THE EUROPIAN PARLAMENT WITH CONDEMS THE MOLOTOV-RIBBENTROP PACT

While the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime were condemned and punished through the Nuremberg process, there is still an urgent need to raise awareness, bring a moral judgment and investigate the crimes of Stalinism and other dictatorial regimes.

On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II, the European Council adopted a Resolution on remembrance of the victims of the totalitarian regimes calling on Member States to work on never repeating such atrocities again as those committed by these regimes.

While the democratic world demands a sincere catharsis for the atrocities committed by all totalitarian regimes and the beginning of a new era of democratization and mutual respect, some countries are turning to gloomy, past ideologies.

The European Parliament has condemned the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact

Referring to the dozens of documents, reports, resolutions concerning the protection of human rights, human freedoms and victims of totalitarian regimes, on the eve of the marking of the 80th anniversary of the World War II, on 19 September 2019 the European Parliament adopted a resolution on remembrance of the victims of the totalitarian regimes. Тhe resolution states that this pact is signed between representatives of two totalitarian regimes and paves the way to the start of the bloodiest war in human history. The resolution is partly a response to Russia’s refusal to accept responsibility for the signing of the pact and the start of the war that was actualized in August 2019, besides the fact that in 1989 the Congress of people’s deputies of USSR condemned the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

This resolution analyzes the non-invasion agreement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, better known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which also contains secret protocols that divide Europe and divide territories belonging to sovereign states between two totalitarian regimes, paving the way for the start of World War II.

 

  • In the introduction to the resolution it is stated that: Although the USSR Congress of People’s Delegates in 1989 condemned the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in August 2019 the Russian authorities refused to accept responsibility for this pact and its consequences, promoting the statement that Poland, the Baltic countries and the West are to blame for the World War II.
  • As a consequence of the pact, an invasion of Poland followed, first by Hitler on September 1, 1939, and two weeks later, on September 17, by Stalin, causing unprecedented suffering to the Polish people. Subsequently, the Soviet Union invaded Finland on November 30, 1939, occupied parts of Romania, and annexed Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
  • The European Parliament resolution goes on to say that: While some European countries were able to return to the path of reconciliation after the defeat of the Nazi regime, others remained under direct Soviet occupation or under strong Soviet influence for another half a century, enduring pressures, abolition of freedoms and prevention of socio-economic development.
  • In explaining the reasons for the resolution, the European Parliament emphasizes: While the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime were condemned and punished through the Nuremberg process, there is still an urgent need to raise awareness, bring a moral judgment and investigate the crimes of Stalinism and other dictatorial regimes.
  • It further goes on to say that the memory of the tragic past must be preserved, in order to pay tribute to the victims, to condemn the perpetrators and to lay the ground for reconciliation based on truth and remembrance.
  • Thirty years ago, on August 23, 1989, the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was celebrated by the victims of totalitarian regimes in the Baltic States by two million Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians, who held hands in a shape of a human shield from Vilnius to Tallinn, via Riga.

 

The following are the most important parts of the resolution, and the full text can be found here.

  • It points out that World War II, the most devastating war in the history of mankind, began as a result of the signing of the infamous non-invasion treaty between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939, known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, along with its secret protocols according to which two totalitarian regimes seeking to conquer the world, divided Europe into two zones of influence.
  • It recalls that the Nazi and Communist regimes committed mass killings, genocide and deportations, causing loss of lives and freedom in the 20th century to an unprecedented level in the history of mankind. It reminds of the horrific atrocities of the Holocaust committed by the Nazi regime and condemns all acts of aggression, crimes against humanity and mass human rights abuses by the Nazi, Communist and other totalitarian regimes.
  • It expresses its deep regret for every victim of these totalitarian regimes and calls on all EU institutions and other entities to do everything in their power to ensure that such heinous crimes of totalitarian regimes against humanity are remembered and processed, and to ensure that such crimes are never to be repeated. The memories of the past must be kept alive and fresh, for there is no reconciliation without memory.
  • It calls on EU member states to make a clear and principled evaluation of the atrocities and aggressions committed by the communist and Nazi regimes.
  • It condemns all manifestations and propaganda of totalitarian ideologies such as Nazism, Stalinism, and so on.
  • It condemns the historical revisionism and glorification of the Nazi collaborators in some EU member states. It expresses concern over the growing acceptance of the radical ideologies and the return to fascism, racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance in the European Union. It expresses concern at reports that in some Member States there is co-operation by political leaders, political parties and bodies to enforce sanctions with radical, racist and xenophobic movements of various political backgrounds. It calls on the member states to condemn these acts in the harshest possible way, as they undermine the EU’s values ​​of peace, freedom and democracy.
  • It calls on the EU member states to mark 23 August as a European Day of Remembrance for the victims of the totalitarian regimes, both at EU and national level, and to work to raise awareness among young generations, by incorporating history and the analysis of the consequences of totalitarian regimes in textbooks in all EU Member States. It calls on EU member states to support the archiving of events from Europe’s troubled past, such as translating cases from the Nuremberg process into all EU languages.
  • It calls on the EU member states to condemn the denial of the Holocaust, such as the trivialization and minimization of the crimes committed by the Nazis and their collaborators.
  • It calls for the creation of a shared culture of memory that rejects the atrocities of the Nazi, Stalinist, and other totalitarian regimes. It encourages the member states to educate their citizens on the diversity of society and our shared history.
  • It calls for May 25 (the day Auschwitz’s hero, Witold Pellicki, was liquidated) to be celebrated as the International Day of the Heroes of Totalitarianism.
  • It points out that not only the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have returned to the European family of free democracies, but also that they have demonstrated success in their reform and socio-economic development.
  • It claims that Russia is the biggest victim of Communist totalitarianism and that its development in a democratic state will be obstructed as long as the authorities, political elite and political propaganda continue to justify the Communist atrocities and glorify the Soviet totalitarian regime. It calls on the Russian society to face its tragic past.
  • The EP is deeply concerned about the current Russian leadership’s attempts to distort historical facts and justify the atrocities of the Soviet totalitarian regime, viewing this as a dangerous component of the information war against democratic Europe aimed at dividing Europe, and therefore calls on the European Commission to take decisive steps in this direction.
  • It expresses concern over the continued use of the symbols of the totalitarian regimes in public and for commercial purposes, and recalls that some European countries have banned the use of both Nazi and Communist symbols.
  • It notes that the existence of monuments, and monuments on public places in some Member States that glorify totalitarian regimes, paves the way for distorting the historical facts about the aftermath of World War II and for propagating the totalitarian political system.
  • It condemns the fact that the extremist and xenophobic political forces in Europe are more actively involved in distorting the historical facts, using symbols and rhetoric in response to totalitarian propaganda, including racism, anti-Semitism and hatred of sexual and other minorities.
  • It calls on the Member States to abide by the provisions of the Council Framework Decision and to oppose the organizations spreading hatred and violence in public places and online, and to ban the neo-fascist and neo-nazi groups and other organizations that glorify Nazism and Fascism, or any other kind of totalitarianism.
  • It points out that Europe’s tragic past should continue to serve as a moral and political inspiration in facing the challenges of today’s world, including in the pursuit and fight for a more just world, creating open and tolerant societies and communities that respect ethnic, religious and sexual minorities, ensuring respect for the European values ​​for all.
  • It instructs the President to pass on this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Russian Duma and the parliaments of the Eastern Partnership countries.

 

Russia and the legacy of the Soviet Union

On September 17, 2019, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an official statement on Twitter that on September 17, 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland. During the Russian occupation, crimes such as the Katyn Forest massacre were committed, in which in less than a year Soviet forces killed more than 20,000 Polish officers and intellectuals.

Оn his Facebook page, the Russian Foreign Ministry posted a response to the official position of the Polish ministry. According to the statement, the Soviet Union never invaded Poland during World War II, which represents a new version of history with disturbing parallels to modern times.

According to Moscow, this is a new approach to history that aims to overshadow modern Russia. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs disapproves of the concept of “Soviet occupation” and says that the Red Army has entered Poland to set up a buffer zone to prevent further Nazi Germany’s invasion, and the Soviet Army has ordered not to use weapons against its members. the Polish army. Furthermore, the Russian ministry claims, the Soviet Union pursued “a policy of neutrality, and over time Nazism was defeated, and Europe and its democracy liberated and saved from destruction.”

Similar messages were sent by all Russian embassies around the world.

Events surrounding the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II

When Poland didin’t invite Russia to the event in remembrance of World War II, which took place on September 1, 2019, and the reason was Russian aggression in Crimea (Ukraine), several Russian lawmakers said Poland should be blamed for the start of World War II, because they said “Poland is the main guilty party for the start of the war. ”

After Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea at the beginning of 2014, and began to disturb the Baltic States and Poland with military maneuvers, they faced sanctions. These moves caused NATO to deploy preventive new battalions in the region.

When Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania made statements in August condemning the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia had signed the treaty “because France, Poland and the UK were trying to make a pact with Hitler. ”

Nostalgia for the Soviet era and demonization of the West

According to the policy-makers in these areas, this means that the Kremlin has a long-term ideological agenda. State propaganda awakens nostalgia for the Soviet empire and demonizes the West in an orchestrated campaign.

In the research conducted by the “Levada” center, about 60% of Russians regard Stalin’s rule as “a policy that shows concern for the ordinary people”, while only 13% associate Stalinism with “persecution and liquidation”. In another poll, about 50% showed “admiration and respect” for Stalin personally.

Conclusion

In our country too little is known about the Soviet invasion of Poland. Part of the blame lies in the historical legacy, namely the specific relations that the then SFRY had with the Soviet Union, even though it was not part of the Warsaw Pact.

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