Modern views on the Nazi-Soviet pact

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In the latest of a series of articles marking the outbreak of World War II 70 years ago, BBC Russian affairs analyst Steven Eke analyses how opinions on the Nazi-Soviet pact have changed over the years.

In recent years, the tone and content of disagreements between Russia and the West over interpretations of World War II have seemed reminiscent of the Cold War.

The original German-language copy of the secret protocol to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on the Nazi-Soviet division of Europe was seized by Soviet troops in 1945 and removed to Moscow.

The Soviet government understood why the document could have a devastating effect on the image of the USSR as the nation that had done - and suffered - the most for the defeat of the Nazi curse.

The teaching of history developed by the Soviet authorities in the post-war decades instead chose to portray the pact as a masterstroke of Soviet diplomacy, one that prevented an alliance between Nazi Germany and Western capitalist nations against the USSR.

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