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MFA Review - On 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany concluded a treaty of non-aggression known as the Molotov- Ribbentrop Pact (hereinafter the MRP) after its signatories, the Soviet Union's People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov and Foreign Minister of Nazi Germany Joachim von Ribbentrop. In the secret protocols that accompanied the treaty of non-aggression, the two totalitarian powers divided Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania in violation of international law into respective spheres of influence, which led to Nazi Germany starting the Second World War on 1 September 1939 with its attack on Poland.

The MRP and its three secret protocols resulted in comprehensive military and economic cooperation between Nazi Germany and the USSR from 1939 – 1941. The USSR's significant political and economic support for Nazi Germany allowed the leadership of Nazi Germany to occupy a great part of Europe and begin the widespread persecution and murder of Jews in its occupied territories. Nazi Germany's support for the USSR made it possible for the USSR to carry out wide-spread oppression in territories occupied by the USSR. On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany attacked the USSR—until now its partner— after disagreements between the two totalitarian powers intensified. Although at the beginning of the Second World War the USSR had been acting in co-operation with the aggressor, in the end of the war the USSR was one of the victors. And the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact essentially remained in effect: The lasting occupation of the Baltic states by the USSR went on. Although the MRP and its secret protocols were wellknown to democratic Western nations, the USSR denied the existence of secret protocols to the MRP until 1989, because the secret protocols were considered evidence of the annexation of the Baltic states. Upon the changing international and domestic situation, on 24 December 1989 the Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union declared the secret protocols of the pact to be null and void as of the moment of their signing. Remembering the MRP as well as its aftermath, the European Parliament on 2 April 2009 approved the resolution "European conscience and totalitarianism". The resolution suggests that member states of the European Parliament declare 23 August as the European Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, to be observed with dignity and impartiality. The Estonian Parliament approved its support of the resolution on 18 June 2009 and declared 23 August as Remembrance Day. Divide et impera – MRP and Nazi – Soviet co-operation 1939–1941 In the spring and summer of 1939 the USSR was playing a two-faced game, holding public negotiations for establishing allied relations with Great Britain and France while secretly holding negotiations with Germany. Under the guise of trade negotiations between the USSR and Germany, the agreement uniting the states in political cooperation was prepared in the summer of 1939. On 21 August 1939 the USSR ended negotiations with Great Britain and France and chose a side, commencing to split Central and Eastern Europe into spheres of influence between the USSR and Nazi German.

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