At a meeting with academics and history teachers, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was essentially a non-aggression treaty between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, and was not a bad thing in itself.
He said the treaty that was signed by the two sides in August 1939 gave the Soviet Union more time to prepare for war. “The Soviet Union signed a non-aggression treaty with Germany. Many say how bad that was. But what is bad about the Soviet Union not wanting war?”
Putin said the Soviet Union is blamed for carving up Poland, adding that people forget that Poland itself participated in the dividing-up of Czechoslovakia, and similar foreign policy methods were the norm back then.
Besides the stipulation of non-aggression, the pact also included a secret protocol which divided up territories of Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland between the two nations. Estonia was forced to accept Soviet troops on its soil one month after the pact was signed, leading to the Soviet annexation of the Baltic nations less than a year later.
On August 23, 1989, the 50th anniversary of the pact, Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians created the Baltic Way, a two-million strong chain of hands across the three Baltic states to protest against the pact.