In advance of that commemoration, which this year will be centered in Bratislava, the European Commission released the following statement declaring among other things the following:
“On 23 August 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. It marked the beginning of one of the darkest periods in the recent history of our continent, bringing with it the deportation, torture and murder of tens of millions of people under totalitarian regimes. While the end of World War II marked the defeat of the Nazi regime, many Central and Eastern Europeans continued to suffer under other totalitarian regimes.
“77 years after the Pact’s signature, we will remember all the victims of the totalitarian and authoritarian regimes that have scarred parts of Europe during the 20th century. The Europe-Wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes keeps alive the memory of the victims and pays tribute to them. This commemoration also helps us to recall lessons learnt from this dark chapter in European history.
“Fortunately, the young generations of Europeans today have not experienced life under a totalitarian or authoritarian regime. However, we must never take our freedoms for granted. Therefore, the preservation of historical memory and our commitment to democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law, remain more important than ever.”
Dalia Grybaukaite, the president of Lithuania, made a comment on Lithuanian radio on just how important such a commitment to such principles are for the countries of the region.