Paul Goble: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact Justified by Russian National Interests, Sergey Ivanov Says

Staunton, July 5 – Sergey Ivanov, the former Russian defense minister who is still a member of the Russian Security Council, told the Russian Historical Society yesterday the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was not “the collusion of two dictators” but rather an action fully justified by the national interests of the USSR, interests which the Russian Federation shares. Ivanov said that he didn’t want anyone to take his words as being the expression of “the opinion of the highest organs of power” but added that he thinks that their position on this issue is “approximately the same” as his own ( As US-based Russian historian Irina Pavlova notes, that is important both in terms of the immediate context in which Ivanov’s remarks were made and as an indication of Kremlin thinking about the continuity, even identity of interests between the Soviet Union of Stalin’s time and the

Russia of Vladimir Putin’s ( Ivanov’s remarks come as the Duma is set to take up a resolution disowning the findings of the Second Congress of Peoples’ Deputies 30 years ago that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols were “legally baseless and without effect from the moment of their signing,” Pavlova says. Indeed, she continues, the former defense minister said this week that “theoretically if there is political will now, this decision should be reviewed and rejected … But whether it is necessary to do this, I am not certain. Al the harm which the earlier finding could have has already been inflicted. But another aspect of Ivanov’s remarks is far more indicative and serious, Pavlova continues. According to him, the August 23, 1939 pact was “justified and completely corresponded to ‘our national interests.’” “The key word here is ‘our,’” Pavlova says. “That is, Ivanov not only does not divide present day Russia from the Stalinist USSR but asserts that it is its successor: ‘Then the Soviet Union actively promoted the idea of collective security. Now, Russia is pushing the very same idea.” At the same time, however, Ivanov insists that one can’t speak openly about these parallels because if one does, others will exploit that to demand that Russia be held responsible for what the USSR did, including in the case of some countries insisting on material reparations for the damage it inflicted. Some Moscow commentators, like Valery Solovey, say that all the talk about Stalin is about the past (, but “in reality,” Pavlova says, “there is nothing more immediate than the recognition that in contemporary Russia we are dealing with modernized Stalinism, nothing more important or more dangerous.” source: window on eurasia

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