The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was timely and essential for the Soviet Union , and was a legitimate political strategy. Russian lawmakers should now revise the rash decisions of the Soviet parliament in 1989, which criticised the pact for being immoral and for violating international law.
By the late 1930s, especially after the 1938 Munich Agreement, Moscow was internationally isolated and the Axis powers were unleashing one armed conflict after another. So the pact was a brilliant step on Stalin's part - it allowed the Soviet Union to achieve many goals, and practically pre-ordained the formation of the anti-Hitler coalition after Germany attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941.
Britain and France were so eager to come to terms with Hitler at the expense of other countries, and to encourage Nazi forces to approach the Soviet borders, that it was pointless to mark time any longer. Stalin held talks with Britain and France up to summer 1939, but they produced no results. Both countries dragged out the talks in the hope of a Soviet-German war, which would allow them to guarantee their own security.
Hitler was clearly determined to start a war against Poland , which was not likely to receive help from the West. Hitler would try to extend his influence to the Baltic countries, creating a powerful bridgehead to attack the Soviet Union . He was not to be trusted, given his goals of destroying the Slavic Russian state and colonising Eastern Europe , which were covered up by his statements about the need to put an end to Bolshevism.
The Munich conspiracy also highlighted the dangerous role of Poland , which took part in the partition of Czechoslovakia and according to Polish intelligence documents would have fought alongside Germany in the event of war with the Soviet Union .
It is enough to visit museums in Minsk to see that Soviet defences were not aimed at Germany , but to guard against Poland , which was a permanent military threat to us.
What happened to Poland is tragic. The interests of its people were trampled underfoot, but that was retribution for the actions of its foolish and opportunistic government. Stalin and other Soviet leaders believed that eliminating a military threat near the Soviet border was a smart move.
The entry of Soviet troops into eastern Poland in September 1939 was aimed at pushing the frontiers back before the start of an inevitable war, and at gaining time.
Soviet troops only moved into Western Belarus and Western Ukraine, territories that Poland had seized during the war with Russia in 1921. We withdrew from the strictly Polish regions, and exchanged them for Lithuania , traditionally part of the Russian empire.
We entered the Baltic countries because we could not be sure of their governments' friendly attitude, and we knew about German plans to invade Latvia and Lithuania .
Those who claim the Soviet Union is as much to blame for the outbreak of World War II as Nazi Germany do not have a clear conscience. Initially, Nazi-occupied Europe did not offer any resistance to Germany , and its industry worked for Hitler's army. Germany attacked us not only with its 152 divisions but also with 29 Romanian and Finnish ones.
The Soviet Union was the only force that could rout Nazism. The lightning defeat of France and British forces in 1940 bore this out. If it had not been for the Eastern Front, where we destroyed hundreds of Nazi divisions at the cost of huge losses, no US or British army would have dared enter Europe . They would have been smashed by the Germans in weeks.
Winston Churchill was right to call the British and French policy of urging Hitler to attack the Soviet Union a diplomatic blunder. He agreed that Stalin simply had no other choice.
Those who say we should condemn the pact should apologise to our war veterans and our country for their political stunts or simple stupidity. We have nothing to apologise for. The defeat of Nazi Germany created a situation where not one cannon was fired without Russia 's consent, as they said after the Napoleonic War.
So we shouldn't get defensive when the pact is discussed. Politicians should act in the interests of their state and their people - otherwise they would be committing a crime.
Yuly Kvitinsky is the First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma International Relations Committee. A full version of his comments can be viewed on RIA Novosti's web site: www.en.rian. ru