This week is the 80th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact – a non-aggression agreement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Labelled as the honeymoon for two dictators, it divided Europe into Soviet and Nazi spheres of influence, leading to World War II and all its tragic consequences.
The day of the signing of the pact – the 23rd of August – is observed as a day of remembrance for victims of Stalinism and Nazism in ten EU countries, the US, Canada, and Georgia. But 80 years on, the pro-Kremlin media is still adamant that the USSR was reluctant to sign the pact and had no other choice; that the pact did not trigger World War II, the USSR cannot be blamed for it, that Poland wanted to attack the USSR and that all of it was Hitler’s idea anyway.
Instead of reflecting on a complex and difficult history and Russia’s role in it, the pro-Kremlin media continues to attack those who do not blindly follow the myth of Soviet heroism.
When earlier this summer Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania summoned representatives from their Russian embassies to protest the display of fireworks celebrating the Red Army’s capture of the Baltic States’ capitals, the pro-Kremlin media fired up the disinformation machine to accuse the Baltic States of perpetuating the “myth of Soviet occupation” and refusing to celebrate victory over Fascism. And even after the fireworks faded away, the pro-Kremlin media kept hammering the notion of ungrateful and belligerent Baltic States: most recently, by blaming Latvia for psychiatric Russophobia, historical revisionism, and attempts to disrupt Russia’s relations with Belarus.