Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-05-09-Speech-3-032"
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". Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we have had this sort of argument about European history many times before; the last time we did so, it was in a debate on what to make of the Sudeten problem in the Czech Republic, when we said – and I repeat – that what was needed was a European interpretation of the war and that the national interpretations of it had to be put to one side. In this instance, the European interpretation is a simple matter; it is that the Red Army played its part in freeing Europe from National Socialist Fascism. That is what it did, and this playing of its part demanded great sacrifices. Let us leave to one side the argument about what responsibility Stalin bore for Hitler’s rise to power, for that is another debate. After that, though, the Red Army became an army of occupation, an army that made freedom impossible. That, too, is part of European history. Removing hideous bronze statues, far from presenting a problem for the cultural landscape of a city, tends to help make the place more beautiful, but, in this debate, we have to make it abundantly clear – and I hope that we will hear this said in the debate on Russia – that the fact of the matter is that what the Russian leadership – Putin – is trying to do here, with all its and his might, is to foment division. We must all affirm our solidarity with the governments of Latvia and Estonia. At the same time, though, whatever our solidarity, we have to acknowledge that the Baltic states do have a problem with the rights of the Russian minority. What history teaches us all is that social conflict arises when a minority – and that is what 30% of the population amounts to – wants to belong but feels deprived of their rights. I know that all majorities always deny that: the Turks have always told us that there is no Kurdish problem in Turkey, yet a Kurdish problem is just what there is in Turkey, and there is a problem with the Russian minority and their rights. This is not to say that the Russian minority is good, but that, as a minority, they have to have rights, and that it is difficult to build consensus in society if those rights are not recognised."@en1
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