Polish Foreign Ministry critical of Putin’s remarks

ВлаPutin at the CIS summit on 20 December. Photo: kremlin.ru

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland criticized the statements made by the Russian authorities that Poland was one of the initiators of the Second World War.

“We note with concern and distrust the statements of the Russian authorities, including President Vladimir Putin, about the beginning and course of World War II, which show a false picture of events,” a statement by the Polish Foreign Ministry said.

The agency stressed that the statements of the Russian authorities repeat the statements of Stalinist totalitarianism, which “was condemned even by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev“.

Warsaw stressed that Poland, which regained its independence in 1918, was forced to pursue a policy of balance against Germany and the USSR. This is why non-aggression treaties were signed in 1932 with Moscow and in 1934 with Berlin. At the same time, the USSR took actions “directly aimed at causing war,” the statement stressed. In particular, in 1937, as part of the Polish NKVD operation, 111 thousand Poles were killed and tens of thousands were exiled or arrested.

In spring 1939, political cooperation between the USSR and Germany began, and the German-Polish non-aggression treaty was terminated. On August 23 the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed, which divided Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.

On September, 1st the aggression of Germans against Poland began joined by the Soviet armies on September 17th. On September 28th, the parties signed the treaty on borders, having fixed division of Poland among themselves. In the Soviet zone of occupation in 1939-1941, not less than 107 thousand former Polish citizens were arrested, 380 thousand were deported and 22 thousand Polish soldiers were shot. In 1944, the repressions resumed. The leaders of the Polish underground were also punished.

“The Polish side believes that the correct way of the Polish-Russian historical dialogue is to resume the work of the group on complex issues, which has its achievements, including agreements on the role of the Soviet Union at the beginning of World War II. The words of the President of the Russian Federation ruin not only the joint work of the Polish and Russian experts, but also the achievements of his predecessors, Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, who, despite difficulties, tried to seek truth and reconciliation in Polish-Russian relations. A fair and critical view of history, rather than propaganda, would also pay tribute to the millions of victims of Stalinist repressions, including those from the Russian side,” reads the statement of the Polish Foreign Ministry.

During a press conference on December 19, Vladimir Putin denied the Soviet occupation of part of interwar Poland and stressed that “Poland also participated in the partition of Czechoslovakia”.

“By the way, the Soviet armies entered Poland according to these protocols. I draw your attention to the following circumstance: the troops came, but they came after the Polish government had lost the control over their armed forces and over what was happening in the territory of Poland and it was already somewhere near the Polish-Romanian border. There is no one even to talk to about it. Do you understand?” stated the President of the Russian Federation.

He spoke further on this topic on December 20 at the summit of the CIS leaders.