On Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Russian ambassador to Estonia regarding a State Duma legal initiative on the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (MRP).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Estonia to account for a recent legal initiative in the Russian State Duma which will revoke the resolution adopted by the Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union on December 24, 1989 unanimously condemning the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols which divided Europe into spheres of influence in 1939.
Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said: "We express our discontent at the legal initiative being considered in the State Duma.
"The international community has repeatedly condemned the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in the strongest terms. The pact and its secret protocols led directly to the cynical dividing of the world by two totalitarian regimes and paved the way for World War II, one of the most terrible chapters in our shared history."
He said the motion is particularly deplorable on the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, when victims of the war are specially commemorated.
On Thursday, Reinsalu tweeted he hoped there is enough respect in Russia for the victims of World War II not to proceed with this initiative.
The draft bill in was presented to the State Duma on May 27. The Committee on International Affairs of the State Duma unanimously supported the draft bill on June 9 and submitted it for further consideration.
Today @MFAestonia summoned ???????? Amb to express concern over legislative initiative in #Russia to exonerate #MRP & its secret protocols – and through that two horrendous totalitarian regimes. Hope there is enough respect in Russia for #WWII victims not to proceed w/ this initiative. pic.twitter.com/pRN10bnZgF— Urmas Reinsalu (@UrmasReinsalu) June 18, 2020
What was the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact?
The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a non-aggression treaty signed between Germany and the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939; its secret protocol divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence.
The MRP was signed in Moscow by the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, Vyacheslav Molotov.
The parties pledged to avoid aggression towards each other and any unions or agreement against the other party.
The secret protocol of the treaty split Eastern Europe into spheres of influence – Finland and the Baltic countries, plus Bessarabia which belonged to Romania – belonged in the Soviet sphere, while Poland was divided between both.
The treaty enabled Germany to attack Poland, which took place on September 1, 1939, and is now considered the start of World War II.
According to the secret protocol, the Soviet Union occupied Eastern Poland and forced the Baltic countries to accept the agreements of mutual assistance, and installed Soviet military bases there.
Finland refused to sign such an agreement.
The Soviet Union then attacked Finland, starting the Winter War, and was declared an aggressor by the League of Nations which expelled it.
In summer 1940, the Soviet Union occupied the Baltic countries and Bessarabia.
The Soviet Union denied the existence of the secret protocol until 1989, when the Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union declared the MRP and its secret addenda null and void
On Wednesday, Reinsalu tweeted about the start of the Soviet Occupation of Estonia and said: "There can be no justification of the Pact. It brought tremendous suffering & loss of independence."
Today in 1940 Soviet Red Army occupied Estonia. It was a step in the chain of events launched by Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.— Urmas Reinsalu (@UrmasReinsalu) June 17, 2020
There can be no justification of the Pact. It brought tremendous suffering & loss of independence.
Timeline of events 80 years ago: https://t.co/sWT26nglmy
Last year, on the 80th anniversary of the signing of the pact, the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania signed a joint statement to mark the occasion.
It said: "August 23 will mark the 80th anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany that sparked the Second World War and doomed half of Europe to decades of misery."
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste, Helen Wright