-- (Senate - May 19, 2005)

Mr. ALLEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of S. Res. 150, submitted earlier today.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the resolution by title.

The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

A resolution (S. Res. 150) expressing continued support for the construction of the Victims of Communism Memorial.

There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution.

Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, today I submitted a resolution with my colleague, Senator Smith of Oregon, that I think is especially pertinent this week as we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany. The end of World War II in Europe brought the end of Hitler's regime and all of its horrors, but it did not, unfortunately, usher in an era that was free of tyranny as so many had hoped. Instead, the Soviet Union solidified its illegal occupation of its three Baltic neighbors, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and communism's global expansion condemned millions to totalitarian rule or death.

The resolution we submitted expresses support for the construction of the Victims of Communism Memorial here in Washington, DC. Authorized by Congress in 1993, memoria1 will honor the more than 100 million victims of communist atrocities around the globe. The overwhelming carnage and suffering that occurred at the hand of international communism must never be forgotten. The Victims of Communism Memorial will pay tribute, in our Nation's capital, to those who lost their lives to communist tyranny. Construction of the Memorial is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2005, and when it is completed it will serve as an enduring reminder of communist atrocities and of the value of our Nation's commitment to freedom.

I will also join my colleague from Oregon in submitting a resolution that calls on the Russian Government to acknowledge the Soviet Union's illegal annexation of the three Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania during the Second World War and to condemn this aggression by the USSR. In 1939, Joseph Stalin allied himself with Adolf Hitler with the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, an agreement that led to the Soviet Union's occupation of the Baltic countries in 1940. For five decades, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were forced to live under the authoritarian rule of the Soviet empire.

When I speak about the Baltic countries, I speak with a particularly personal interest. Lithuania has a special meaning to me because it is my mother's birthplace, and I have visited there a number of times. When I visited Lithuania for the first time in 1979, it was under Soviet domination. Freedom was at a premium, and the poor people of that country struggled day after day wondering if they would ever have another chance at self-governance. I have journeyed to the region on several occasions since then, and I have witnessed the miracle of independence and democracy coming to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The amazing transformation for these nations was something that many of us with strong ties to this part of the world had prayed for but never believed would happen in our lifetime.

The legacy of Soviet occupation remains strong even today. Unfortunately, Russia's leaders refuse to acknowledge the wrongs committed by the Soviet Union against the Baltic nations. Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected a suggestion from U.S. officials that he renounce the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and he has publicly clung to the fiction that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania asked to become part of the Soviet Union. In order for relations between the Baltic nations and Russia to move forward, the Russian Government and its people must honestly and publicly confront the USSR's brutal legacy of repression. This resolution will call on Russian leaders to take that important step.

Mr. ALLEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the resolution and preamble be agreed to en bloc; that the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table; and that any statements relating to the resolution be printed in the RECORD, without intervening action or debate.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The resolution (S. Res. 150) was agreed to.

The preamble was agreed to.

The resolution, with its preamble, reads as follows:

S. Res. 150

Whereas section 905 of the FRIENDSHIP Act (40 U.S.C. 1003 note) authorizes the construction of a memorial to honor the victims of communism;

Whereas the construction of a Victims of Communism Memorial near the United States Capitol in the District of Columbia is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2005;

Whereas construction of the Memorial is supported by many Americans whose country of origin is, or was, a ``Captive Nation'', from Baltic-Americans to Vietnamese-Americans;

Whereas communism has claimed the lives of more than 100,000,000 people in less than 100 years; and

Whereas it is important for the people of the United States to honor and remember the victims of communism by supporting the construction of this memorial: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate expresses its continued support for the construction of the Victims of Communism Memorial.

Octobr 17, 2008 - President Bush Discusses the Visa Waiver Program
Office of the Press Secretary/ White House News

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Applause.) Please be seated, thank you. Welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to stand with the representatives of seven countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea -- that have met the requirements to be admitted to the United States Visa Waiver Program. Soon the citizens of these nations will be able to travel to the United States for business or tourism without a visa. I congratulate these close friends and allies on this achievement, and I thank you for joining us here.

I also thank Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of the Homeland -- Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff for working hard to make sure this day has finally arrived. Appreciate other members of the administration here and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

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