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Institute for study of totalitarian regimes has new concept

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Prague, July 14 (CTK) – The Prague-seated Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR) plans to complete the history of the communist-era police (VB), People’s Militia paramilitary units and the Border Protection (PS) unit, according to its new concept of activities approved by the USTR Council.
The concept also projects the USTR’s more intensive involvement in public debates, USTR spokesman Pavel Ryjacek told CTK.
Critics object that the word “totalitarian” has disappeared from the document and that the USTR diverts from the previously accepted theory about the totalitarian regimes’ unlawful character.
The main task of the USTR, established in 2008, is to study the periods of Nazism and communism as a way to help avert the threat of restrictions to human rights and democracy.
The research will focus on the governing power, its structures and their changes in 1938-1989 and on the society under the dictatorship regime, the concept says.
It says the USTR’s main research task is to map the history of repressions.
The research into the war period is to include studies about the then repressive bodies such as Gestapo, SS, SD and Ordnungspolizei.
The history of all post-1945 state security forces is to be dealt with as well.
The research is also to focus on the broad variety of forms of the anti-communism fight and resistance, from the organised and non-organised armed resistance to the phenomenon of the cultural opposition.
The USTR’s mission is to contribute to an open dialogue about the sense of the Czech history. That is why the USTR cannot satisfy itself with repeated confirming of the so far widespread interpretations of the Nazi and communist dictatorships, the concept says.
This has been criticised by Miroslav Vodrazka, deputy chairman of the USTR union branch and a long-standing critic of the USTR’s new management.
He said the authors of the new concept, latent revisionists, put emphasis on the history of the everyday life of common people instead of focusing on repressive totalitarianism.
This is an ideological and political interpretation initiated by the Social Democrats (CSSD) and the Communists (KSCM), Vodrazka says.
It is typical that the word “totalitarian” appears only once in the concept, as part of the USTR name that has been set by law. Unlike it, the word “dictatorship” appears 15 times in the document, Vodrazka said.
In reaction to him, Ryjacek said the USTR experts are not bound by any a priori ideology, methods or interpretations of history.
The USTR wants to be open outwards and start to moderate the all-society dialogue about the causes and circumstances of the totalitarian regimes, Ryjacek said.
In the past years, conflicts over the USTR’s activities and orientation repeatedly flared up on the Czech political scene, with the rightist and the leftist parties accusing each other of trying to gain control over the USTR and thereby “steal” the (interpretation of) history.

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