Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, apparently took time out of his busy schedule to personally write this article. A fascinating piece of historical revisionism, and most likely Putin’s attempt to put his stamp on European history.
“The Nazis skillfully played on people’s emotions and built their propaganda promising to deliver Germany from the “legacy of Versailles” and restore the country to its former power while essentially pushing German people into war. Paradoxically, the Western states, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States, directly or indirectly contributed to this. Their financial and industrial enterprises actively invested in German factories and plants manufacturing military products. Besides, many people in the aristocracy and political establishment supported radical, far-right and nationalist movements that were on the rise both in Germany and in Europe.”
You see? It’s your fault, you liberals in the West, you Anglo-Saxons. You made this beast. You funded it.
“Today, European politicians, and Polish leaders in particular, wish to sweep the Munich Betrayal under the carpet. Why? The fact that their countries once broke their commitments and supported the Munich Betrayal, with some of them even participating in divvying up the take, is not the only reason. Another is that it is kind of embarrassing to recall that during those dramatic days of 1938, the Soviet Union was the only one to stand up for Czechoslovakia.”
Stalin’s support of Czechoslovakia, of course, being limited to cheering them on from the sidelines. But it’s really those dastardly Poles at fault! Those tricksy Poles! Why…
“It will suffice to remember the cynical phrase said by Polish Ambassador to Germany J. Lipski during his conversation with Hitler on 20 September 1938: “…for solving the Jewish problem, we [the Poles] will build in his honor … a splendid monument in Warsaw.”
Putin even stands up for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact – it was necessary because everyone else was doing it!
“Besides, we do not know if there were any secret “protocols” or annexes to agreements of a number of countries with the Nazis. The only thing that is left to do is to take their word for it. In particular, materials pertaining to the secret Anglo-German talks still have not been declassified. Therefore, we urge all states to step up the process of making their archives public and publishing previously unknown documents of the war and pre-war periods – the way Russia has done it in recent years.”
And then Germany invaded Poland. This was, of course, Poland’s fault for not inviting in Soviet troops (really, he tries to make this point – just ignore what happened to the Baltic states a few months later). And not only was it Poland’s fault, they were just really bad people.
“Despite the fierce, heroic resistance of the Polish army, on 8 September 1939 – only a week after the war broke out – the German troops were on the approaches to Warsaw. By 17 September, the military and political leaders of Poland had fled to Romania, abandoning its people, who continued to fight against the invaders.”
And not just the Poles, really, everyone was just bad.
“Moreover, the Anglo-French Supreme War Council, holding its first meeting on 12 September 1939 in the French city of Abbeville, decided to call off the offensive altogether in view of the rapid developments in Poland. That was when the infamous Phony War started. What Britain and France did was a blatant betrayal of their obligations to Poland.”
Only the Soviets bravely stood up for the Poles, by, er, um, invading them.
“It was only when it became absolutely clear that Great Britain and France were not going to help their ally and the Wehrmacht could swiftly occupy entire Poland and thus appear on the approaches to Minsk that the Soviet Union decided to send in, on the morning of 17 September, Red Army units into the so-called Eastern Borderlines, which nowadays form part of the territories of Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania.”
“Obviously, there was no alternative. Otherwise, the USSR would face seriously increased risks because – I will say this again – the old Soviet-Polish border ran only within a few tens of kilometers of Minsk. The country would have to enter the inevitable war with the Nazis from very disadvantageous strategic positions, while millions of people of different nationalities, including the Jews living near Brest and Grodno, Przemyśl, Lvov and Wilno, would be left to die at the hands of the Nazis and their local accomplices – anti-Semites and radical nationalists.”
Left unspoken are the thousands of people of different nationalities who were promptly sent to gulags or, in the case of Polish prisoners of war, lined up in a ditch and shot. Oh, but that wasn’t Russia’s fault either!
“Such figures as Pétain, Quisling, Vlasov, Bandera, their henchmen and followers – though they were disguised as fighters for national independence or freedom from communism – are traitors and slaughterers. In inhumanity, they often exceeded their masters. In their desire to serve, as part of special punitive groups they willingly executed the most inhuman orders. They were responsible for such bloody events as the shootings of Babi Yar, the Volhynia massacre, burnt Khatyn, acts of destruction of Jews in Lithuania and Latvia.”
Blaming the Katyn Massacre on “collaborators”. That takes some balls.
Essentially, this whole piece tries, in typical Putinist style, to mask the truth (Germany’s invasion of Poland and later France was massively abetted by the Soviets giving them a free hand) by saying you know what, everyone’s guilty, especially the victims, they weren’t angels, you know.
History is written, after all, by the winners.