Putin – what was wrong with Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact?
PR dla Zagranicy
Warsaw has criticised comments by Russia's president that Poland behaved the same way as the Nazis and Soviets in 1938 when it grabbed part of Czechoslovakia before the Germans invaded.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) participates in a meeting with the representatives of the parliaments of the Collective Security Treaty Organization's members, a military alliance of former Soviet nations championed by Moscow in Putin's residence in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow, Russia, 06 November: photo - EPA/ALEXANDER NEMENOV/POOL
“They continue to argue over the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and accuse the Soviet Union of dividing Poland,” Vladimir Putin is reported to have told a group of history students in Moscow on Wednesday.
“The Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Germany. They say: ‘Oh, how bad.’ What is wrong here if the Soviet Union did not wish to fight? What is wrong with this?” the Russian president said.
Putin is also reported to have accused Poland of hypocrisy when it criticises the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact signed by the Nazis and Soviets prior to carving up eastern Europe into spheres of influence, which led to the invasion of Poland in 1939 from the west and east and the bloody 1940 Katyn massacre, which saw over 20,000 Polish officers slain by Stalin's secret police.
Putin said that “Poland had got what it deserved” after the Polish army annexed part of Czechoslovakia in 1938, only for the area to be taken back when a new puppet Slovakian state supported Nazi Germany's attack on Poland in September 1939.
Poland's foreign minister Grzegorz Schetyna said on Thursday night, however, that Vladimir Putin wanted to cause Poles “unnecessary pain” with the comments.
“Such is the current state of affairs in Russia. Those who signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact should feel ashamed,” the minister told the TVN24 broadcaster.
“Putin has forgot already that in 1990 the Russian Supreme Council in declared the pact null and void. Such is the current state of affairs in Russia. Putin wants to cause us some unnecessary pain,” Grzegorz Schetyna said.
Tension has increased between Warsaw and Moscow since the toppling of the pro-Russian president Yanukovich in Ukraine and outbreak of fighting in the east of the ex-Soviet state, where the West accuses Putin of supporting separatist rebels. (pg)