Secret deal between two dictators: Why some deny crime of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact after 80 years?

Author : David Vseviov

Source : Postimees

Over the past centuries, countries have concluded a myriad of different treaties with each other. But among them there are few that would still be at the center of the ideological struggle, similar to the non-aggression pact concluded between Germany and the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939 and its secret protocols.
21:39, 2 September 2020

Open source

All this is mainly due to the reluctance of one of the heirs of the signatories - Russia - to give an honest assessment of the event of the past and what preceded it. Even in spite of the fact that already in 1989 the Second Congress of MPs of the USSR recognized as "legally invalid" the fact that the two dictators concluded a treaty on August 23, 1939 and signed its secret annexes.

With the help of additional protocols to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Hitlerite Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union divided up spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. This was done without alerting the "victims" whose wishes were completely ignored.

The fact that the conspiracy was "dubious" even at that time clearly confirms the issue that the Soviet Union for a long time denied the existence of this document, calling the copy of the secret agreement, first published in 1948, an enemy forgery.

In response to the book Nazi - Soviet relations published by the US State Department, the Soviet informbureau published the book "History falsifiers", which did not directly cite a single relevant archival document, and the British and American capitalists were accused of financing Hitler's war machine.

Moreover, Vyacheslav Molotov, who personally signed the pact and secret protocols, lied until his death (in 1986) and claimed that no secret protocols of the treaty had been concluded. It is also worth noting that neither the then Supreme Soviet of the USSR nor the German Reichstag were informed about the existence of the secret protocol. And since this document was not legally ratified by parliaments, de jure it was an agreement between Stalin and Hitler, that is, a secret deal between two dictators.

In Soviet historiography, the agreement concluded with Germany for years was justified mainly by the fact that, despite the efforts of the Soviet side to form an interstate anti-fascist coalition, the ruling circles of England and France refused to take united actions against the aggressor, hoping to incite Hitler against the Soviet Union.

Thus, the Soviet Union allegedly had no choice but to conclude an agreement with Germany, thanks to which it was possible to postpone the start of an imminent war. However, the literature referred to this has never said why this treaty had to be concluded to the detriment of Estonia and other countries that shared its fate.

The denial of secret protocols to the treaty concluded on August 23, 1939 is no longer possible in the serious press today. The public became aware of the text of the pact and secret protocols with the partial opening of the archives already in 1992, and the scientific publication of the integral document was published in the first issue of the journal "New and Contemporary History" in 1993.

Related: Poland accused Putin of falsifying history of Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, WWII beginning

From now on, the denial of secret protocols does not even come close to any scientific weight. But many authors did not abandon their main approach due to ideological considerations, and the denial of secret protocols in the Russian official historical interpretation of recent decades was replaced, rather, by their justification.

In extreme cases, it is argued that "the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is a reason to be proud, not apologize." At the same time, it is noted that the German-Soviet non-aggression pact was and remains the object of hatred of all external and internal enemies of Russia. And since an apology for what it did, in fact, would mean the need to stand on a par with them, then this cannot be done so as not to lose face.

This approach was especially striking in the past 2019, when 80 years have passed since the conclusion of the pact. For example, the then Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky published an article in connection with this event under the characteristic and dotting "i" heading "Diplomatic Triumph of the USSR."

Speaking at the international conference dedicated to the anniversary of the conclusion of the treaty and representing the official direction of the international conference "The USSR Strategy for Preventing World War II in Europe and Asia," member of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Sergei Ivanov told the audience: "I consider the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact an achievement of Soviet diplomacy, which we should be proud of." This point of view prevailed at this conference, as well as in the state media.

According to the Russian historian Mikhail Meltyukhov, who deals with the subject of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, it should be viewed as a history of great success of Soviet diplomacy, which managed to take advantage of the crisis that broke out in Europe in its own interests, outplay British diplomacy and fulfill its main goal - to stay away from the war in Europe, and at the same time achieve a noticeable freedom of action in Eastern Europe; greater room for maneuver between the warring factions in their own interests, as well as to shift the blame for the failure of the English-French-Soviet negotiations on London and Paris.

Recently, similar points of view can often be found both in the statements of Russian politicians and in historical literature. But the purpose of such statements and books is not only to justify the past and Stalin's foreign policy.

This is a set of convictions that fundamentally justify the exclusive right of great powers to determine the course of history and the fate of small countries. It is from this understanding that both the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols are justified.

Thus, this topic has not lost its relevance because the politicians dreaming of dividing the world, alas, are not exclusively the lot of the past. They operate here and now, cherishing the hope to rule the world through collusion and secret protocols.

Read the original article at Postimees

Related: 80th anniversary of Stalin-Hitler friendship: All you need no know about Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

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