Russia’s Putin says Soviets occupied Lithuania ‘with consent’

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has published an op-ed about the Second World War, defending the Soviet pact with Hitler and saying the occupation of the Baltic states happened “with consent”.

The 9,000-word piece attributed to Putin was published on the National Interest, an American publication headed by Dmitri Simes who is named more than 100 times in the Mueller’s report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election, according to the Latvian-based media outlet Meduza.

In the piece entitled The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II, Putin writes that the Baltic states’ occupation was “implemented on a contractual basis, with the consent of the elected authorities” and “in line with international and state law of that time”.

In 1940, the Soviets presented Lithuania with an ultimatum to allow Russian bases in the country, to depose the current leadership, and imprison high-level officials. On June 15, Soviet columns marched into Lithuania.

The Red Army re-occupied the country in 1940. The anti-Soviet armed resistance in Lithuania continued until 1953.

Historian Sergey Radchenko from Cardiff University has pointed out a plethora of historical flaws in Putin’s account, including on the occupation of the Baltic states.

But you see, anyway, the Balts “preserved their government bodies, language, and had representation in the higher state structures of the Soviet Union”. Never mind that tens of thousands were deported to Siberia like cattle.

Putin claimed the Baltic states “preserved their government bodies, language, and had representation in the higher state structures of the Soviet Union”, and ignored the “tens of thousands were deported to Siberia like cattle”, tweeted Radchenko.

Putin also defended the Soviet and Nazi invasion of Poland, saying the Soviets invaded the country as a last resort to stop the Nazis. In response, Radchenko tweeted a screenshot of the secret protocols in the Soviet–Nazi pact “which stipulates the [joint] division of Poland”.

Just for Putin’s benefit, here’s a copy of the Secret Protocol, which stipulates the division of Poland. I mean, for god’s sake.

Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry summoned represnetatitive of the Russian embassy in Vilnius on Thursday, protesting a bill in the Russian parliament rehabilitating the Soviet–Nazi non-aggression agreement.

The 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact carved up Eastern Europe between Nazis and Soviets in their respective spheres of influence, paving the way for the occupation of the Baltic states and the invasion of Poland.

In 1989, the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Soviet Union condemned the document and declared it null and void.

However, Russian MPs have recently drafted legislation that would annul the condemnation.

This follows from the earlier diplomatic spat between Poland and Russia, after Putin said Warsaw was partially to blame for the start of the Second World War.

The Baltic states, Poland, and other countries have recently condemned Russia’s historical revisionism.

LRT.LT

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