Posted on Dec 25, 2019
While world leaders deliver traditional Christmas messages of friendship and optimism, Vladimir Putin appropriates the festive period to spout venom and hatred, and to threaten those neighbouring states that choose to pursue peaceful and democratic futures as part of the European family following the much welcomed collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russia has a long tradition of shamelessly rewriting history as and when circumstances dictate.
The Russian President has devoted considerable time and effort over recent days to propagating a revisionist version of the truth behind the Soviet relationship with Nazi Germany.
The shameful Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, presented to generations of Russians as a benign non-aggression and economic treaty between the two, signed on August 23rd 1939. However, the treaty also included a 'secret protocol', which came to light after the defeat of Germany.
This was to reveal the true intentions of the two powers: to carve up the whole of Europe between them. Whilst the National Socialists of Nazi Germany were to see their plans fail in defeat, the International Socialists of the Soviet Union were to find themselves on the winning side, and managed to claim their prizes under the noses of the Allies.
In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and U.S.S.R. In this connection the interest of Lithuania in the Vilna area is recognized by each party.
One week after the signing of the treaty, on September 1st, Adolf Hitler launched his troops into Poland. On September 17th, Josef Stalin followed suit, and the Red Army occupied the territory beyond the Curzon Line in the east of the country that had been designated part of the Soviet "sphere of influence" in accordance with Article II of the secret protocol, completely undermining the Polish plan of defence.
In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement of the areas belonging to the Polish state, the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narev, Vistula and San. The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the maintenance of an independent Polish States and how such a state should be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further political developments. In any event both Governments will resolve this question by means of a friendly agreement.
The Soviet Union acknowledged the existence of the Secret Protocol on August 19th 1989 under Mikhail Gorbachev, who had charged senior Politburo member Alexander Yakovlev with presenting the argument that the Protocol should have no legal impact on the Baltic states’ then status as members of the Soviet federation.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Baltic states were amongst those seeking their futures within the European Union, something which Putin bitterly resents.
Referring to the removal of Soviet monuments in those countries, Putin recently told defence officials 'People like the ones who were negotiating with Hitler back then now deface monuments to the liberator soldiers — the Red Army troops who liberated the countries and people of Europe from Nazism... We must keep this in mind, especially with regard to the development of our Armed Forces'.
Putin is attempting to draw attention away from this evidence by claiming that Poland’s annexation of Czechoslovakian territory in 1938 is evidence of a plan by France, Germany, and Great Britain to divide up Europe between them.
Speaking at an exhibition at Russia’s State Archives in August, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said 'Under these circumstances, the Soviet Union was forced on its own to ensure its national security and signed a non-aggression pact with Germany'.
Lavrov ignores the fact that at the time the pact was signed, British and French diplomats were in Moscow attempting to enter into an agreement with Stalin in order to contain Germany.
Putin places the blame on Poland for the Second World War. Unable to contain his bile, in recent days he has referred to Józef Lipski, who served as the Polish ambassador in Berlin until 1939, as 'That bastard! That anti-Semitic pig'.
Again, ignoring facts that fail to fit the Soviet narrative, Putin ignores the 198,000 Jews who fled Nazi occupied Poland in the hope of finding sanctuary in the Soviet zone. Many were simply loaded onto trains and sent back to meet their fates, others found themselves transported to the Gulags, Soviet forced labour camps.
The nationality of Jewish citizens born in the Soviet Union was not defined by their country of birth: they were simply classified as 'Jew'.
Europe remembers the reality and the horrors of the Soviet Union, even if Vladimir Putin chooses not to.
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