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Putin condamnă pactul Ribbentrop – Molotov

de (31-8-2009)
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Stalin jubilează la semnarea pactului pe 23 august 1939Stalin jubilează la semnarea pactului pe 23 august 1939

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has condemned the Nazi-Soviet pact signed a week before Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland as „immoral”.

In a piece for the Polish paper Gazeta Wyborcza, he also expressed sorrow for a Soviet massacre of Poles in 1940.

His words were an attempt to ease bilateral tensions over World War II.

Mr Putin is among several statesmen attending a service in the Polish port city of Gdansk on Tuesday to mark the 70th anniversary of Poland’s invasion.

„Our duty is to remove the burden of distrust and prejudice left from the past in Polish-Russian relations,” said Mr Putin in the article, which was also published on the Russian government website.

„Our duty… is to turn the page and start to write a new one.”

But he added that the Soviet Union had felt obliged to sign the non-aggression treaty due to the failure of Western European powers to present a united front against Nazi Germany.

Katyn regret

Memories of the 1939 pact – in which the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany essentially agreed to carve up Poland and the Baltic States between them – have long soured relations between Warsaw and Moscow.

Within a month of the pact being signed, Soviet troops had invaded and occupied parts of eastern Poland.

„It is possible to condemn – and with good reason – the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact concluded in August 1939,” wrote Mr Putin, referring to the two foreign ministers who signed the pact at the Kremlin.

„Today we understand that any form of agreement with the Nazi regime was unacceptable from the moral point of view and had no chance of being realised.”

He added that Russian people „understand all too well the acute emotions of Poles in connection with Katyn”.

In 1940 Soviet secret police massacred more than 21,000 army officers and intellectuals on Stalin’s direct orders in the Katyn forest near the city of Smolensk.

Moscow only took responsibility for the killings in 1990, having previously blamed the massacre on the Nazis.