Disinfo: Soviet Union was forced to sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

Summary

[Context: “A collection of archival documents was presented at the House of the Russian Historical Society in Moscow, proving that Hitler Germany was the initiator of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.”] The Soviet Union was forced to sign this document in order to ensure its security.

Disproof

A recurring disinformation narrative revising the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to portray Russia's role in World War II as non-aggressive. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) was signed on August 23, 1939. Its secret protocols divided Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. Thus, the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact directly caused the German and Soviet military aggression against Poland in September 1939, which resulted in complete occupation of the country by Germany and the USSR. The Treaty enabled the Soviet Union to invade and annex the Baltic States. The Soviets also annexed Romania's provinces of Bessarabia (today's Moldova) and northern Bukovina (now in Ukraine) and the Czechoslovak territory of Carpathian Ruthenia (now also part of Ukraine). Throughout the territories it occupied, the Soviet Union carried out harsh political reprisals, including mass executions and deportations. Also, the Soviet Union kept negotiating with Britain and France, but in the end, Stalin chose to reach an agreement with Germany. By doing so, he hoped to keep the USSR at peace with Germany and to gain time to build up the Soviet military establishment, which had been weakened by the purge of the Red Army officer corps in 1937. See another example referring to Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact here. Read more about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: A 'honeymoon' for two dictators (Deutsche Welle); The Night Stalin and Hitler Redrew the Map of Europe (RFERL). Updated September 5, 2019: The headline of the summary of disinformation changed to reflect the original disinformation message.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 160
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/08/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: USSR, Germany, Russia
  • Keywords: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, WWII, Nazi/Fascist
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USSR was forced to sign the Treaty of Non-aggression with Germany

The Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Germany because it was forced to do so to ensure its security after the refusal of England and France to create an anti-German coalition together with the USSR. As recognised by authoritative, including Western historians, until mid-August 1939, right up to the failure of tripartite negotiations, Joseph Stalin aimed to create an anti-Hitler coalition within the USSR, France and Great Britain.

Disproof

A recurring disinformation narrative revising the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) was signed on August 23, 1939. To the public pact of nonaggression was appended A secret protocol was appended to the public pact of nonaggression which divided the whole of eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. Poland, east of the line formed by the Narew, Vistula, and San rivers would fall under the Soviet sphere of influence. The protocol also assigned Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland to the Soviet sphere of influence. Vyacheslav Molotov, then head of the Foreign Ministry of the Soviet Union, who signed the non-aggression pact and the secret protocol to it, denied its existence until his death in 1986. In December 1989, a special commission headed by Alexander Yakovlev, followed by the USSR Congress of People's Deputies, acknowledged the existence of a secret protocol to the Treaty between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, Moscow’s copy of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was published for the first time in 2019. Contrary to the statement that there was no alternative for the Soviet Union other than to sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, it was the USSR who held negotiations with Britain, France and Germany at the same time. On August 19, 1939, Stalin publicly expressed the need to push Europe to a major war that would become an overture to the "world revolution".

Poland's entire policy towards Russia is based entirely on US support

Polish policy towards Russia is entirely based on the support of the United States.

Disproof

The article by Sputnik falsely suggests that every decision Poland makes in its foreign policy depends on the US. This is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative, claiming that the United States fully control the foreign policy of Poland. See other examples of this message here, here and here. Poland is a sovereign state, which shapes its own foreign and domestic policies - moreover, being a member of NATO and the EU, Poland is able to impact the formation of common foreign policies of these unions. See other examples of disinformation about Polish-American relations here.

As the US's vassal state Denmark will have to give up Greenland for free or for a symbolic price

Denmark got frightened after it turned out that Donald Trump was not joking about his intention to purchase Greenland. Trump is not the type of person who can easily be told ‘no’. A catastrophic perspective lies ahead of Denmark as it is one of the US’s allied countries. For them, Trump’s initiatives are offers which cannot be refused. Why would Trump pay for something that he can get for free or for a symbolic price? This would be a shame for such a successful businessman as Donald Trump. Therefore, Trump can get Greenland by arguing that as a NATO member, Denmark did not pay a penny for its military security. Hence, either Denmark pays billions of dollars for the security provided to it by the Americans over the last 70 years, or it gives up Greenland to the US. This development was logical given that the US does not really have allies as claimed but the vassal states which Washington can bend at any time. They will become victims of American global dominance. If Trump dared to ask Russia to sell its Sakhalin island, the Kremlin could launch a hyper-sonic missile at the White House.

Disproof

This is groundless speculation based on recurring lost sovereignty narrative frequently promoted by pro-Kremlin disinformation sources, this time built around the claim that Denmark is a US's vassal country, which will have to please Trump and give up Greenland. The 2014 Wales Summit Declaration formalised the aim to move towards 2% of GDP spending on defence for all NATO members. Although Denmark is among those NATO countries whose spending has not reached this benchmark, it is not true that Denmark did not pay for defence at all as alleged (see NATO countries defence expenditures for the last years here). Generally, the issue of US-Denmark negotiations over fair defence spending is well known, however it has nothing to do with Denmark's governance arrangements with Greenland. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called Trump's statements on Greenland “an absurd discussion.” Both she and Greenland leader Kim Kielsen responded that Greenland is not for sale. “A discussion about a potential sale of Greenland has been put forward. It has been rejected by Greenland Premier Kim Kielsen and I fully stand behind that rejection,” Frederiksen stated. Despite the unusual spat over Greenland, the US and Denmark remain allies. Denmark remains sovereign in its domestic and foreign policy as decided by the Danes themselves, including on the matter of the country's relations with semi-autonomous Greenland. See earlier disinformation cases claiming that Washington is behind Denmark's attempts to obstruct the construction of Nord Stream 2, that Poland is the ''Trojan horse'' of the US, and that the EU has become the vassal of the US.