March 31th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
The “Human Rights in Ukraine” (HRIU), an English-language group, has condemned a decision of a Russian Supreme Court, in an article titled “Russia’s Supreme Court rules USSR did not invade Poland, 1939”. This is not what the Court ruled, rendering the title false. The “human rights group” similarly claimed that an appeal application to the European Court of Human Rights is imminent – yet it would save a lot of legal costs to simply read the wording of the ruling correctly.
In 2016, the Court had upheld the conviction of Vladimir Luzgin, blogger, who had reposted a text onto his social media, “which stated that both Nazi Germany and the USSR invaded Poland in 1939” – says HRIU. This is not the essence of the text – which, in Ukrainian, is titled “15 facts about Bandera supporters, or what the Kremlin is silent about.” Among various claims, it stipulates; “The Communists and Germany jointly invaded Poland, sparking off the Second World War. That is, Communism and Nazism closely collaborated, yet for some reason they blame Bandera who was in a German concentration camp for declaring Ukrainian independence”.
The 37-year-old Vladimir Luzgin was convicted by the Perm Supreme Court, and fined 200 thousand roubles. (equivalent of 3,450$USD in March 2017.) In this original Russian-language source, the wording of the ruling is such that “the Court considered the content of the article on the combined invasion of Poland by the USSR and Germany on 1 September 1939, contained false information, as proven during the Nuremburg Trials.”
The charge was ruled under Article 354.1 of Russia’s criminal code (‘Rehabilitation of Nazism’), which has been in place since May 2014. It prohibits the denial of facts which were proven during the Nuremberg Trials, addressing the atrocities of the Second World War. The law equally applies to any individual who knowingly spreads false information about the actions of the USSR during the War. Based on this, the Court ruled that the text constituted “the public denial of the Nuremberg Trials and circulation of false information about the activities of the USSR during the years of the Second World War.”
The HRIU article did not accurately represent the court case, but they went on to comment; “To deny [the involvement of the USSR] is absurd, when the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols, which carved up Poland between the USSR and Germany, have long been in the public domain, and can be read about in any history book.”
The group goes on to cite a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in May 2015, where Russia’s President Putin “defended” the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, claiming that “the Soviet Union was being left to face Hitler’s Germany by itself.” This is not accurate of President Putin’s stance on this subject – on numerous occasions, he has mentioned that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was a case of Stalin’s personal diplomacy with Hitler, which did not constitute the official policy stance of the USSR. In 1989, the pact was found not “jurisdictionally sound” (illegal) by the Russian parliament – once and for all.
Putin has famously said that Russia “will not continue apologising” for the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. History is not “black and white”, irrespective of certain parties’ tendencies toward selective memory. Off the cuff, he illustrated his point with the Polish – German Alliance Pact of 1934, and the “Munich Collusion” of 1948. Finally, it was in fact Poland that first collaborated with Nazi Germany prior to beginning of WWII. In 1938, together with the German Wehrmacht, Poland invaded and occupied two regions of the former Czechoslovakia.
The HRIU went on to link the Molotov – Ribbentrop pact to ‘similar reasoning’ behind Russia’s reunification with Crimea, convoluting historical narrative beyond coherence.
In conclusion, the assertion that the USSR had aided the Third Reich in starting WWII, by invading Poland, is at best an uneducated claim. It was Germany, Britain and Poland themselves who sliced up Czechoslovakia, triggering subsequent developments. Furthermore, major European powers were signing military agreements with Nazi Germany years before the USSR signed the Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler (which many purposefully misinterpret as an “Alliance”).
The USSR strongly opposed the ideology of Nazism and Fascism. It actively supported the fight against Nazism in Spain, boycotting the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin – unlike other major powers of the time, who were still toying with the idea of Nazism.
While major American industrialists were investing into the Third Reich during the 1930s, below is a photograph of a pro-Hitler march organized by German-American Bund in New York, in October 1939. Laying fault with the USSR on starting WWII is therefore alarmingly absurd.