This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism which attempts to portray Russia's role in World War II as non-aggressive and to blame the West for the failure to create an anti-Nazi coalition with the Soviet Union. This narrative essentially blames the West for the outbreak of World War II, and seeks to relativise and erode the disastrous historical role of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact (the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union) by stating that other countries signed various international agreements with Adolf Hitler throughout the 1930s, and to argue that it was the Munich Agreement that triggered WWII.
The article’s claim that the failure to create an anti-Nazi alliance between Western powers and the Soviet Union in the late 1930s is entirely the West’s fault is not true. This failure was due to deep mutual mistrust between Western democracies and the Soviet Union. On the one hand, mass terror inside the Soviet Union made many European policy-makers wary of entering into an alliance with Moscow, especially because thousands of experienced Soviet military officers were imprisoned or executed during this purge. On the other hand, Stalin perceived that Western powers, especially after the Munich Agreement, looked with favour on Germany’s eastward expansion. Furthermore, he played a “double game”, negotiating the creation of an anti-Nazi alliance with France and the UK, and at the same time discussing with Berlin a possibile Soviet-Nazi rapproachment.
The Munich Agreement has always been a symbol of “appeasement policy", it was widely criticised and proved to be a disastrous move. Great Britain and France, without inviting Czechoslovakia decided that, for the sake of peace in Europe, the Sudetenland region, which was predominantly inhabited by Germans, must be surrendered to Germany. However, when Germany itself destroyed the Munich Pact and occupied Prague in March 1939, Anglo-French policy towards Nazi Germany changed fundamentally from appeasement to resistance. Britain and France approached various governments, including Russia, about the need for forming a coalition to oppose further German aggression.
The Molotov-Ribentropp Pact was signed on August 23, 1939. Its secret protocols divided Eastern and Central Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. The signing of this Pact enabled the German and Soviet military aggression against Poland in September 1939, which resulted in the occupation of this country by Germany and USSR, triggering the beginning of World War II.The Pact also led in 1940 to the Soviet occupation and annexation of the three Baltic states -- which did not regain their independence until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Read more about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: The Night Stalin and Hitler Redrew the Map of Europe.
Read previous cases claiming that the Soviet Union was forced to sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact , that Western democracies are primarily responsible for the outbreak of World War II and that the Munich agreement triggered World War II.