Poland supports Russian WW2 archive concept - ministry

Poland fully supports Russian leader Vladimir Putin's idea to create a special archive of World War Two-related documents, Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told PAP on Wednesday.

Jablonski's statement followed Putin's earlier address to the Russian Federal Assembly (both parliamentary houses), in which he addressed the Soviet Union's role in conquering Nazi Germany. Among other matters, Putin announced plans to create an archive of documentation, that would also include film and photographic material connected with World War Two.

According to the Russian leader, the archive, to be freely accessible, would help preserve the truth about the victory over the Third Reich in 1945.

"We have the duty to defend the truth about (this - PAP) victory, otherwise what will we tell our children if lies are spread around the world like a disease?" Putin queried.

Jablonski called the archive concept a very good idea, especially in view of Putin's recent accusations of Polish complicity in the outbreak of the war. He added that its creation would also entail the opening of existing Russian archival material on the war.

"In the context of the Russian president's recent statements this is a very good idea. We fully support it, as this would mean the declassification and opening of Russia's archives," the deputy minister said.

At a December 20 sitting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Putin said the immediate cause of World War Two was not the August 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union but the 1938 Munich Pact, which secured the cession to Germany of Czechoslovakia's Sudeten German territory and which Poland attempted to use to secure its claims to the Zaolzie region, over which it was in dispute with Czechoslovakia.

He also accused Poland's pre-war government of hedging ties to Nazi Germany, by which they "exposed their people, the Polish people, to the German war machine and contributed to the outbreak of World War Two."

Putin's words have evoked hefty criticism worldwide. On Tuesday MEPs in Strasbourg called the Russian leader's accusations "distortions of historical facts" in an attempt to shift the blame for World War Two onto Poland.