Russia conducts broad smear campaign against Poland: historian

“The massive campaign of accusing Poland of made up deeds, which have nothing to do with reality, has begun,” professor Nikolay Ivanov of the University of Opole told Polish Press Agency (PAP).

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The historian of Belarusian descent, and a dissident in the former Soviet Union, referred to the statement of Sergei Naryshkin, the director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.

The Russian official said in a TV interview that pre-WWII Poland became “a quiet ally of the aggressor” when it signed a non-violence declaration with the Nazi German Third Reich in 1934.

He also defended the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact signed in August 1939 between the USSR and Nazi Germany, calling it “a forced, but a thoughtful step of the Soviet authorities.”

“I think that Mr Naryshkin has a political agenda. The massive propaganda campaign has begun in Russia. Everyone who can strike a low blow against Poland does it,” Professor Ivanov said.

“The head of the intelligence has joined this choir, which is likely to be conducted from the Kremlin. If the head of the state says that Poland was co-responsible for the outbreak of WWII, it is not a surprise that his subordinates say similar or even worse things,” the historian added.

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Mr Ivanov emphasised that the Soviet Union had been an ally of the Third Reich for two years. “The USSR did everything it could to make Nazi German aggression in the West easier,” he said.

“Joseph Stalin hoped that the war in the West will look like WWI - that the Germans and French will bleed out in the trenches like they did at Verdun in 1916. Stalin hoped it would then allow him to conquer Europe with bare hands,” the historian added.

Polish Foreign Ministry announced in a statement that there was no need to comment on every opinion uttered by the Russian authorities. “The historic facts are clear,” the ministry stressed.

Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, while Soviet forces violated the Polish border 16 days later. This so-called “fourth Partition of Poland” was envisaged in the secret protocol of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact.