Every September 17, Poland remembers that on this day in 1939 the Red Army, under Stalin, attacked that country treacherously.
An invasion that was agreed upon by Hitler and Stalin in August 1939
Stalin invaded eastern Poland and did so in coordination with Hitler, as stipulated by Nazi Germany and the USSR in the secret protocol of the pact they signed on August 23, 1939, with which both dictators divided Poland, leaving the Baltic republics and Finland in the hands of Stalin. Today the communications maintained between the German and Soviet governments to coordinate that invasion are preserved, the transcripts of which are published in the Avalon Project of Yale University.
Germany and the USSR showed their harmony in the face of Western democracies
One of the communications published by the Avalon Project is Telegram 175 sent on August 14, 1939 by Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, to the German Ambassador in Moscow, Friedrich-Werner von der Schulenburg, to visit Molotov – the Soviet foreign minister – and communicated a message to him that stated the following:
“The Reich Government and the Soviet Government must, judging from all experience, count it as certain that the capitalistic Western democracies are the unforgiving enemies of both National Socialist Germany and of the U.S.S.R. They are today trying again, by the conclusion of a military alliance, to drive the U.S.S.R. into the war against Germany. In 1914 this policy had disastrous results for Russia. It is the compelling interest of both countries to avoid for all future time the destruction of Germany and of the U.S.S.R., which would profit only the Western democracies.
After completing the invasion of Poland, German and Soviet military even organized a joint parade in the Polish town of Brześć Litewski (today Brest-Litovsk, in Belarus), to celebrate their victory.
The effects of the German-Soviet pact in occupied Europe
Thus, the pact of August 23, 1939 was more than a non-aggression agreement: it was an alliance between these two totalitarian regimes, which was reflected in a clear collaboration in different areas, including the communist boycott of the defense of France in 1940 and the inaction of the communist resistance in practically all the countries occupied by Germany, following Stalin’s orders. That policy only changed with the German invasion of the USSR in 1941, which was when communist resistance was finally activated in the occupied countries.
War and genocide crimes committed by the USSR in Poland
One of the consequences of the Soviet invasion of Poland was the deportation of 320,000 Poles to Siberia and the death of 150,000 Poles at the hands of the Soviets, according to estimates published by the Polish Institute of National Remembrance in 2009. To that must be added the assassination of 22,000 Polish officers in the Katyn massacre, perpetrated on the orders of Stalin and falsely attributed to the Germans by Soviet propaganda until April 13, 1990, when Mikhail Gorbachev’s government finally recognized Soviet responsibility for the massacre, blaming Stalin for it.
The Russian government praises the invasion as “liberation”
The facts that we have just reviewed are well documented. The scope of the agreement between Germany and the USSR was denied during the Soviet dictatorship for decades, despite documentary evidence. Today it is historical evidence, as is its main effect: the de facto alliance between Nazi Germany and the USSR. Despite this, today the Russian Foreign Ministry has published a message justifying and praising the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939:
📅 17 сентября 1939 г. Красная Армия начала освободительный поход на территории Польши. Советские войска вышли на линию Керзона, не позволив вермахту подойти к Минску.
Народы Западной Белоруссии и Западной Украины встретили советских солдат с ликованием.
Подробнее 👇 pic.twitter.com/yk0by4aC1A
— МИД России 🇷🇺 (@MID_RF) September 17, 2021
The text of the message reads as follows:
“On September 17, 1939, the Red Army began a liberation campaign in Poland. Soviet troops entered the Curzon line, not allowing the Wehrmacht to approach Minsk.
The peoples of Western Belarus and Western Ukraine welcomed the Soviet soldiers with joy.“
It is infamous that the government of Russia describes as a “liberation campaign” what was actually an invasion of a sovereign country in coordination with Nazi Germany, an invasion that resulted in crimes of genocide at the hands of the Germans and the Soviets, and that it meant the occupation of a part of Poland that was not returned to that country after the end of World War II.
Vladimir Putin’s regime repeats the falsehoods of Stalinist propaganda
With that message, the Vladimir Putin regime repeats the lies of the Stalinist propaganda as it has done on previous occasions, demonstrating that the Russian government does not intend to assume the horrors the communist dictatorship meant for the Russian people themselves and for the countries which were invaded by the USSR. Instead, Putin is dedicated to whitewashing the crimes and imperialism of Stalin, while developing his own agenda of aggression against neighboring countries (Georgia 2008, Ukraine 2014) and intimidation against others, including Poland. All this while the Russian president develops government practices with which he is turning Russia into something very similar to a dictatorship, in which political opponents are arrested with false causes, as has happened with Alexei Navalny.
The EU, NATO and the US should take good note of this
The European Union, NATO and the United States should take into account the message launched today by the Russian government and the possible effects it will have on Russia’s foreign policy. A country that justifies an invasion of another country, in which crimes of genocide were perpetrated, should be a cause for alarm for the entire international community, especially for Western democracies. This serious fact should also be highly taken into account by the government of Angela Merkel, which has bowed to Putin’s interests with its support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which has received much criticism from Poland and other Central European countries, because it gives the Russian government enormous influence in the area, allowing Russia’s neighboring countries to be subjected to the whims of Putin if they do not want to see their gas supply cut off.
Photo: German and Soviet soldiers fraternizing in Brest, where their forces met during the joint invasion of Poland (colorized photo by Mirek Szponar).
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