The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss a TASS interview series with Russian President Vladimir Putin called “20 Questions with Vladimir Putin”.
In episode 10 of the series, Putin is asked what triggered the Great Patriotic War? What does he think about the so-called equal responsibility of Hitler and Stalin?
Putin also sounds off on his relationship with US President Trump, and how he grades the geopolitical cooperation between Russia and the United States.
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Putin also pointed out that, unlike the European Union, Russia has condemned the secret articles in the controversial Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed in 1939 by Moscow and Berlin.
He recalled the tumultuous end of the 1930s in the latest episode of TASS news agency’s 20 Questions to Vladimir Putin, which focused entirely on the wartime period.
The candid talk became intense as Putin unloaded on the notorious 2019 resolution of the European Parliament which claims Molotov-Ribbentrop “paved the way” for the outbreak of the war.
“Some ignorant people,” the president said, are spouting all kinds of “garbage” without mentioning “who signed what with Hitler.”
President Putin stated that the pact – officially known as the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the USSR – wasn’t the first of the kind signed back then, as some Western leaders didn’t hesitate to strike deals with Adolf Hitler.
And think what you will about Joseph Stalin, he did try to maintain a distance when dealing with the Fuhrer, the Russian president said.
By the way, Stalin, regardless of what anyone thinks of him (a tyrant or whatever), never disgraced himself by having direct or face-to-face contact with Hitler. What’s more, not a single document was ever signed by both Stalin and Hitler whatsoever.
In contrast, there are documents “signed by Hitler and the British Prime Minister, Hitler and the Prime Minister of France, and also by both Hitler and the leader of Poland.”
They worked with Hitler, “held numerous meetings with him,” and “betrayed Czechoslovakia,” Putin said, referring to the infamous 1938 Franco-British-German deal – also known as the ‘Munich Betrayal’ – under which Hitler annexed neighboring Austria and seized the mainly German-inhabited Sudetenland of sovereign Czechoslovakia.
Meanwhile, Poland had its own designs on the partitioned Czechoslovakia. “The only thing that Hitler told them was: ‘Don’t do it on the same day as us. Let’s not get in each other’s way. We won’t go after what you will: The Tesin Region,'” Putin said, quoting the archives.
Poland coerced Czechoslovakia to give up the region – home to a sizeable Polish population – shortly after the Munich agreement became reality on September 30, 1938. Polish troops and authorities then moved in, effectively occupying the area in October 1938, and the territory was annexed by Poland on October 2.
While EU nations try to shift the blame onto Russia, historic documents paint a different picture, according to President Putin.
Everything is in there. And after that they want to tell us who is to blame. They are the ones who are guilty starting from 1938. It was precisely the Munich Betrayal that was the first step to ignite World War 2.
Russia for its part condemned the secret protocol of the 1939 pact with Germany which, being largely a tactical agreement, bought the Soviet Union a couple more years of relative peace and allowed it to prepare for all-out war with the Third Reich.
The clause in question, which was made public decades after the conflict, concerned the territorial and political reorganization of the Baltic nations, as well as the western parts of Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova, which were historically controlled by Russia.
“We have condemned the Molotov-Ribbentrop secret protocol. Russia has done that,” Putin said.
In turn, other countries could also honestly say how they feel about the way their leadership acted back then. Let them honestly open up about it, instead of hurling some fictitious, absolutely baseless accusations and allegations.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.