Russia-Polish Second World War row deepens

Russia-Polish Second World War row deepens

Russia and Poland have been arguing over the causes of the Second World War as the US aggravated the issue by entering the debate. 

Russian Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said a tweet by the US ambassador, Georgette Mosbacher, was “insulting” to Russia and the US. 

She tweeted on Monday: “Dear President Putin, Hitler and Stalin colluded to start WWII. That is a fact. Poland was a victim of this horrible conflict.”

President Vladimir Putin accused Poland and its regional allies of distorting history.

Putin this month tried to defend the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 that divided Poland between the two dictatorships. 

The Russian foreign ministry earlier this year began trying to rehabilitate the 1939 pact, which 10 years ago Putin called “pointless, harmful and dangerous”. 

Russia’s culture minister during 2019 called the pact “a triumph of Soviet diplomacy”.

This month Putin also accused Poland of placating Hitler and taking part in the partition of Czechoslovakia before the war. 

He is particularly angry about a recent European Parliament resolution saying the Soviet Union bore responsibility for starting the Second World War, as well as Nazi Germany. 

Putin, 67, who is marking two decades in power, labelled the Polish ambassador to Germany in 1939 “a scumbag and antisemitic pig” who was “in complete solidarity” with Hitler’s Jewish policies. 

The Polish foreign ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to complain about Putin’s comments. 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki claimed Putin “has lied about Poland on numerous occasions, and he has always done it deliberately”. He said the Nazis and Soviets engaged in a “joint defeat of independent Poland”.

The 51-year-old said the Nazi-Soviet Pact was not a “non-aggression” deal but designed to divide up Europe and a “prologue to unspeakable crimes . . . on both sides of the line”.

Until the 1941 invasion, the Soviet Union supplied the Nazi Germany war machine and helped facilitate Jewish murders, Morawiecki added. The prime minister referred to the Katyn massacre of 20,000 Polish officers and the murder of ethnic Polish communities within the Soviet Union as evidence of Moscow’s hostility.

Morawiecki said Putin’s comments were a distraction from his inability to end European Union sanctions imposed after the 2014 seizure of Crimea from Ukraine, the doping ban on its athletes and delays to its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which Poland opposes.

“The Russian leader is well aware that his accusations have nothing to do with reality, and that in Poland there are no monuments to Hitler or Stalin. Such monuments stood here only when erected by the aggressors and perpetrators — the Third Reich and Soviet Russia,” the populist leader said.


Outgunned: Polish cavalry in 1939. Picture credit: Wikimedia 



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