Putin: Nothing Wrong With Soviet Union’s Pact With Nazi Germany

Dustin Wicksell

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently suggested that Britain and France were responsible for Nazi Germany’s march into Eastern Europe, defending a Soviet pact with Hitler’s government.

A keen amateur historian, Mr. Putin reportedly made the comments during a meeting with young historians in Moscow, according to the Telegraph. Urging them to examine the lead-up to World War II, Putin said that Western scholars downplay the Munich Agreement, which ceded Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland to the Nazis in 1938.

“Chamberlain came, waved a piece of paper and said, ‘I’ve brought you peace’ when he returned to London after the talks,” Putin said. “To which Churchill, I think, said somewhere to a small group of people, ‘That’s it, now war is inevitable’. Because compromise with an aggressor in the form of Hitlerite Germany was clearly leading to a large-scale future military conflict, and some people understood that.”

Putin’s assessment of the 1939 Nazi-Soviet or Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was less harsh, however, as he noted that it reflected the foreign policy methods of the time.

“The Soviet Union signed a non-aggression treaty with Germany. People say: ‘Ach, that’s bad.’ But what’s bad about that if the Soviet Union didn’t want to fight, what’s bad about it?”

As the Financial Times observes, the remarks came just two weeks after one of Mr. Putin’s toughest foreign policy speeches, in which he warned that the security architecture that has dominated since the end of the Cold War is broken. Putin accused the United States of violating Russia’s security interests by repeatedly ignoring international rules. Political analysts saw Putin’s speech as a sign that Russia would not accept minor power status, instead seeking its own sphere of influence.

Critics of Putin have asserted that his administration is increasingly utilizing historical revisionism as a method of reinforcing his rule. A recent multimedia exhibition in Moscow, which Putin visited on Tuesday, features a section on Ivan the Terrible, which details “the West’s first anti-Russian information campaign.”

Recently, Russian warplanes have invaded the airspace of European countries, as the Inquisitr noted. Widely seen as a method of intimidation, the incursions have been viewed by some military officials as a precursor to a more aggressive move in Eastern Europe. They believe that Mr. Putin could then use a nuclear threat to deter a NATO response.

[Image via Business Insider]