The US embassy in Estonia has issued a statement claiming the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were both responsible for starting World War II.
The statement was issued on the 72nd anniversary of the so called Molotov-Ribbentrop pact – the 1939 non-aggression agreement between the Soviet Union and Germany. In the paper, the US diplomats claim that “Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union ensured that Europe and the entire world were placed on an inexorable path to war”. It also made reference to the secret protocols of the pact “that carved up Europe into respective spheres of influence”.
The statement goes on to praise Estonian policy for remembering those “dark years of occupation” and expresses solidarity with the Estonian nation.
Russia issued no official comments on the statement, but in the past Russian officials had repeatedly condemned attempts to re-write history and present the Second World War as a result of a conspiracy between Stalin and Hitler. In 2009, on the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that “the attempts to shoulder the responsibility for the war either on Hitler’s Germany nurturing aggressive plans, or on the Soviet Union only acting defensively, are unacceptable, blasphemous, and anti-historic to the core.”
The ministry also added that the assumptions regarding a conspiracy between Stalin and Hitler, or attempts to conflate Communism with Nazism, made no sense and disparaged the millions of Soviet citizens who were killed in the struggle against Nazism.
Russia declared the Molotov-Ribbentrop protocol invalid in 1989 and the document received a negative assessment in the Russian parliament. In August 2009, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin condemned the pact as immoral in an interview with the Polish media, but in the same interview likened it to the Munich Agreement of 1938 which, unlike the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in Russia, has not yet been denounced by the parliaments of the countries that signed it.
It should also be noted that authorities in Estonia and other Baltic states have repeatedly condemned the Soviet Occupation, but show dangerous leniency towards those who honor the memory of Nazi collaborators. In August this year, Estonia again hosted the international competition Erna Retk, which is named after a Nazi international subversive group in Hitler’s Abwehr intelligence service.Erna Rekt operated in the rear of the Soviet army in 1941. Russia has condemned the event as an act that glorified the Nazis.