Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Polish officials on Tuesday for siding with the Nazis prior to World War II in comments sparked by a recent European resolution.
The European Parliament in September condemned the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact — a Soviet-Nazi non-aggression deal — for the outbreak of World War II and blamed modern Russia for rewriting history by exonerating its signing. The move has been met with derision by Putin and other Russian officials, who say the pact — which divided Poland into spheres of influence — helped save thousands of lives.
Citing archival documents, Putin told defense officials Tuesday that Poland’s envoy to Nazi Germany had promised to build Hitler “a beautiful monument in Warsaw” if he expelled the country’s Jews to Africa.
“That bastard! That anti-Semitic pig,” Putin said, apparently referring to Józef Lipski, who served as the Polish ambassador in Berlin until 1939.
“He was in complete solidarity with Hitler in his anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic sentiment,” the Russian president said.
Putin echoed his insistence Friday that the Soviet Union had been the last to sign a non-aggression agreement with Hitler before the outbreak of war.
Poland and the Western powers, Putin said, “acted in collusion” with Hitler.
These dealings, particularly the 1938 Munich Agreement that allowed Hitler to annex parts of former Czechoslovakia, actually paved the way toward World War II, he argued — in his second comments on the matter over the past week.
“People like the ones who were negotiating with Hitler back then now deface monuments to the liberator soldiers — the Red Army troops who liberated the countries and people of Europe from Nazism,” he said.
“We must keep this in mind, especially with regard to the development of our Armed Forces,” Putin told the defense officials.
Russia is preparing to mark the 75th anniversary of Soviet victory in World War II in May 2020.
Poland meanwhile has accused Putin of “renewing Stalinist propaganda” for claiming that the Soviet occupation of Poland “saved lives.”