Dirk Wiese, Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership Countries, today issued the following statement on the anniversary of the German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) of 23 August 1939:
The German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact, which was signed on this day 80 years ago, along with its secret supplementary protocol, marked a low point in German-Russian and German-Soviet diplomacy. Shortly afterwards, the German Reich started the Second World War and unleashed war and murder all over Europe. Poland was divided by force for the second time. I would like to take this opportunity to emphasise the suffering that befell our neighbours in Poland and the Baltic as a result of the Non-aggression Pact. The Soviet Union was not spared from German aggression. The Allied victory over the Nazis came at the price of immeasurable sacrifice in the Soviet Union in particular.
As Germans, we recognise our historical responsibility. We cannot – and nor do we wish to – cast it off or downplay it. However, we also need understanding with our neighbours in order to be able to live up to this responsibility. It obliges us to work for peace in Europe. I remain firmly convinced that we cannot accept permanent lines of division in Europe, be they on a map, as in the secret supplementary protocol of 1939, or in people’s minds. Today’s date serves to remind us that in order to have lasting peace in Europe, we may never again make agreements that violate international law and come at the cost of third parties.