Friday, August 23, 2013

74 Years Since the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

Today is the 74th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. This "nonaggression" pact was actually an alliance between the USSR and Nazi Germany from 1939-1941. Its secret protocols divided the countries in between these two states into spheres of influence. In the Soviet sphere of influence fell Finland, eastern Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Bessarabia. The Nazi sphere of influence consisted of most of western and central Poland. The alliance between the USSR and Nazi Germany led to the invasion and annexation of eastern Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Bessarabia by the USSR. The Stalin regime instituted a brutal reign of terror in these countries. On 14 June 1941, the Soviet NKVD deported over 40,000 men, women, and children from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to Siberia and northern Russia. Here is an account from an Estonian who survived the harrowing exile to Siberia. She was one of the lucky ones. Many of the deportees from the Baltic states, Bessarabia, and the areas annexed from Poland did not survive. In fact about half of them died in  a little over four years from the poor material conditions imposed upon them by the Stalin regime. The Soviet government also illegally and forcibly conscripted some 40,000 Estonian men into the Red Army of which it transferred 17,000, almost half, to forced labor detachments in Arkhangelsk Oblast. The alliance between Nazi Germany and the USSR signed 74 years ago made this brutality and many other crimes by the Soviet and Nazi regimes against the people of the Baltic states, Poland, and Bessarabia possible. As a result this day is observed as Black Ribbon Day to commemorate the victims that resulted from this pact of evil.

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