Foreign Affairs Committee deplores Russian State Duma bill regarding MRP

Enn Eesmaa (Centre) will probably get the Riigikogu's foreign committee chair, it is reported.
Enn Eesmaa (Centre) will probably get the Riigikogu's foreign committee chair, it is reported. Source: Sander Koit/ERR

In a joint statement, the chairmen of the Foreign Affairs Committees of the Parliaments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland call on the State Duma and the authorities of the Russian Federation to withdraw from proceeding the proposal to revoke and invalidate the resolution condemning the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (MRP) and its secret protocol.

In 1989, the Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR adopted the resolution that condemned the 1939 Soviet-German Non-Aggression Treaty.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu, Enn Eesmaa (Center), said that the bill on revoking and invalidating that resolution, which is currently being proceeded in the State Duma, is a regrettable attempt to rewrite history.

He emphasised: "World War II, that caused the death of tens of millions of people, occupation of the Baltic States, and the partition of Poland between two totalitarian powers were the direct results of the MRP and its secret protocol. The proposed law is an attempt to distort those events and to justify the use of military force against smaller neighbours, and this is done at the expense of the memory of the victims of the World War."

The joint statement of the chairmen of the Foreign Affairs Committees underlines that the proposal on revoking the 1989 resolution will not have any impact on the unequivocal condemnation of the pact and its secret protocol as an illegal act under the international law.

The joint statement also points out that the rehabilitation of the totalitarian imperialism in the proceeded bill is an attempt to justify the rejection of the equal protection of sovereign states under international law.

The chairmen wrote: "It is particularly dangerous since it justifies, in fact affirms the current policy of the Russian Federation towards Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, and opens the path for further potential violations of the international law at the expense of independence and sovereignty of the neighbouring countries."

The joint statement says: "We call on the State Duma and the authorities of the Russian Federation to make all possible efforts to base the relations with their neighbours on the international law, the respect of their sovereignty and territorial integrity, the restoration of trust in international relations and reestablishment of good neighbourly relations in our part of Europe. In such efforts the first necessary step will be the withdrawal from proceeding the proposal."

On June 18, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania summoned the Russian ambassadors in their countries to discuss a recent legal initiative in the Russian State Duma which aims to revoke the resolution adopted by the Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union on December 24, 1989. The resolution unanimously condemned the MRP and its secret protocols which divided Europe into spheres of influence in 1939.

ERR News wrote on June 19 foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's interpretation of the status of Estonia and the other two Baltic States during World War II, coinciding with those countries' marking the 79th anniversary of Soviet deportations to Siberia.

Putin wrote an article in National Interest magazine where he stated, among other things, that the Baltic states were incorporated into the Soviet Union on a contractual basis, with the consent of democratically elected local authorities.

Putin penned: "In autumn 1939, the Soviet Union, pursuing its strategic military and defensive goals, started the process of the incorporation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Their accession to the Soviet Union was implemented on a contractual basis, with the consent of the elected authorities. This was in line with international and state law of that time."

Lithuanian foreign minister Linas Linkevicius also condemned Putin's words on Twitter and referenced the annexation of Crimea and Georgian territories as comparisons. Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics also criticized Putin on Twitter.

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."

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."

Source: estonica


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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