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Mar 3, 2005 5:32 pm

Putin's Version of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939

From the London Financial Times (2-25-05):

US president George W. Bush promised to relay the concerns of the three Baltic states to Vladimir Putin, his Russian counterpart, at their summit in Bratislava yesterday.

Putin himself added to those concerns in an interview with Slovak radio this week in which he offered an inventive interpretation of the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939, which agreed Russia should annex Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Putin claimed that the Soviet Union signed the pact to "safeguard its interests and security of its western borders" after the western powers had allowed Germany to occupy part of Czechoslovakia under the 1938 Munich agreement. "If we look at the problem in this context, it looks quite different," he said.

Not to Lithuania. "The protection of one's interests may not serve as an excuse for annexation of another sovereign country," said its foreign ministry yesterday. It also noted that the USSR's legislature declared the secret annexation protocols void in 1989.

Is that what Putin was referring to when he said: "I would recommend new historians, or rather those who want to rewrite history, to learn to read books before they rewrite or write them?" The Baltics hope not.

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