The Estonian World Council: Russian fabrications and distortions of history hinder mutual understanding and the pursuit of truth

The Estonian World Council, a global organisation uniting Estonians abroad, has published a separate statement from the one Estonian World published on 9 July, regarding the Russian attempts to revise history; Estonian World publishes the statement in full.

The Estonian World Council joins with the foreign ministries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in protesting the most recent Russian attempts to revise history.

A recent legislative initiative in Russia’s State Duma would revoke the 24 December 1989 declaration of the Soviet Union’s Supreme Council that condemned the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. This pact divided Central and Eastern Europe into Soviet and Nazi German spheres of influence, one result of which was the 1940 Soviet occupation and annexation of the three Baltic countries.

For them, World War II ended in 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and their regaining of independence. The Estonian World Council applauds the actions of the three foreign ministers in summoning their respective Russian ambassadors on June 18 to voice their concerns over this move and Russian attempts to whitewash history.

Russia continues to falsify and distort historical facts

In addition, the recent article, “The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II”, published in the National Interest by Russian president Vladimir Putin, is an affront to the victims of Soviet totalitarianism as well as another example of Russia’s continuous attempt to falsify and distort historical facts.

The article asserts that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was unavoidable and signed under the duress of precarious geopolitical circumstances, and that the illegal annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was concluded after the latter gave due parliamentary assent. These are egregious claims the Estonian World Council categorically refutes.

The governments of the Baltic states were not sustained intact after the Soviet occupation, and the Soviet military forces that defeated Germany were used to enforce the political repression in these captive nations following World War II.

Putin is trying to vindicate Russia’s aggressive foreign policy

The 1944 Soviet occupation resulted in the executions of thousands of innocent citizens and mass deportations in freight trains of men, women and children to harsh work camps throughout Siberia. Many perished in those inhumane conditions.

Russia’s rehabilitation of the repressive Soviet period and rationalisation of the appalling crimes of Joseph Stalin and other totalitarian Soviet rulers is part of Vladimir Putin’s message in the National Interest, which he uses to help legitimise his increasingly authoritarian domestic rule and vindicate Russia’s aggressive foreign policy.

To dismiss the Russian distortions of historical facts as simply a different interpretation of past reality is to absolve the Soviet Union of the suppression of the Russians themselves and of numerous other nations, and of the loss of millions of victims of Soviet crimes. There is only one true interpretation of past reality, and it is not the one put forth by Russia.

Cover: Vladimir Putin. Photo by the Office of the Russian President.

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