Russian ambassador to Laos Mikhail Baranov: ‘We should prevent attempts to rewrite history of the Second World War"
On September 1st the world marked the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War – the most devastating war and most horrible military catastrophe in human history which changed the destiny of the majority of nations in the world. Nazis’ troops committed unseen crimes against peaceful population of the occupied territories, killing and torturing millions of people due to their belonging to certain national, political and religious groups.
The victory over the Nazis’ forces was achieved by joint efforts of many nations, especially the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the Unites States of America, and China. By the end of the war more than 53 countries had fought against Nazis. The price of that victory was enormous. I would like to emphasize that our country suffered human losses of 26.6 million people, including 8.6 million of military personnel and 19 million of civilian noncombatants. This number exceeds by several times our Western allies’ casualties in that war.
Due to the brave feat of the Soviet Union and Allies’ soldiers the world witnessed democratic transformation, especially the national liberation movement in colonial countries. The late President of the Lao PDR H.E. Mr. Kaysone Phomvihane said ‘The immortal exploit of Soviet soldiers and all the Soviet people during the Great Patriotic War played a decisive role in defining human destinies within the Second World War. They not only saved the humanity from the fascist slavery and the militarist hegemony. They created favorable conditions for the rise of people’s democratic regimes in other countries. By the end of the war such Asian states as Vietnam and Indonesia had proclaimed their independence. Laos joined the list of independent countries in 1945 as well.
Our victory in the Second World War still has a huge significance on the world. The so-called Yalta-Potsdam System established by the Allies succeeded in preventing large-scale wars in the world for more than half a century. Another crucial result of our victory is the establishment of the United Nations aimed to foster international cooperation and prevent conflicts.
Regrettably, nowadays some foreign political forces are trying to discredit Russia by dishonest methods of information war aimed at rewriting history and making the world forget the role of the Soviet people in the Second World War. Recently we have witnessed fake publications about the alleged ‘fault of the Soviet Union in starting the war’ by signing the Non-Aggression Pact with Germany which is an inadmissible allegation.
In reality there was a long chain of events in Europe that led to the war. Especially the first step towards creating the Nazi regime in Germany was the Versailles Treaty putting end to the First World War on the one hand, but on the other – provoking the emergence of Fascism in Germany. The harsh restrictions on Berlin caused the rise of national disappointment that was one of the factors for popularity of Fascism and the Nazi party among the German population.
However, the trigger for beginning of the Second World War was signing of the so-called Munich Agreement by Nazi Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy in September 1938 which provided cession of the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia to Germany. Later in 1939 Germany occupied all the territory of this country and created the puppet state in Slovakia. Any attempts of the Soviet Union to provide military assistance to Czechoslovakia were turned down by its Western ‘allies’.
The Munich Agreement is a very important evidence of the European powers’ collusion with Hitler which led Germany to embark on military advance towards the USSR. At that moment for our country it was crucial to assure its national interests and prevent Hitler’s aggression from extending to the East. Our authorities realized that the Hitler’s next victims would be Poland and the Baltic countries, then the Soviet Union. The USSR endeavored to avoid the war as long as it was possible. Our diplomats tried their best to create a coalition against Germany, but these efforts were not supported by London and Paris. Consequently, the USSR had no choice but to conclude the Non-Aggression Pact with Germany in August 1939 aimed to win more time to prepare for a possible conflict with Germany.
Historical lessons offer an opportunity to understand ways to avoid tragic mistakes that lead to the war catastrophes. Regrettably, these days they are often ignored. Due to the attempts of Western countries to discredit the USSR’s role in the Second World War the world takes the risk of forgetting the great importance of the victory over Fascism and Nazism for human destinies and its colossal price that only in my country exceeded dozens of millions of human lives.
It is crucial for the humanity to remember its history and preserve the memory of millions who died in the joint struggle. Every person should make contribution to this cause – first of all by teaching the Second World War’s lessons to their children and prevent attempts to distort facts for the sake of momentous political gains.