Today’s “Victory Day” parade in Moscow is an exercise in hypocrisy—because it ignores the fact that the Soviet Union was allied to the Nazis for nearly two years of World War II—and invaded five neighboring states itself before the war with Germany broke out.
The Russian “celebrations” ignore the fact that the Soviet Union helped Nazi Germany with the invasion of Poland in 1939, invaded Finland in November 1939, and invaded Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in June 1940.
The Soviet invasion of Poland started without a formal declaration of war on September 17, 1939. The invasion took place in line with a treaty between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, signed by Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop on August 23, 1939.
The agreement—known as the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, contained a public and a secret clause.
The public clause was a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union—but the secret clause, never made public until 1946, contained an agreement to divide the territories of Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland into German and Soviet “spheres of influence,” anticipating potential “territorial and political rearrangements” of these countries.
Stalin and Ribbentrop after the signing of the Soviet–Nazi German pact. August 23, 1939.
The last page of the Additional Secret Protocol, bearing Ribbentrop’s and Molotov’s signature, dealing with the division of Poland and other Eastern European nations between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
It was on this basis that the Soviet Union invaded Poland on September 17, 1939—sixteen days after the Nazi invasion—and ended up occupying the eastern part of the Polish state.
The Western Allies—so quick to declare war on Nazi Germany for invading Poland—simply ignored the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland.
Soviet and German soldiers in Lublin, Poland, 1939.
German and Soviet soldiers meet in jointly occupied Brest.
German and Soviet officers shaking hands following the invasion of Poland by the Soviet Union.
Soviet parade in Lviv, 1939.
At the joint victory parade held by the Wehrmacht and Red Army in Brest, September 22, 1939, at the end of the invasion of Poland.At the center Major General Heinz Guderian and Soviet Brigadier Semyon Krivoshein.
Video below: Wehrmacht and Red army parade, Brest, Poland, September 22, 1939:
The only memorable public comment on the double invasion of Poland was a cartoon by David Low which appeared in a British newspaper, showing Hitler and Stalin greeting each other over the corpse of Poland.
The German copy of the secret clause was discovered after the war, and first published in the United States by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on May 22, 1946, and in Britain by the Manchester Guardian.
It was also part of an official US State Department publication, Nazi–Soviet Relations 1939–1941, published in January 1948.
Despite this, it remained the official policy of the Soviet Union to deny the existence of the secret clause. It was only acknowledged as a fact in 1989, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and was finally published in its Russian format in 1992.
As late as 2014, Russian president Vladimir Putin defended the Soviet-Nazi pact, saying that there was “nothing wrong with it.”
Putin even went on to question the existence of the secret clause, saying that “people still argue about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.”
The invasion of Poland was only the first Soviet military aggression of World War II.
In September and October 1939, the Soviet Union compelled the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to agree to “mutual assistance pacts” which allowed for the establishment of Soviet military bases in those countries.
On June 15, 1940, while the Western Allies were distracted by the German offensive against France, the Soviet Union militarily occupied Lithuania.
The next day, Latvia and Estonia also received Soviet ultimatums, which were quickly followed by military occupation.
Lithuania was formally incorporated into the Soviet Union on August 3, Latvia on August 5, and Estonia on August 6. The deposed presidents of Estonia (Konstantin Päts) and Latvia (Karlis Ulmanis) were imprisoned and deported to the USSR and died later in Soviet gulags.
While all this was going on, the Soviet Union also invaded the neutral nation of Finland on November 30, 1939.
This time, there was at least some half-hearted international reaction: the League of Nations passed a resolution condemning the invasion as illegal, and the Soviet Union was expelled from the League on December 14, 1939.
Red Army soldiers display a captured Finnish state flag, 1940.
Initially, the invasion went poorly, and the Finnish army held the Soviet offensive at the border. However, a renewed attack forced the Finns to capitulate in March 1940.
In terms of that treaty, Finland ceded 11 percent of its surface area—and 30 percent of its economy—to the Soviet Union.
Soviet Tupolev SB bombers above Helsinki November 30, 1939.
It was during the Soviet invasion of Finland that the term “Molotov cocktail” was coined. The improvised gasoline “bomb,” usually just a glass bottle, was given its name as an insulting reference to Soviet foreign minister Molotov, who was responsible for the setting of “spheres of interest” in Eastern Europe under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
Molotov had earlier declared on Soviet state radio that Soviet air force’s bombing missions over Finland were actually “airborne humanitarian food deliveries for their starving neighbors.”
As a result, the Finns dubbed the Soviet bombs as “Molotov bread baskets”—and when the hand-held bottle firebomb was developed to attack Soviet tanks, the Finns called it the “Molotov cocktail” as “a drink to go with the food.”
The Nazi-Soviet pact lasted until June 22, 1941, when Hitler launched the invasion of the Soviet Union. That invasion, as is well known, ended in catastrophe for Germany.
Nonetheless, the fact that the Soviet Union was an official ally—and an aggressive invader of five neutral neighbors during the first stage of the Second World War, makes the Russian “Victory Day” parades hollow and hypocritical.
If Russia—or the West, for that matter—were sincere in celebrating the end of the tragic conflict known as the Second World War, they would give equal prominence to the Soviet Union’s role in fermenting that conflict.
But, because the controlled media and the establishment have made an art out of double standards and hypocrisy, the focus remains solely on Germany—and ignores the crimes of communism.