Putin Says Nazi-Soviet Pact Over Baltics

Condemned Long Ago

This article appeared on MOSNews.com in June 2005.

It shows how Russian today feel abut the Nazi-Soviet Pact


Russian President Vladimir Putin, in response to growing calls for Russia to renounce the secret Soviet-Nazi pact that led to the Soviet occupation of the Baltics following WWII, said Moscow had condemned the deal long ago, agencies reported Friday.

In a German TV interview published today by the Kremlin press service, Putin said the Soviet-era legislature, the Supreme Soviet, had issued a resolution in 1989 that criticized the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as “a personal decision by (Soviet leader Josef) Stalin that contradicted the interests of the Soviet people.”

“I want to repeat: We already did it. What, we have to do this every day, every year?” Putin was quoted as saying.

World leaders will converge on Moscow on May 9 for anniversary celebrations and three days of high diplomacy. The presidents of Estonia and Lithuania will boycott the celebrations in Moscow, Reuters reports.

The Baltic republics see May 9, which Russia celebrates as Victory Day, as marking the beginning of Soviet occupation rather than as liberation.

The European Union said on Friday the fall of the Berlin Wall, rather than Nazi Germany, was the “end of dictatorship” in Europe, risking upsetting Russia as it prepares to celebrate World War Two victory, Reuters added.

“We honour the many innocent victims of past conflicts and those who paid the highest price in defence of freedom and democracy,” the EU’s executive Commission said in a declaration marking the 60th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe.

Russia denies accusations that it illegally annexed the three republics, saying the Baltic governments of the time had willingly invited Soviet troops into their countries and agreed to join the Soviet Union.

Putin appeared to be trying to spread the blame, telling the German interviewers that Germany and Russia had both been responsible for deciding the Baltics’ fate — first in 1918, when a German-Russian agreement granted them independence, and then in 1939, when “Russia and Germany decided differently.”

“And in essence, Germany agreed that this part of Europe should again return under the wing of the Soviet Union,” Putin was quoted as saying.