In the Western media, the thesis about the Soviet Union’s aggression against the Baltic states and Moldova and their subsequent occupation continues to “walk”. However, historically reliable facts and documents refute such a mythical assessment of the 1940 events of the year and indicate that there was no aggression and occupation, and the Baltic states entered the USSR in strict accordance with international law, based on decisions of the highest legislative bodies of these countries that received elections the widest support of voters.
It is not easy to write about the events in the Baltic States and Moldova in 1940, as their assessments are ambiguous. There is much to compare, weigh, much to look through the prism of the past years, both before and after 1940. It seems that a comprehensive impartial analysis of the processes of those difficult years is possible only with maximum support on historical facts and documents.
Based on the foregoing, it should be noted that the events of the year 1940 in the Baltic States were preceded by a difficult situation in Europe in the year 1939. Encouraged by indecision and the two-faced policy of the Western powers, Hitler’s Germany seized Czechoslovakia, Austria, and prepared for new seizures of foreign territories. Hitler had already shouted "about living space" in the east, and he could only be stopped by concerted and energetic joint actions.
In this situation, the Soviet government, as you know, suggested that Britain and France conclude a tripartite pact to prevent the new aggressive aspirations of fascist Germany. But the negotiations were failed due to the fault of the Western powers, whose leaders were quite satisfied with the focus of the policy of Nazi Germany to the east. As Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov notes in his memoirs, "it was obvious that the whole complexity, inconsistency and tragedy of the situation was caused by the desire of the ruling circles of England and France to push their heads together Germany and the USSR."
In the middle of 1939, a critical moment came - the Nazis began to openly threaten Poland. It became obvious that the danger of war in Europe was growing, that fascist Germany was our most likely adversary, that for the security of the USSR an immediate turnaround in our foreign policy was needed. As a result, August 23 1939 in Moscow between Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact, the so-called "Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact."
After the Nazi invasion of Poland, the Soviet government took new measures to strengthen our western borders, because, according to contemporaries, I.V. Stalin did not particularly believe in the strength of the agreement with Germany and generally did not trust Hitler much. On September 17, the Soviet Union sent troops into Poland and took the original Russian territories - the western part of Belarus - under the protection of the USSR. In September 1939, negotiations began between the USSR and the then governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on the possibility of deploying our troops on their territory and fleet. The negotiations were successful.
September 28 between Estonia and the USSR signed the Mutual Assistance Pact, which provides for the establishment of Soviet military bases on the territory of Estonia and the deployment of a Soviet military contingent of up to 25 thousand people. October 5 The 1939 Agreement was signed between the USSR and Latvia "On Mutual Assistance" for a period of 10 years, providing for the introduction into Latvia of the 25-ti thousandth contingent of Soviet troops. October 10 Mutual Assistance Agreement for 15 years was signed with Lithuania. The agreement provided for the introduction into Lithuania of a 20 of a thousandth contingent of Soviet troops. We note that all negotiations and the conclusion of treaties were carried out within the framework of international law, without any political pressure, which is being talked about in the West and in the ruling circles of the Baltic countries today.
In October-November 1939, the agreed number of Soviet troops was deployed in the Baltic republics. But it was not aggression or occupation, as it is interpreted today in the West and in the Baltic countries, since everything happened in accordance with the aforementioned treaties and was motivated both for the defense of the Baltic republics and for the security of the Soviet Union. As Winston Churchill noted then, "this was absolutely necessary for Russia's security against the Nazi threat."
It is noteworthy that the entry of Soviet troops in the Baltic warmly welcomed the local population. For example, 5 November 1939 of the year in the Riga newspaper "Gazeta v vseg" in the note "Soviet troops went to their bases" reported: "On the basis of a friendly agreement concluded between Latvia and the USSR on mutual assistance, the first echelons of Soviet troops proceeded on October 29 1939 of the year through the border station Zilupe. A guard of honor with a military orchestra was lined up to meet the Soviet troops. " A little later, in the same newspaper 26, November 1939, the article “Freedom and Independence” published the speech of President Karlis Ulmanis, in which he stated: “The recently concluded agreement on mutual assistance with the Soviet Union strengthens the security of our and Soviet borders.”
However, further events showed that the governments of the Baltic republics were pursuing an anti-Soviet policy, did not observe the signed treaties with the USSR, and headed for collusion with Germany, waiting only for a convenient moment for a direct strike on the Soviet garrisons. What was left for our leadership to do? Expect this blow? The question, of course, is rhetorical. Given this circumstance, the Soviet government 14 on June 1940 of the year presented an ultimatum to Lithuania, and 16 of June to Latvia and Estonia demanding to form governments capable of ensuring the implementation of the agreements concluded, as well as to allow additional contingents of Soviet troops in the republics.
The conditions were accepted, and in all three republics were formed friendly to the Soviet Union, but we note - not communist - governments led by J. Paleckis (Lithuania), I. Vares (Estonia) and A. Kihenstein (Latvia). The 15-17 of June in the republic were also introduced additional Soviet troops.
New governments lifted bans on the activities of the communist parties and called early parliamentary elections. In the elections held on July 14 1940 of the year in all three countries, the blocs (unions) of the working people won. According to official data, the turnout in Estonia was 84,1%, while the Union of working people was given 92,8% of votes, in Lithuania the turnout was 95,51% of which 99,19% voted for the Union of working people, in Latvia the turnout was 94,5%, for Bloc labor people were given 97,8% votes.
The newly elected parliaments already on July 21-22 proclaimed the creation of the Estonian SSR, the Latvian SSR and the Lithuanian SSR and adopted the Declaration of entry into the USSR. 3-6 August 1940 of the year in accordance with the decisions of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, these republics were accepted into the Soviet Union. Such is the chronicle of the entry of the Baltic republics into the Soviet Union. Everything happened in accordance with the constitutions in force in the republics. And where is the "aggression", where is the "occupation" followed by violent annexation?
Let's look at the classical definition of the concept of "occupation". In its fullest form, this definition sounds like "temporary stay of significant military formations on the territory of a foreign state in conditions of a state of war between this state and the state belonging to such formations, at which the effective exercise of power by the government of the state to which the occupied territory stops, and administrative power is exercised within the limits defined by international law, the highest command instances of military formations. " None of the parameters from this definition is suitable for the 1940 events of the year in the Baltics.
In the West, it is said that by introducing troops into the Baltic countries, the Soviet Union eliminated democratic regimes of power there. Frank lies, since dictatorial regimes led by Smeton (Lithuania), Patson (Estonia), Ulmanis (Latvia) have ruled here for a long time.
Indeed, as noted above, 14-16 of June 1939 of the USSR presented an ultimatum to the aforementioned dictators, demanding a change of government to more loyal to the Soviet Union. Such governments were formed. But, we should note that there was no Communists in them and all this was carried out in view of the requirements of the existing constitutions, which no one had canceled. The decrees on new governments and the appointment of elections were signed by the Prime Minister of Lithuania (President Smetona fled to the USA by that time), the presidents of Latvia and Estonia.
Thus, the change of executive power was carried out in compliance with all the procedures required by the laws of independent Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. And from a formal legal point of view, all acts that preceded the entry of these republics into the USSR were flawless.
The legitimacy of the accession of the Baltic republics to the USSR was given by the elections to the parliaments of these republics held on July 14 of the year 1940. The fact that only one list of candidates from the "Union of Working People" was registered in the elections (in Estonia - the "Block of Working People") was also completely in line with the legislation of these republics during their independence, which did not provide for alternative elections. That is, there is no reason to believe that the 1940 summer of the year meant for the Baltic states a change of democracy to totalitarianism. Rather the opposite.
By and large, it can be argued that in the summer of 1940, in the Baltics, the threat of the destruction of the statehood of the three Baltic republics was averted. What would happen to her if the Baltic came under the control of the German Reich was demonstrated in 1941-1945. In the plans of the Nazis, the Balts were subject to partial assimilation by the Germans, partial eviction to the lands cleared of Russians. But, at the same time, there was no question of any Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian statehood.
In the conditions of the Soviet Union, the Balts not only retained their identity, their languages as official, but also developed and enriched their national culture, and significantly strengthened the socio-economic potential of the republics. For example, the USSR began to invest in the Baltic States even before the end of World War II, immediately after the Nazi troops were expelled from these territories. And already in 1947, the industry of the Baltic Union republics surpassed the pre-war level, while the rest of the Soviet Union, after the Nazi occupation, was still in ruins.
In the Soviet period, not only new plants and factories were built in the Baltic States, but also the best roads in the USSR, well-equipped seaports, hundreds of bridges, dozens of power plants, including the Ignalina nuclear power plant, and other energy facilities, many basic infrastructure facilities (schools and institutions, hospitals and theaters, etc.). In the first five post-war years alone, the number of resorts and sanatoriums on the Riga beach has increased by a factor of 16. In the 1970-1980-s, the Baltic republics were the leaders in the USSR in terms of investment in fixed capital per capita. In 1990, in terms of GDP per capita, Lithuania ranked 39-th in the world, Latvia-40-th, Estonia-46-th. In the USSR, the Baltic States became an organic part of the Union with the extension of all Soviet laws and regulations to it, Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians became full-fledged Soviet citizens (unlike, say, the position of the Russian-speaking population in Latvia today).
An indisputable fact, as noted above, is that the supreme authorities of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which proclaimed the establishment of Soviet power and applied for membership in the USSR, were elected by popular vote. However, there is a lot of speculation about this. At the same time, it is obvious that it is now difficult to say to what extent the results of these elections reflected the mood of the population and to what extent the data on the results of the elections were flawless. This can only be assumed. There is a lot of talk about political pressure on voters, fraud and other violations in these elections. However, no one has yet found legally substantiated evidence of violations of the 1940 election procedure of the year. This is also a fact.
Even now, in countries with centuries of parliamentary experience, there are frauds in the vote count, other irregularities occur constantly. So it makes no sense today to talk about impeccable cleanliness in the organization of elections in the atmosphere of those years.
Some historians and researchers associated the policy of the Soviet Union on the "Sovietization" of the Baltic States and the accession of the Baltic states to the USSR with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. However, no one was able to find evidence of this fact in archival documents. Moreover, there are documents testifying to the prohibition by Moscow of plenipotentiaries in the Baltic not only to use the word Sovietization, but also to communicate with the left forces in general.
For example, the fact of a confidential conversation of I.V. Stalin with the General Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Comintern G. Dimitrov is known, to which I.Stalin said that "the Soviet Union must strictly observe them (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) internal regime and independence. We don’t we will seek their Sovietization. " (See "USSR and Lithuania during the Great Patriotic War, Vilnius, 2006, t.1, p. 305). In October 1939, V.Molotov telegraphed the plenipotentiary and military attache in Lithuania:" I strictly forbid to intervene in inter-party affairs in Lithuania , support any opposition movements, etc. "(See E.Yu. Zubkova," Baltic States and the Kremlin ", p. 60-61).
The Soviet troops in the Baltic states were given the strictest instructions regarding behavior in relation to the local population and authorities. This suggests that the factor of the military presence of the USSR was not decisive in the political processes in the Baltic States, and, therefore, the process of the Baltic republics joining the USSR was not annexation and military seizure.
On the international aspect of the problem. The entry of the Baltic republics into the USSR at one time was de jure recognized by Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, India, Iran, New Zealand, Finland, and de facto, the United Kingdom and several other countries. How to regard it now? They were also subjected to political or military pressure from the Soviet Union?
It is well known that a special opinion on this issue was and remains with the United States. Then they did not recognize the entry of the Baltic republics into the USSR. 16 September 2008, the US Senate adopted a resolution stating that the Russian Federation should recognize the illegality of the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Not without US influence, the Council of Europe in 1960 and 2005 in its resolutions characterized the entry of the Baltic republics into the USSR as an occupation, violent annexation. The European Parliament in 1983 and 2005 condemned the actions of the Soviet Union in 1940 and characterized the entry of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia into the USSR as Soviet occupation.
With the support of the West, the leadership of the Baltic states and the nationalist forces of the Baltic countries today regard the events of 1940 as an act of occupation that lasted almost half a century. The modern Baltic republics consider themselves to be the successors of the states that existed in 1918-1940, and the Soviet Baltic republics as illegally occupied regimes.
The official position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on this issue: "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation regards the accession of the Baltic states to the USSR as complying with the norms of international law of that time." According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, for the legal assessment of the situation in the Baltic States in the late 30-s of the last century, the term "occupation" cannot be used, since there was no state of war between the USSR and the Baltic states, and there was no military action at all. troops carried out on a contractual basis and with the express consent of the then authorities that existed in these republics.
In addition, in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia during the entire period of their stay in the USSR, with the exception of the time Germany occupied this part of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War, national authorities acted. Add to this that in these years, as noted above, the economy and culture of the Union republics of the Baltic states were rapidly developing.
A significant fact is that at the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, the participating States confirmed the integrity of the pre-war borders of the USSR, and, consequently, of all territorial acquisitions of the USSR in 1939-1940. In 1975, the participants in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, including the United States, by signing the Final Act of the Meeting, also recognized the inviolability of European borders.
As for the entry of the Moldavian SSR into the Soviet Union, everything was generally simpler here. In 1940, there was no state at all in the territory of the present Republic of Moldova. October 12 1924 was formed here as part of the Ukrainian SSR Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. It is clear that "autonomy" is not some kind of sovereign state formation. By the way, Grigory Kotovsky was the initiator of the creation of the Moldovan autonomy within the Ukrainian SSR. After the Soviet Union regained Bessarabia historically belonging to Russia, which was occupied by Romania in its time, administrative transformations were carried out in these territories in 1940, to which any sovereign state is entitled.
As a result, on August 2, 1940, at the VII session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the Law "On the formation of the Moldavian SSR" was adopted. Thus, the Moldavian Union Republic appeared in the USSR, which included 6 from 9 counties of Bessarabia and 6 from 14 districts of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in Ukraine. The current nationalist leadership of Moldova established 28 July, when Bessarabia was liberated from the Romanian occupation of Bessarabia, as the "Day of Soviet occupation".
In the meantime, the myth of the "Soviet aggression" in the Baltic States and Moldova is poisoning the relations of the Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians and Moldovans with the Russians, does not contribute to the establishment of effective partnership between the states. The conflict on this basis is exacerbated by periodic demands, including at the state level, of the Baltic countries, the Republic of Moldova to the Russian Federation on the payment of compensation "for the occupation of the country."