Embassies & Human Rights Organizations joined VOC to remember The One Hundred Million Victims of Communism on June 9th, when a record number of twenty-three embassies and thirty-four ethnic and human rights organizations joined hundreds of participants for the 10th Annual Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom & Roll Call of Nations Wreath-Laying Ceremony, at the Victims of Communism Memorial on Capitol Hill, which this year revolved around the three Baltic nations and the genocidal legacy of communism in Eastern Europe.
Dr. Mart Laar, on whom the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation bestows its Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, is a historian, professor, and scholar who became the first official Prime Minister of Estonia’s Second Republic in 1992.
Dr. Laar’s time in government was dedicated to the creation of accountable government for post-Soviet Estonia and the implementation of free-market principles in the economy. He also laid the groundwork for Estonia’s accession to the European Union and to NATO, which took place in 2004. He also served as Estonia’s Minister of Defense from 2011 to 2012. Today, Laar is the chairman of the Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank).
In addition to the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, Laar has received the Hungarian House of Terror museum’s Petőfi Prize and the Cato Institute’s Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty.
On receiving the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, Dr. Laar provided these remarks to be read at VOC’s 10th Annual Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom & Roll Call of Nations Wreath-Laying Ceremony by a representative of the Estonian government.
“I want to thank you for the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom. This makes me extremely proud and happy as it is a recognition to my long-lasting commitment to study communist crimes and to honor their victims. Estonia and Estonians lived for decades under the rule of communism, so we know precisely what communism is. This is why our task is not to let it happen again. This demands that we all keep memory alive. In this work, we stand side by side with all freedom-loving people around the world. Let’s make the Museum of Communist Crimes happen—this is the most certain way to put communism on the ash heap of history.”
VOC Awards Its Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom To Dr. Mart Laar
Dr. Landsbergis became the head of the newly reestablished Lithuanian state, and helped shepherd the country through the process of writing a new constitution and establishing new governmental institutions. In his speech, Dr. Landsbergis spoke not only about Soviet brutality in Lithuania, but to the universality of communism’s attack on the human soul: “Thus, I call on everyone to understand that the main victim of the plague of communism was the whole of humanity…Paradoxically, while preaching universal community, it promoted fundamental splits and confrontation in which brothers became enemies.”
“Communism was and is a fundamentally wrong and inhuman teaching, especially, due to its ideology—its fundamental denial of the brotherhood of people. On the contrary, it continued promoting the idea of struggle of existential rivalry among humans, their ‘classes’ and nations, authorizing, by false Marxist ‘science,’ even unlimited violence,” Landsbergis said. “Then comes and reigns as just a naked belief in power. It is based not on right but on force, and functions as a fundamental doctrine and authoritarian drug.”
Keynote Remarks By Professor Vytautas Landsbergis
Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria
Embassy of the Republic of Croatia
Embassy of the Czech Republic
Embassy of Estonia
Embassy of Hungary
Embassy of the Republic of Korea
Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo
Embassy of Latvia
Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania
Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia
Embassy of the Republic of Moldova
Royal Norwegian Embassy
Embassy of the Republic of Poland
Embassy of the Slovak Republic
Embassy of Sweden
Embassy of Ukraine
Delegation of the European Union to the United States
Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office
The Office of Tibet
Over thirty other ethnic and human rights organizations.