Russian Historian Explains the “Demonisation” of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in the Baltic States

The authorities of the Baltic states demonise the 1939 Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) to justify their legitimacy, said the Head of the Scientific Department of the Russian Military-Historical Society Yury Nikiforov to RIA Novosti.

“This is the part of the political elite in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia who position themselves as the heirs of World War II collaborators. For these countries, without the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, it is impossible to justify the concept of occupation that their post-Soviet statehood is built on,” said Nikiforov.

This concept in the post-Soviet period served as a basis for depriving a part of the population of the Baltic countries of a number of rights, such as the denial of the right to participate in privatisation, said Nikiforov. “I.e., there was also an economic subtext under it,” he added.

“But in the Baltic states in the late 1930’s there were essentially authoritarian regimes – people were not allowed to choose any politicians at all for many years. It is clear that there were organisations and people who were pro-German, those who dreamed, if not of entering their countries into the Third Reich, then at least of becoming a protectorate of the Third Reich,” said Nikiforov.

“And in the summer of 1940, the population of these countries came to the polls and voted to elect new parliaments. And most advocated a civilisational alternative – the restoration of the former Russian Empire and accession to the Soviet Union. This is a democratic process and a true story related to the self-determination of the majority of the Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian people,” said the scientist.

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Nikiforov also noted that the statements made by the authorities of the Baltic countries, as well as Ukraine, about the “crime” of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact should, logically, be accompanied by the declaration of the illegal expansion of these states as a result of accession to the USSR.

“But if they announced their withdrawal from the Soviet Union at the time, the question of returning to the pre-war situation – i.e., to the borders of those years – should have been raised immediately. But the Russian Federation would then have territorial pretensions to the neighbouring states whose territory then increased thanks to the ‘gifts’ of the Soviet authorities. It is obvious that raising the question from this perspective makes it very possible to rein in the Western parties if they tried to bring the topic of the covenant to an international court. And it is no coincidence that they are limited only to information campaigns. Because judicial consideration will bring nothing but problems for themselves,” said Nikiforov.

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