Russian president relativized in Moscow in 2014, the 1939 non-aggression treaty between the two European dictators. Abusing the USSR of the blame for the invasion of Poland, he held the British responsible for Hitler’s atrocities.
Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly defended a controversial opinion on the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, also known as the Hitler-Stalin Pact.
According to the German website SPIEGEL ONLINE – quoting the newspaper The New York Times and the British daily The Telegraph, during a meeting with young historians in Moscow on Wednesday (05/11/2014), Putin declared that all credible research should come to the conclusion that the agreement between the two dictators was part of the foreign policy methods of the time.
“The Soviet Union signed a non-aggression treaty with Germany. People say, ‘Oh, that’s bad.’ But what’s wrong with the USSR not wanting to fight?” The Russian power is accused of having divided Poland, but the Kremlin chief argued that the Poles actually took part in Czechoslovakia when Germany attacked the country.
The agreement in question, whose existence Moscow denied until 1989, remains a sore point in relations between Russia and its neighbors, especially Poland. Signed by the Foreign Minister of the “Third Reich”, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and his fellow Soviet minister, Viatcheslav Molotov, he assured Germany that the USSR would remain neutral in the event of an offensive against Poland.
In 2009, at the ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II, in Gdansk, then Prime Minister Putin had already spoken out about the Hitler-Stalin Pact. He claimed that at the time everyone involved had made mistakes and that the deal with Nazi Germany was not the only trigger for the invasion of Poland. On the other hand, he classified all agreements reached between 1934 and 1939 with the Nazi regime as “morally unacceptable” and “politically meaningless”.
Putin’s recent statements are far more radical. He blamed then-British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for the atrocities of Adolf Hitler. In 1938, Chamberlain signed, together with the heads of government of Italy and France, the Munich Agreement, which allowed the annexation of the Sudetenland by Germany. As Putin declared at the meeting of historians in Moscow, upon learning of the agreement, future Prime Minister Winston Churchill commented: “Now the war is inevitable.”
In May of that year, Putin launched a law providing for up to five years in prison for anyone trying to rehabilitate Nazism in Russia.
source: DW with AV/dpa/ap/rtr