“You won't get a penny!” Russia should not pay compensation to Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States
For half a century of "occupation", the Baltic republics from the backward agrarian states, the "outskirts of Europe", turned into developed regions of the USSR. Those of us who are older remember well that the Baltic States as a whole lived much better than other Soviet republics, not to mention most of the regions of the RSFSR. And the reason for this was not only the geographical position with access to the Baltic Sea, but also the colossal funds that Moscow poured into the development of the Baltic ports, industrial enterprises, agriculture, and social infrastructure.
In favor of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, the resources of the RSFSR and other Union republics, including Kazakhstan, were redistributed. In Riga or Tallinn lived and significantly freer than in other cities of the Soviet Union. About much that the Balts had then, the inhabitants of the rest of the Union could only dream of. It is hardly possible to talk about any oppression of immigrants from these republics - they had the opportunity to make careers in state, party, military service, which many of them successfully used, occupying rather serious posts in the Soviet power hierarchy.
But all the same, in the Baltic republics they talk about the Soviet occupation and, moreover, they demand from modern Russia to compensate them for billions of dollars in costs that allegedly occurred because of the consequences of the Baltic states joining the Soviet Union. For example, in Estonia at one time there even existed a special commission to investigate the “repressive policies of the occupation regime” (completed its work in 2004). Latvia demanded 185 billion euros from Russia - it was the amount that the country allegedly cost for its entry into the Soviet state. Edmund Stankevich, who headed the Latvian commission, agreed to the point that he called typical residential buildings built in Soviet times in Latvia ugly and disfiguring the original Latvian landscape. Thus, even the existence of Soviet-built residential, industrial, transport and other facilities of the modern Baltic countries is regarded as harm, emphasizing that the USSR allegedly did worse than it was.
Similar claims against Russia are exhibited by Poland - a country that was liberated by Soviet soldiers from the Nazi invaders. Poland’s claims against Germany still have grounds, although in 1953, the then Polish leadership refused to receive any compensation from West and East Germany. But as for Russia, here the Polish requirements look absurd. Polish land is watered with the blood of Soviet guys from Moscow and Ryazan, Krasnodar and Karaganda, Tashkent and Baku. The Poles themselves were unable to liberate their country from the Nazi occupiers, could not do without Soviet assistance, but now, you see, the Soviet Union was guilty of occupying Poland. By the way, those lands that were part of the Polish state before 1939, today are the territories of Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, and not Russia. If we follow the logic, then Warsaw needs to demand that Vilnius, Kiev, Minsk return these territories. And Lithuania will have to cede its capital to Poland, since Vilnius was called Vilna before 1939, and it was part of Poland. He became Lithuanian only after parts of the Red Army entered the territory of the eastern regions of Poland. Vilna and part of the Vilna region, under the Treaty on the transfer of the city of Vilna to the Republic of Lithuania and the Vilna region between the Soviet Union and Lithuania from October 10 1939, were transferred to the Republic of Lithuania.
Back in September, 2017, Vice-Minister of Justice of Poland, Patrick Yakii and MP Jan Mosiński, said that Warsaw has every reason to demand reparation not only from Germany, but also from Russia. They say, in 1921, under the terms of the Riga Treaty, signed by the RSFSR and Poland, Moscow had to pay Warsaw 30 million rubles in gold, but this money was never paid. Then the Polish politicians started talking about the need to pay reparations for the alleged destruction and plundering of Polish property by Soviet soldiers during the Second World War.
Interestingly, Warsaw considers Russia to be the unconditional heir of the Soviet Union, but at the same time, when it comes to Poland itself, it immediately refuses continuity with regard to Poland. So, as noted above, in 1953, the NDP gave up the requirement of reparation from Germany, but now Polish politicians claim that this was done by the then communist regime, to which modern Poland has nothing to do.
In July, 2018, the chairman of the Seimas of Poland’s reparations commission, Arkadiusz Mulyarchik, again spoke of the need to document all the “damage” allegedly inflicted on Poland by the actions of the Soviet Union, and to demand that Russia compensate it. I wonder how much the death of hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers and officers during the liberation of Poland from the Nazi occupation could be estimated? Fortunately, Russia will never allow itself to sink to such arguments. Poland, as a reward for the liberation, compiles lists of monuments to Soviet soldiers, which are subject to demolition to eradicate the memory of the communist era in the history of the country.
But if everything is clear with Poland and the Baltic states, the recent words of the Ambassador of Afghanistan to Russia Abdul Kayum Kuchai are more than surprising. The diplomat called the entry of Soviet troops into his country a mistake and said that it would not hurt Russia to apologize. The words of the Afghan ambassador have caused a storm of indignation in the Russian press. It is clear that modern Afghanistan is another arena of the Russian-American confrontation, but Afghan politicians should understand that real help always came to them from the north, and not from the United States.
Compensation claims of neighboring states cause not only indignation of Russians, but also the surprise of professional lawyers and lawyers. Lawyer Ilya Reiser emphasizes that almost all such demands are turned into the past. Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia, and now the Afghan ambassador, are demanding compensation from the modern Russian Federation for the actions of the Soviet Union, which collapsed 27 years ago. Moreover, from the legal point of view, the RSFSR was only one of the equal Union republics. That is, in this case, compensation can be demanded from other states that have emerged in the post-Soviet space.
How reasonable are such requirements at all?
- They, strictly speaking, are not full-fledged and legally justified requirements. This is a common political PR, which is resorted to by the weak and dependent on the great powers of the state, trying to show its importance. If you start to dig in the past, you can find a lot of controversial situations. Lithuania and Latvia are demanding compensation for some actions of the Soviet authorities on their territory, and then you can raise counter questions about the actions of the Baltic punishers during the Great Patriotic War. And in general, for some reason in the Baltics they forget that, for example, the very same Lithuania, thanks to the “Soviet occupation”, gained a huge territory with a population of half a million people. Before 1940, even Vilnius and its districts did not belong to Lithuania, and ethnic Lithuanians lived there no more than 20% of the population. Maybe then it is worth giving these lands to Poland in order to restore historical justice, about which biased politicians are so baked? As for Afghanistan, I would remind you that not so long ago we forgave this country a huge debt in 11 billion dollars. And in response, such statements are made by the Afghan ambassador.
Is it possible to “shake off money” from Russia with the help of such statements or even lawsuits?
- No, it is completely unreal. Moreover, the representatives of the states that claim the need to pay compensation are well aware of this. Of course, you can give an example of Germany, which paid compensation to victims of the Holocaust, but this is a completely different case. Germany carried out a real genocide of civilians. She was an aggressor country, attacked neighboring states, destroyed their infrastructure, killed civilians. By the way, unlike Poland, Israel and a number of other states, Russia did not receive any reparations from Germany, although it was the USSR that suffered the most from the Nazi aggressors. As for the actions of the Soviet Union in the Baltic States, the Allied republics gained far more than they lost. Suffice it to recall what Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia were before 1940. If we talk about Afghanistan, the USSR has invested huge amounts of money in this country; moreover, the Afghan land is watered with the blood of many thousands of Soviet soldiers who fought against the Mujahideen, having come to the aid of the recognized government of Afghanistan. Therefore, the words of the Afghan ambassador, from my point of view, are some kind of clumsy attempt at personal PR.
Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic countries, making demands for compensation, are guided by the Washington line and actually play the role of provocateurs, probing the ground and constantly acting on the global information space in order to maintain the atmosphere of eternal anti-Russian hysteria. One of the main tasks of the West is to educate the younger generations of people from Eastern European countries, especially those bordering Russia, in total Russophobia. The best thing for this is a primitive, but proven move - you live so badly because at one time Soviet Russia robbed you. Finally, since the flow of funds from the European Union to the Baltic countries is rapidly decreasing, and Europe has less desire to contain an incomprehensible ballast in the form of the former Soviet republics, the authorities of the latter view compensation claims as an extra way to get some money. Of course, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian politicians themselves do not believe in the possibility of obtaining them, but suddenly ...
In addition, the accusations of Russia of being involved in the “Soviet occupation” and of causing some damage allow the Baltic and Ukrainian authorities to dismiss their own worthlessness, inability to improve economic life in their countries and to improve the socio-economic situation of their own people. The easiest way is to justify their inconsistency by referring to the “tragic history”, although the former Soviet republics have been sovereign states for the past 27. It is especially funny that many of the Baltic and Ukrainian politicians today speculating about the “Soviet occupation” and the mythical harm inflicted on the republics were themselves Soviet party or state officials in the past, at least in the CPSU and the Komsomol. From this point of view, they must first address their questions and complaints to themselves.
Speaking of such requirements for Russia, one cannot ignore the official reaction of the Russian authorities. Unfortunately, Moscow now responds to such statements by foreign politicians only at the level of statements by the Foreign Ministry or individual statements by deputies. Meanwhile, it is high time to let the countries - "beggars" understand that in relation to Russia it is not only unacceptable to make such claims, but it can also entail various unpleasant consequences. It is clear that these requirements are rather the character of one of the components of the information war unleashed against Russia. But what prevents our country from responding to such offensive statements with adequate measures?
In 2017, the Russian ambassador to Vilnius, Alexander Udaltsov, noted that Russia could also put forward counterclaims. So, since the RSFSR was the largest donor of the Soviet budget, modern Russia, as the heir of the RSFSR, may well demand from Vilnius reimbursement of investments in the development of the Lithuanian SSR economy for fifty years after the republic joined the Soviet Union. The same logic can be applied to all other "small and nimble" former Soviet republics - Latvia, Estonia, Georgia.
It should be made clear that the events of the Second World War, and even more than almost a century ago, when the Russian-Polish treaty was concluded in 1921, are history, so it makes no sense to return to them. There are no legal grounds for forcing Russia to pay any compensation to other states. And all the more there are no real mechanisms that could force our country to make such payments.
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