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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » June 17, 2009
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Protest at Revisionist Russian Article
June 17, 2009   
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The Russian defense ministry June 4 placed on its official website an article blaming Poland for the outbreak of World War II. The article, by Colonel Sergei N. Kovalov of the Institute of Military History at the Russian Defense Ministry, was placed in the Military Encyclopedia section under the tag of "History-Against Lies and Falsification".

"All those who have objectively studied the history of World War II know that it started because Poland refused to meet German claims," Kovalov wrote. "Meanwhile, Germany's demands were quite moderate-to incorporate the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk) into the Third Reich and agree to the construction of an extraterritorial [meaning under German jurisdiction] highway and railway line to link East Prussia with the main part of Germany."

Kovalov called these demands "justified," pointing out for example that most of the residents of Gdańsk at that time had been ethnic Germans.

In his article, Kovalov also defended the Soviet invasion of Poland on Sept. 17, 1939 in complicity with Nazi Germany. The invasion resulted in Poland being divided between the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. According to Kovalov, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had no choice but to sign a non-aggression pact with Hitler in August 1939 in order to "postpone the war with Germany at least for a short time and assume borderland defense positions."

The Polish foreign ministry demanded an explanation from the Russian ambassador to Poland about the article. A press spokesman for the Russian defense ministry said material published on the ministry's website in the Military Encyclopedia section was not the ministry's official standpoint. Kovalov's article was quickly removed from the website. In the meantime, it was sharply criticized by Russian media, which called it a "provocation" and said it adopted "a vision of history known so far only from Nazi propaganda materials."
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