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  Address at the Conference "Europe 70 Years after Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact"

Prof. Vytautas Landsbergis, Member of the European Parliament
2009 10 14

Address at the Conference "Europe 70 Years after Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact"
European Parliament, Brussels, 14 October 2009

Mr. President, honourable guests!

Ladies and Gentlemen, friends!

This autumn we are commemorating three, at least, remarkable events of the European past, which occurred, the first one – 70 years ago and two others – 20 years ago. One unfortunate and the other two fortunates – all they were related among themselves.

Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was not a single dirty document among many similar agreements as some do insist today, but an exceptional fact of political conspiracy containing the selloff of entire nations between Germany and Russia, and the greatest crime against humanity. It opened the gates for enormous destruction and losses in the greatest World War. Opening of gates was signed by Nazis' Reich and Bolsheviks' Derzhawa (USSR) exactly 70 years ago, in holy month August.

As a consequence of that war, the nations and lands of Central Europe were further redistributed in an even more radical way and shape. Nobody has denounced that infamous Stalin-Hitler-produced Pact. It appeared rather amended and approved of in 1945 in Yalta and Potsdam. An exception from the provisions of pact was Finland, left to live longer, despite significant losses of its territory and some fundamental sovereignty rights.

The first post-war line was drawn on paper by the victors of World War II, and thus it anticipated the Wall. One might say: pre-war Molotov-Ribbentrop line in a result of its implementation was pushed westward, and that's it. The corrections reflected Hitler's losses and Stalin's gains. The new signatories should replace Mr. Ribbentrop, who became hanged after the biased trial. Molotov was neither on trial, nor hanged.

The line then put the Western part of Germany and Austria under the jurisdiction and lawfulness of Western democracies. The Eastern part was left to the revengeful arbitrarinism and total unlawfulness of the totalitarian Soviet undemocracy. The best example of that style in action was total cleansing of the Koenigsberg region from there still remaining German and Lithuanian civilians. None was left to survive, since the region was given over in Potsdam to Stalin "pending the Peace treaty".

Requiescet in pace, as the Treaty never came. Soviets unilaterally annexed the "cleaned" land.

The Nazi death camps of Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen both were turned to and incorporated into the Soviet Gulag system and served the same purpose. STASI continued receiving instructions from NKVD, in line as GESTAPO officers used to learn methods of extermination in the USSR until the war.

The forcible division of Europe caused by force majeure of the USSR and the post-war weakness of surrendering Western democracies was soon affirmed still stronger by the erection of the Berlin Wall. It should be wrongly understood as a material building only within Berlin. Really, Berlin Wall was a grim and bloody part of the European Wall as a subsequence of the first line extended North-South across Germany and Austria. Nevertheless, by concentrating attention on the divided city, it became a symbol and utmost transparency.

Let us look now at the Wall with the bright eyes of spirit and culture. On one side of it there were free nations. Beyond it were captive nations. The enormous prison of the latter extended over Central and Eastern Europe plus Northern Asia as far as Kuril Islands and contained hundreds of millions of captive people.

Individuals seeking freedom on the other side of the Wall were shot down as criminals. What was their crime? To seek for right response, we have to remind ourselves and the following generations about the two systems or civilizations that governed Europe during the Cold War.

Only one of them was shooting prisoners or over-wall refugees from the prison. In the view of criminal totalitarianism, the gravest crime was conviction and evidence that freedom is the fundamental right and God's blessing, while serfdom or national captivity is a misfortune and injustice to be fought against. Lithuania knows what that fight meant. She fought for freedom in armed resistance against the USSR during the years 1944-1954.

The build-up of two Europes – that of democracy and the Soviet one – was finalized indeed with the appearance of the Wall. Therefore, the destruction of the Wall, which came in 1989, was also a destruction of the prison and a denouncement of the political-cultural division of Europe, thus also a removal of barriers from all the roads.

Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians were calling for this on their own road – "The Baltic Way" from Vilnius to Tallinn, the world's greatest manifestation of over 2 millions. For what? – For freedom to be regained without delay. The same year we worked in Moscow at the People's Deputies Congress of the agonizing USSR to give the Pact its real valuation. We succeeded in this with the help of Russian democrats, with two great names among them, at least, to be mentioned: Andrei Sakharov and Boris Yeltsin. The Stalin-Hitler pact and the Berlin Wall crumbled together. The Pact was condemned by Congress of deputies as unlawful breach of the international commitments of the USSR, including three trampled Peace Treaties with Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and was denounced as being null and void from the very moment when the unlawful signatures were put down.

Even if Germany, disunited or unified, did not yet find time to do the same, the above mentioned adoption of that historical and honourable for Russia resolution of 1989 was a great thing.

Those were the two fortunate events of twenty years ago, what we are commemorating today as well.

Then should look fine: the Pact denounced, the Wall crumbled.

"The facts of history left for historians", etc, is a well known mental seduction exercised by bad politicians. Therefore, the picture of the problem seemingly resolved, would be entirely false.

The Berlin Wall does continue to exist. Similarly, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is not out of business. Where can you see it? – One should ask. – Look at "the Putin-Schroeder pact" on Baltic pipe signed once more beyond our backs, but first look into the particular mentality of mutant Soviet Communism turned into today’s nationalism with preferences of its representatives to subjugate the neighbouring nations and territories again and again.

They claim "post-Soviet space" as being something just and normal in Europe with alleged exceptional rights for one big foreign country there. Being big, it comes dictating, and the European listeners do listen carefully: yes, sir. Otherwise, democracies should call that allegedly existing geopolitical space of Russia's interest directly and clearly: "Molotov-Ribbentrop space", with the Baltic States inside the line until today. Supposedly, the EU would disagree to remind of Molotov, as such level of transparency about the space seems impossible. But why they speak about "post-Soviet space"?

One more nickname for the Kremlin's geopolitics after the Cold War was then quite soon invented in Moscow: "the near abroad". The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe forbade in 1996 to use that dividing classification of sovereign states labelling them into normal and special ones. Nevertheless, the Commission established by the EU to investigate the recent Russia-Georgia war did reintroduce back, in its conclusion, the false label of "near abroad".

Various efforts to influence our concepts and papers will be continued thus deliberately destroying the European identity and unity. We have to penetrate such influence of immortal Soviet mentality on the European partners, to show the true facts of the past in present, and call for a sobriety before the whole Europe is turned to become a "near abroad".

Both old and new Orwellianisms must be rejected. No "post-soviet space" in Europe, only the Molotov-Ribbentrop space blessed by Stalin, and never by Europe. No "near abroad" anymore but "free abroad", if those European countries are not subjugated anew as Belarus or Armenia are.

No textbooks praising Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and great manager Stalin, who left Russia larger as he had inherited! And our message to European partners in the Kremlin should be short and warm: "Dear Colleagues, tear down this wall from your minds, please".

Thank you!

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