Russian President Vladimir Putin called the EU stance against the World War II-era Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact a “shameless lie” on Wednesday.
The EU adopted a resolution two months ago stating that the 1939 non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, named after the diplomats who signed it in Moscow, “paved the way for the outbreak of World War II.”
Russia has preserved the Soviet position that the pact was a necessary evil to prevent the Nazi offensive into the Soviet Union – which nevertheless came two years after the signing, when Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941.
Speaking to officials organising festivities for the 75th anniversary of the war’s end, Putin said the EU’s position is “not based on anything real,” according to a Kremlin transcript.
The Nazi-Soviet pact is rarely discussed in today’s Russia, whereas the Allied – and particularly Soviet – victory over Nazi Germany, ending the war in Europe, remains a much celebrated source of national pride.
The EU resolution said the pact set out to divide Europe “between the two totalitarian regimes” of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Historians say that Soviet leader Josef Stalin used the pact as an opportunity to annex territories that, before the 1917 communist revolution, had belonged to the Russian empire.
As Nazi Germany expanded into western Poland, the Soviet Union occupied Baltic territories and eastern Poland.
Edited by: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim