While paying a visit to Sophia, famous Joachim Gauck, ex federal representative for research on the archive of the STASI, the secret service in Eastern Germany, demanded Romanian and Bulgarian authorities to allow for research on the records drawn by the secret services of the Communist regime. In his interview to Deutsche Welle he opined that the new democracies in Romania and Bulgaria should avoid handling the records drawn during dictatorship as normal state documents, just as they should open access to such information instead of keeping them locked.
He argued there were several reasons why the archives built under dictatorship, not only the Communist one, should be opened. He pointed to the pact on silence in the transition to a different era, which was not at all advisable, as history proved that such procedure was used for privileged people and was in favor of the ex nomenclature, whose representatives turned into beneficiaries. Gauck opined that the opening of records and research on the past were necessary both morally and politically and invoked points related to the rule of law, since dictatorship meant lack of individual rights and disrespect for human dignity. He emphasized that democracy had the duty to make up for such abuse and help people rehabilitate or pay damages to those harmed. He also pointed to a juridical reason for not keeping secret information on certain persons, in the west called "the right to informational self-determination."
Society must become clear
When asked why the opening of the STASI archive was working in Germany, but it wasn't working in states like Bulgaria, Gauck pointed to several interests, claiming the former elites in Western European states had several means available than those in Germany, both political and economical ones. He pointed to judges and prosecutors who had been loyal to the ex regime and continued to work after it collapsed. He claimed such people had an undemocratic view of justice. (...)
Gauck emphasized each nation had its own speed and solution. He mentioned in Bulgaria there were several people claiming their right to study the archives because they had been victims of Communist totalitarianism. He also pointed to Romanian debates on whether a politician who had collaborated with the secret services had his credibility harmed because of it or not. He pleaded that society had become clear against this background and settle things on a status such a member of a Communist secret service. He opined the ongoing debate in Bulgaria was late, but appreciated the thorough debate on the issue was about to start.
EU membership also depends on research on Securitate records
As for Romania, which he visited several times, Gauck opined the problem was not easy to solve, because there were ex informers in every party and social group, who didn't want things to progress like in Eastern Germany. He opined that for both Romania and Bulgaria who were after EU membership it was important that they should respect certain European standards. He pleaded the right to informational self-determination was most important, since it was unacceptable that people harmed should not have access to information on themselves, since it existed. If this dark side of history is more intensely studied in both states, he commented, this will help the improvement of trust in European democracy. Gauck emphasized post-Communist states needed to become aware that there was no uninterrupted national continuity that would entitle a view such as "we have always been Romanians or Bulgarians." The truth is, he claimed, that "we have mainly been Communist dictators or victims of the Communist dictatorship".
Gauck advised Romania and Bulgaria to avoid approaching records drawn during dictatorship as if they had been normal state documents and open access to such information. He claimed these were unavoidable requirements to be set once with the accession to the EU. (D.E.)