Important political leaders among whom the first democratic elected presidents from Central and Eastern Europe countries gathered in Bucharest for two days to take part at the international Conference hosted by the Parliament Palace to mark 25 years since the communism fall..
Lech Walesa, President of Poland between 1990-1995, Emil Constantinescu, President of Romania between 1996-2000, Petar Stoyanov, President of Bulgaria between 1997-2002, Stanislav Shushkevich, President of Belarus between 1991-1994, Sali Berisha, President of Albania between 1992-1997, Petru Lucinschi, President of the Republic of Moldova between 1996-2001, Rexhep Meidani, President of Albania between 1997-2002, Rudolf Schuster, President of Slovakia between 1999-2004, Boris Tadic, President of Serbia between 2004-2012, Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine between 2005-2010, Leonid Kuchma, President of Ukraine between 1994-1999, Valdis Zatlers, President of Latvia between 2007-2011. Hans-Gert Pottering, President of the European Parliament between 2007-2009 is also among the outstanding personalities attending the event.
The iconic personality who had a crucial contribution to the collapse of communism and triumph of democracy in the region, Lech Walesa, former president of Poland chaired jointly with former Romanian President Emil Constantinescu the opening session of the conference “25 years since the collapse of communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe: looking back, looking forward”. Prof. Emil Constantinescu thanked all the representatives of resistance and fight against communism, in his opening remarks.The event, organized by the Romanian Democratic Foundation (FDR) led by Prof. Emil Constantinescu, opened with a moment of silence in the memory of all the fallen fighters against the ‘criminal’ communist regime in Romania.
Constantinescu mentioned the presence ‘on the honour places dedicated to freely elected members of the parliament’ of representatives of the people involved in the armed resistance in the mountains; of those who founded the first organizations fighting communism; and of those imprisoned in communist gulags, concentration camps and extermination jails.
“Present in this hall are those who were opponents and dissidents of the communist regime before 1989. Present in this hall are those who, in December 1989, in Timisoara, Sibiu, Cluj, Lugoj and in many other Romanian cities rose against the dictatorial regime of Nicolae Ceausescu,” Constantinescu said. The former president remembered those who stood in Bucharest’s University Square on December 21 1989 ‘in spite of tanks, of huge Army and Securitate [communist secret police] forces that arrested 3,000 of them, tortured them and transferred them to the prison of Jilava to be exterminated.’
Lech Walesa: “We can state with certainty that something unique happened to our generation”
Former Polish President and anti-communist dissident Lech Walesa said that his generation has succeeded in removing the obstacles and discrepancies of the old order, starting to think “in terms of a single continent”; Walesa added that as long as he lives, he will support the continuation of the construction of a new world. “We can state with certainty that something unique happened to our generation. (..) Not only that we have witnessed the beginning of a new century and millennium, but we also witnessed the beginning of a new era. We emerged from an era of deep contradictions, of antagonistic policies and economic blocs. (…) In the time of our generation, we began to think in terms of a single continent, and even in global terms on certain subjects”, Walesa told the international conference devoted to the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of communism. He said that the creation of a new world requires doing away with the discrepancies that separate the states. “We need debate, we need emotions, strikes and protests to be able to find the adequate solution. We must choose the suitable people. Then they will say about our generation not only that it was good at destroying the old order, but that it also started building a better world, and I’ll be around to help continue the construction of a new world as long as I live”, said the former head of the Polish state. In his speech, Lech Walesa said that 25 years ago the world’s vision was controlled by 250.000 soldiers from the former Soviet Union and that communism was monitored through other million soviet troops near Poland.“In addition, there were those nuclear weapons from different countries. When we tried to oppose communism, we have been asked ‘whom do you oppose?’ And we were told: You don’t have any chance to remove communism. We wanted to avoid any explosions, we had consultations with the world leaders. No one said we have a chance,” Lech Walesa told the conference.
King Michael I: “My life has been a long and loyal wait for Romania to go back to its own self”
Romania’s former sovereign Michael I said in a message to the international conference on “25 Years since the Collapse of Communist Dictatorships in Eastern Europe: Looking Back, Looking Forward” taking place at the Palace of Parliament on Thursday that communism in Romania was born in 1921 and now, nearly nine decades on, he has the opportunity to address the participants in the conference by celebrating its fall. ‘In 1927, at the death of King Ferdinand I, my grandfather, I was proclaimed King of Romania. In the 87 years that have passed I was the direct witness of the rise and fall of fascism and communism. Two criminal systems that have left more than 100 million victims behind and many million people with mutilated souls and bodies… My family and I have worked much in the last 25 years since the fall of communism for a democratic, prosperous, free and dignified Romania. We will not stop doing this thing till the end of our days, being convinced that the institution of the Royal House is part of our state- and national identity’, said the message read by Michael’s son-in-law Prince Radu from the Parliament rostrum. The former king added his life ‘has been a long and loyal wait, a wait for Europe to come to its senses, a wait for Romania to go back to its own self’, informs Agerpres.’But I have also known blessed moments in my long life. God wanted me to be on the front line of my country’s returning to the dignified family of the free nations by Romania’s joining the EU and the North Atlantic Organization as a full member’, the message says.
Thursday evening, His Majesty King Michael I hosted an official dinner at the Elisabeta Palace in the honour of the distinguished former heads of states participating to the conference who had a crucial contribution in the instauration of democratic regimes in the region.