Brüssel, 12. December 2008 Press release

Spindelegger: "Illuminate chapters of the past together"

Foreign Minister on the constituent session of the Austrian-Russian Commission of Historians

Brussels, 12 December 2008 - The constituent session of the Austrian-Russian Commission of Historian will convene today in Moscow. "This is an important step", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger today. "It is necessary for a future-oriented partnership to jointly illuminate chapters of the past. A few months after the unveiling of the commemorative stone for Austrian victims of Stalinism in Moscow, the constituent session of the Commission of Historians represents a major step toward reviewing our common history", Spindelegger added.

The commission was initiated a year ago by Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik and Sergej Lawrow. The declared objective of the commission is to scientifically analyze the Austrian-Russian and Austrian-Soviet relations in the 20th century in a spirit of openness and objectivity. It is to contribute to facilitating access by researchers of the respective country to the archives and library stocks of the other. Important historical issues are to be examined by researchers from both countries together, and the results will be made accessible to the public as part of joint scientific conferences and publications. The co-chairmen of the Austrian-Russian Commission of Historians are Prof. Dr. Stefan Karner, Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on War Consequences, and Prof. Alexander Chubarian, Director of the Institute of Universal History at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The Foreign Minister concluded: "I wish the members of the Austrian-Russian Commission of Historians a lot of success in their research into the Austrian-Russian and Austrian-Soviet relations in the 20th century."

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