David Low named his political cartoon describing the German-Russian invasion of Poland that started the WW2 - "Rendezvous." The cartoon depicts a meeting by the two allied Nazi-Soviet dictators over the corpse of a Polish defender. Hitler says to Stalin while smiling, lifting his hat and bowing: "The Scum of the Earth, I believe?" and Stalin responds to him "The Bloody Assassin of the Workers, I presume?" while smiling, bowing and lifting his in kind. The secret agreement on the division of Poland that was part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was not yet known, but nonetheless, Low recognized what happened and drew it in this work. (Image: The Evening Standard (UK), September 20, 1939 issue)
For Moscow, the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols which divided Eastern Europe between Hitler and Stalin remains far more important than many believe because it was the first time a major power recognized that the USSR had “legitimate” interests beyond that country’s borders.
Thus, that accord between the two totalitarian powers represents for Moscow far more than just an assertion of its control over the Baltic countries, Moldova and the western portions of Ukraine and Belarus. It serves as a surety of what Moscow leaders think is their right to intervene and control other places as well.
That conclusion follows from a comment by former Soviet spymaster Pavel Sudoplatov in his 1994 book, Special Tasks, that has been picked out by a Moscow blogger now to explain the course of Russian history in the 20th century and by implication even in the 21st.
Citing Sudoplatov’s book, the Moscow blogger, with the screen name of VBA, writes the following:
“The Molotov-Ribbentrop accord was extremely highly valued by the Soviet leadership because this was the first treaty with the participation of the USSR where one of the leading world powers (Germany) officially recognized the Soviets having a right to its own interests beyond its own borders. Nothing similar had occurred in the entire history of the USSR.”
With the revival of Stalinism in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, such recognition is if anything even more important; and consequently, it is extremely unlikely that any Putin government will ever disavow the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as Mikhail Gorbachev did in 1989 as much as that might help its image in the West.
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