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Gwynne Dyer: An uncomfortable lesson in European history

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09.01.2020

The row started when Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, was asked about the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 during his annual news conference on 19 December, and gave a deliberately evasive answer.

Or maybe it started in September, when the European Union's parliament passed a resolution describing the Second World War as "an immediate result" of the Nazi-Soviet deal. That was done to placate the Polish government, which wants to remind everybody that both the Germans and the Russians invaded Poland in 1939.

However, that infuriated the Russians, whose 20th-century history holds little that they can be proud of apart from their victory over Nazi Germany in 1941-45, after Hitler broke the Pact and invaded the Soviet Union. Yet here was the European Parliament effectively saying that it was their own stupid fault for making an alliance with Hitler.

Russian propaganda output since then has tried very hard to blur what actually happened in 1939 — and then last Monday Georgette Mosbacher, the U.S. ambassador to Poland, entered the fray, sending out a tweet that said: "Dear President Putin, Hitler and Stalin colluded to start Second World War." Even the Poles haven't been that........

© Peterborough Examiner