganda in all levels. Today, these two countries, alongside Poland and the Baltic states, are at the forefront of an anti-communist “Inquisition” that expands throughout the European Union threatening the freedom of speech!

A recent example of this is the prosecution of Dr J
osef Skála, historian and cadre of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, who was sentenced to eight months imprisonment because he had the audacity to express his scientific opinion! The “crime” of Dr Skála is that he dared to express doubts in a radio broadcast about the Soviet guilt for the Katyn Massacre, presenting research and academic sources that defend an opposite view.

A fabrication of Nazi Minister of Propaganda Dr Joseph Goebbels, the “Soviets did it” version of the Katyn Massacre remains for decades a major weapon in the arsenal of anti-communist, anti-soviet propaganda throughout the world. Almost two months after the resounding defeat of the Nazis in Stalingrad, on 13 April 1943, a mass grave of Polish POWs was found in the Katyn Forrest, a few miles away from Smolensk. Under the guidance of Goebbels, the blame was cast against the Soviet leadership and this falsehood was eagerly adopted by the imperialists and bourgeois historiography in Europe and the United States. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the counterrevolutionary leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin fabricated evidence in order to support this lie, despite that the case was dismissed during a trial at the Constitutional Court of Russia in 1992.

Since then, extended research by scholars in Russia, Europe and the United States, have provided documented evidence which expose the fabrication, showing that the Katyn Massacre was in fact carried out by the Nazis and not the Soviets. For example, a significant amount of research on the issue has been done by U.S Professor Grover Furr, presented in his 2018 book “The Mystery of the Katyn Massacre: The Evidence, the Solution” (check here).

On March 2022, two years after the radio broadcast, Dr Josef
Skála, alongside three other participants, was summoned by the National Command for Combating Crime (!) of the Czech Police in order to provide explanations. He was tried based on Article 405 of the Penal Code and sentenced to 8 months imprisonment – conditionally suspended for 18 months - by the Prague Court on 7 June 2023.

The Article 405/Chapter XIII of the Czech Penal Code, which served as the basis for Dr
Skála's prosecution, plays a central role in the attempt of the country's bourgeois authorities to criminalize communist ideology. More specifically, Article 405 reads: “Whoever publicly denies, impugns, approves, or attempts to justify Nazi, Communist or any other genocide, or other crimes of the Nazis and Communists against Humanity, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for six months to three years”.

The above legal monstrosity, which adopts the hideous, completely unhistorical theory of the two extremes by equating Communist with Nazism, came into force on 1 January 2010. But the beginning of this shame can be traced back in 2000, shortly after the official entry of the Czech Republic into NATO, when the Criminal Code was enriched with Article 261a thus introducing the equation of Communism with Nazism.

Similar legal provisions, which resulted from the counterrevolutionary overthrows in the 1990s, exist in other former socialist countries in Europe like, for example, in Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states, where the activity of Communist Parties is prohibited, the communist symbols are banned and socialist-era monuments are being demolished.

The responsibility of the Russian leadership

The current leadership of the capitalist Russia, under Vladimir Putin, bears enormous responsibility for adopting the anti-communist falsehoods concerning the Katyn Massacre. Following the steps of his predecessors, President Putin has done everything in order to defame socialism by repeating well-known slanders about the 1917 Great October Socialist Revolution and the historic leaders of the Soviet Union, primarily V. I. Lenin and Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin. This isn't a surprise for a man who has publicly expressed admiration for fascists like Ivan Ilyin and novelist Aleksander Solzhenitsyn.

In 2010, Mr Putin had participated alongside his Polish counterpart in an official event “in commemoration of the Soviet crime in Katyn”, laying a wreath in a monument erected close to Katyn forest. Through such actions, the Government of the Russian Federation adds fuel to the fire of anti-communist propaganda

“Medieval Inquisition” returns with anti-communism as a spearhead

Josef Skála
The case of Dr Josef Skála's prosecution in Czech Republic wasn't a bolt from the blue. It is another episode in the escalating anti-communist campaign that takes place in a number of EU member-states. Being an official policy of the EU and its bourgeois governments, anti-communism has been evolved during the last years as the spearhead of a modern “Medieval Inquisition”.

Under the deliberately vague pretext of “combating extremism”, the unhistorical and monstrous theory of the two extremes (equation of Communism with Nazism/Fascism) acquires an institutional character, directly threatening the freedom of speech itself. The prosecution of Josef Skála confirms that the – supposedly sacred in the EU – democratic and academic rights and freedoms are under attack.

Having reached its historical limits a long time ago, Capitalism becomes more and more reactionary, brutal and offensive. A new, modern form of “Medieval Inquisition” knocks Europe's door. Only the organized, militant struggle of the working class, the youth and the popular strata can stop the course to barbarism, with a counter-attack that will lead to the overthrow of the rotten capitalist system, towards the creation of a new society, the one of socialism-communism. 

* Nikos Mottas is the Editor-in-Chief of In Defense of Communism.