Following a debate, the European parliament passed a resolution condemning the 1939 Nazi-Communist agreement.
“Europe needs to remember its history, in order to learn from the past and not to repeat the mistakes of the past,” said Tytti Tuppurainen, Finnish minister for European Matters. “The experiences of two wars show us that we shouldn’t focus on differences, but on creating common space, to live in, to learn in, to work in,” she added.
“The Kremlin is still active in Ukraine, in Moldova, in Georgia. It propagates the cult of stalinism and spreads lies,” said Lithuanian MEP Rada Jukneviciene, stressing that her country still suffers from the consequences of the pact 80 years later. “We have to oppose the attempts at glorifying communist and fascist regimes and attempts at playing down the crimes committed by these regimes,” she added.
“Dear colleagues, nazism has ended, the Soviet Union has ended, but the practises remained. Just look at Georgia, at Crimea, at eastern Ukraine. Bullets are still flying there today. From these events we have to learn, for the future of Europe,” said Kosma Złotowski, MEP from the Polish Law and Justice party.
Some far-right MEPs opposed “equating” modern day Russia to the Soviet Union, while some far-left MEPs criticised the resolution for not including the mention of the Red Army “liberating” Europe.
“This debate proves that we need this resolution. My colleagues from the far-left say that the Red Army defeated Hitler, and that’s true, but they don’t want to remember that the USSR was the ally of the fascist Germany for two years and that the communist regimes are responsible for the deaths of around 100,000,000 of their own citizens,” said Radosław Sikorski, MEP from the Polish Civic Platform party.
“On the other hand my colleague from the French far-right says that modern Russia has cut itself off from the legacy of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, that’s not true. In recent days we saw official announcements of the Russian government, the ministries, the embassies, denying the facts of the pact with Hitler and the invasion of Poland. We need this Day of Remembrance. I agree with my colleague Anna Fotyga [MEP from the rival Law and Justice party] that Witold Pilecki would make a great patron for that day. This Polish officer volunteered to go to Auschwitz. Instead of being rewarded for his heroism, he was murdered by the communist government after a show trial,” added Sikorski.
The Ribbentrop-Molotov pact was signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union a week before the outbreak of WWII. It included a secret protocol in which the two totalitarian regimes agreed to divide eastern Europe between themselves.