Disinfo: The USSR incorporated Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in a legal way

Summary

In autumn 1939, the Soviet Union, pursuing its strategic military and defensive goals, started the process incorporating Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Their accession to the USSR was implemented on a contractual basis, with the consent of the elected authorities. This was in line with international and state law of that time.

Disproof

This disinformation message is a part of the Kremlin's historical revisionism campaign – it denies that the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states ever happened.

On 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a non-aggression (Molotov-Ribbentrop) pact whose secret protocols divided the territories belonging to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Romania into Soviet and Nazi spheres of influence. The Baltic States were not beneficiaries of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Like other countries mentioned in the pact, they lost their independence and territories. Soviet occupation of the Baltic States lasted for 50 years and resulted in mass deportations and repressions against local populations.

On 24 December 1989, the Parliament of the USSR, the Congress of the People’s Deputies, adopted a resolution, acknowledging the annexation of the Baltic states as a violation of the USSR's obligations. An English translation of the full text can be found here:

The Congress notes that during this period the relations of the USSR with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were regulated by a system of treaties. Pursuant to the 1920 Peace Treaties and 1926-1933 Non-Aggression Treaties, the signatories were obliged to honour each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability under any circumstances. The Soviet Union had assumed similar obligations to Poland and Finland.

See similar disinformation narratives on this issue - The Baltic states benefited from the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact; The Baltic states are perpetuating the myth of the Soviet occupation and The Baltic states refuse to celebrate the victory over fascism.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Polish
  • Country: Russia, Baltic states
  • Keywords: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, USSR, Historical revisionism, Occupation, WWII, Baltic states

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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A two-day visit of Ribbentrop to the USSR could not be the reason for WWII outbreak

it is unfair to claim that the two-day visit to Moscow of Nazi Foreign Minister Ribbentrop was the main reason for the start of the Second World War.

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to erode the disastrous historical role of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by the statements that the USSR was forced to sign this pact; other European countries signed various international agreements with Adolf HitlerMunich Agreement triggered WWII and various historical conspiracies saying that the Western democracies wanted to inspire a war between Nazism and Communism.

A “two-day” visit of Ribbentrop to the USSR resulted in the signing of the Secret Supplementary Protocol to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which assumed the partition of Central and Eastern Europe between Nazi Germany and the USSR. This Secret Protocol was the direct reason for the outbreak of WWII - the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact enabled the German and Soviet military aggression against Poland in September 1939,  triggering the beginning of WWII.

MH17 investigation is deliberately delayed

The Dutch tribunal deliberately delays the investigation [of the MH17 disaster]. Investigators make every effort not to find out the real cause of this disaster but to fulfill Washington’s political order.

Disproof

The report advances recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the downing of flight MH17 and the subsequent Joint International Investigation and criminal trial at the Dutch criminal tribunal. 

The purpose of the criminal investigation is to establish the facts of the case, determine the truth of what happened, identify those responsible for downing flight MH17 and gather criminal evidence for prosecution. 

The US lies about the Russian presence in Libya to gain access to oil resources

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, David Schenker, tried to justify the Turkish intervention in Libya misreporting on Russia’s role there. He expressed Washington’s concern on the “affluence of Russian military equipment, weapons and fighters of the private military company Wagner to Libya”, but he provided no confirmed source that proved the presence of the Russian military contingent in Libya. This rhetoric may be related to US interests in the oil production in the region, for which it is necessary to remove Russia’s influence in the Middle East.

Disproof

The presence of Russian fighters of the Wagner Group has been confirmed not only by the Government of National Accord based in Tripoli but also by the US, the UK, the United Nations and the independent Russian outlet Meduza. An internal source in Wagner confirmed to Reuters that the group started recruiting Syrian fighters and sending them to Libya along with Russian private military contractors in 2019, a process that accelerated in the spring of 2020. In May 26, 2020, the US Command for Africa (AFRICOM) reported the presence of Russian warplanes in Libya, confirmed by satellite images (see here and here).

By accusing the US of having an interest in Libya’s oil while denying Russia’s presence in the country, the article adheres to a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative of accusing others of transgressions to deflect attention of its own misdeeds. You can see many other examples in our database, such as claims that Russia was expelled from G8 for no real reason, that not only there is no evidence of Russian meddling in the French, European and US elections but that it were foreign powers who interfered in Russian elections, that the presence of Russian mercenaries in Libya is just a rumour and Russia was never involved in Libya, or that by claiming that there are Russian warplanes in Libya, AFRICOM is waging a psy-op on US public.