Baltics, Poland to join forces against Russia's attempts to rewrite history

  • 2020-06-15
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - The foreign ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland vowed to join forces to counter Russia's attempts to rewrite the history of the start of World War Two as they met in Vilnius on Monday.   

"We will eternally commemorate the victims of the totalitarian systems and the false version of near history will not pass through, and this is a clear message," Estonia's top diplomat, Urmas Reinsalu, told a news conference after the meeting. 

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics noted that as the Baltic nations are marking the anniversary of deportations and Soviet occupation, Russia's attempts to link history to present-day political games are "totally unacceptable".

"The Ribbentrop-Molotov pact (led to) the Soviet occupation (of the Baltic nations) and aggression on Poland," he said. 

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said, "We have to remember the anniversary of deportation ... (and) to pay tribute to the victims."

"Thanks to them, we are free today," he added. 

The four ministers laid flowers at a monument to the victims of Soviet occupation and were to take part in a video conference of EU foreign minister later on Monday. 

"We coordinate our actions both in the field of propaganda and in the fight against fake news; this is what our experts do every day," Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told the news conference. 

"Symbols are important in politics, especially if they are filled with content," he said. "Today we are having a meeting of will have (a remove meeting of) the EU's Foreign Affairs Council. The four of us will take part in it from Vilnius via video link."

"We have agreed to take a common position when we talk about Euro-Atlantic relations, which is also strong news," Linkevicius said. 

Signed in August 1939, the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and secret protocols divided Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.

The Baltic nations and Poland were occupied during the war that began shortly after the signing of the pact.

An initiative to renounce the condemnation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact three decades ago has been registered in the Russian parliament, a move described by Linkevicius as "an attempt to falsify history". 

The Baltic countries are marking the start of mass deportations by the Soviets in June 1941. 

About 23,000 people in Lithuania were deported killed and imprisoned by the Soviets during the first period of occupation. A total of 130,000 people were deported from Lithuania and another 156,000 Lithuanians were imprisoned by 1953, according to the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania.