By Vlassis Agtzidis (*)
One of the fields of public controversy today in Greece is related with crucial and unexamined issues of the Greek history and society. It regards issues either related to the sphere of society (refugees from the former USSR) or to the sphere of history concerning not only the great geopolitical and socio-economic transformation, which took place in the Near East during the time period of 1908 (Young Turks movement) till 1923 (Treaty of Lausanne), but also the soviet experiment and in particular Stalin’s time period.
Furthermore, it gives us the opportunity to examine the perceptions created in the Greek area regarding these issues, the understanding of those facts by the sovereign power (in its monarchic and democratic version) as well as by the (regime or non-regime) intelligentsia, the historians etc. Moreover, it creates the opportunity to consider in the light of criticism the “orientalist” perception on these issues, a dominant perception for a significant part of the Greek historians.
The lack of jointly agreed upon narrative on the specific historic and social issues created an interpretation gap directly perceived by all those who work on these issues either as researchers or as social solidarity institutions for the affected populations (refugees). A corollary of this “gap” has also been the way that the dominant political and ideological powers of the Right and of the Left have dealt with the new requests and issues of the refugees’ sphere and in particular:
-the public attestation of their historic point of view of the fact that they have been victims of an organized genocide (1914-1923) by the Turkish nationalism
-the reference to the persecutions suffered by the Greek minority from Stalinism in USSR after 1937-38.
At the same time, weirdly, the cunning History “offered” to the inhabitants of Greece another experience: to “receive” from the Perestroica era in the same inhospitable way tens of thousands of their own population and immigrants from the collapsed / collapsing USSR.