Plans to reinterpret Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact raise concern

The heads of the foreign affairs committees of the Polish lower house and parliaments of the Baltic States have voiced their concern over Russia's attempts to distort history by means of a new interpretation of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.

Signed on August 23, 1939, the Hitler-Stalin Pact, also known as the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact or Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, defined Soviet and German interests in Europe and formed the basis of Poland's invasion by Germany on September 1, 1939, and by the Soviets on the 17th of the same month.

"We are concerned about the attempts being made by the Russian Federation to distort historical events by means of a new interpretation of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, aimed at annulling the 1989 resolution evaluating the document," reads a joint statement signed by the heads of the foreign affairs committees of the Polish Sejm - Zbigniew Rau, of the Lithuanian Seimas - Juozas Bernatonis, of the Latvian Saeima - Rihards Kols, and of the Estonian Riigikogu - Enn Eesmaa.

The statement came as a response to a motion by a Russian MP calling for the annulment of the 1989 resolution concerning the political and legal evaluation of the Soviet-German pact.

The four heads of the foreign Affairs committees of Poland and the Baltic States underlined that the 1989 resolution "was an expression of courage and wisdom of politicians of the perestroika period since they had undertaken steps designed to restore dignity to their country, on the basis of truth, understanding of their own history and respect for neighbouring countries.

"Today, we have been watching with concern the attempts to distort the meaning of these events by Russia's announcement of a new interpretation of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, aimed at annulling the 1989 resolution and recognising it as invalid on the entire territory of the Russian Federation," reads the statement.

The four MPs underlined that the motion to adopt a new federal law on the initiative of MP A. Zhuravlyov "will have no influence on the unequivocal condemnation of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and its secret protocol as the documents, which were incompatible with international law."

They described the motion as a regrettable attempt of historical revisionism taken at the expense of the victims of the terrible tragedy, caused by the implementation of the secret protocol.

The MPs said that this secret protocol had made it possible to use force against neighbouring countries and to deprive Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia of their independence, and that it had also led to Poland's partition by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, to the outbreak of war between Soviet Russia and Finland, and to the violation of Romania's territorial integrity.

"It paved the way to the outbreak of the Second World War, which resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people, the establishing of Nazi German concentration camps and the Holocaust - one of the largest crimes in the history of mankind. It had also led to the loss of independence and sovereignty by the countries of our part of Europe, and had deprived their citizens of fundamental human and civil rights for dozens of years," they stated.

They also called on the Russia Duma and the authorities of the Russian Federation to take all possible steps to build relations with neighbouring countries on the basis of international law, to respect their sovereignty and territorial integrity, to restore trust among nations and to rebuild good-neighbourly relations in our part of Europe.

The MPs underlined that the withdrawal from work on the document would be the first necessary step leading in this direction, and expressed the hope that Russian State Duma members will show the same wisdom and courage as their predecessors in 1989.