The International Center of Studies on Communism has been working for several years on a CENSUS OF THE CONCENTRATIONARY POPULATION OF ROMANIA during 1945 – 1989.
The census consists in the informatical and statistical processing of over 90 000 incarceration registration files, making up for almost 70 000 cases of former political prisoners.
Monday, 7th of November 2005, the Center of Studies organized a press conference with the purpose of both informing mass media and with a view to making available to the Presidency of Romania objective proofs that are necessary for the official and public condemnation of communism.
The press conference was attended by members of the Scientifical Council of the Center for Studies, collaborators of the project, as well as by Mariana Nitelea, director of the Information Office of the Council of Europe in Bucharest, that re-affirmed the interest of the C.E. for the critical processing of the communist past and particularly for the Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance. The meeting was opened by Ana Blandiana, president of the Civic Academy and of the Memorial. Afterwards Ioana Boca read a few statistical figures and Romulus Rusan, director of the International Center for Studies on Communism made a few observations on the material that was processed and thus observed that if we counted the minimum figure of one million political prisoners over the 45 years of communism, it makes up for a working sample that is more than eloquent for statistical purposes. Gaps of information, explained by the secrecy practiced by the communist regime are noticeable only for the chapter “dead in prison” or “administrative prisoners” (i.e. without trial). The figures presented to the public are strictly informative – said Romulus Rusan – however a work will be carried out using statistical methods and published over one year, as a first objective and undeniable study on the communist repression. A few subjective opinions on the material processed in computers were given by the collaborators of the project Laurentia Pantazescu, Gabriel Grecu and Ciprian Dumitrache. Acad. Serban Papacostea, prof. Neagu Djuvara, Rodica Coposu, Flavia Balescu, Constantin Avramescu, producer Nicolae Margineanu evoked a few emblematic figures of the anti-communist resistance in Romania in the ’50, whose prison files had been handed beforehand to the present ones.
The event was organized under the aegis of GULAG INTERNATIONAL DAY set up three years ago by the organisation “Comitatus pro Libertatibus” lead by Vladimir Bukovski. At the same time, the well-known Russian dissenter sent a message on this occasion in which he says, among others:
“Today, November 7th, in many countries of the world, both East and West, people will gather to commemorate one of the darkest phenomena of our life – GULAG. I say “of our life” rather than of our past because for many nations GULAG is still a present-day reality. In China and in Cuba, in North Korea and in Vietnam people are still living in this nightmare, expecting any moment to be dragged to that land on no-hope, or pray for those who are already there. And when we say today – Memento GULAG! – we are thinking of them, too.”
“So, as we have gathered today to commemorate GULAG, we are speaking for a huge number of people. For those who were in there, dead or alive, for those who are still there, and for those who are likely to be there tomorrow. In fact, we are addressing humanity trying to warn it. In many countries today, people will come together in order to just light candles, to whisper the names of their dead relatives and loved once, to pray, to forgive, to hope. Nothing and nobody can stop us. This world might be totally indifferent to us, the self-appointed “elites” might be hostile to us, but they cannot stop us saying: Memento GULAG! ”
During the following days the press largely reflected the importance of the project: “22” magazine
„Cotidianul”, „Adevarul”, „Curentul”, „Romania Libera” newspapers („93 000 proofs for Traian Basescu”), the news programs at TVR, TVR Cultural and TVR International, the latest news shows of Romanian Broadcasting and of BBC. A few days later the theme was recommenced by Mircea Dinescu in the leading article of “Gandul” and in a broadcast at “Realitatea TV”.