View Full Version : Kremlin Fury At US Demand Over Baltic Wartime Pact

05-06-2005, 11:30 AM
Kremlin fury at US demand over Baltic wartime pact
By Julius Strauss in Moscow and Alec Russell in Washington


A White House demand that Russia face up to its Stalinist past is fuelling a diplomatic spat ahead of President George W Bush's visit this weekend to commemorate the end of the Second World War.

Mr Bush's four-day visit to Russia and two of its former Soviet satellites is shaping up to be one of the most fraught missions of his presidency.

It emerged in Washington that the US had tried to persuade President Vladimir Putin to repudiate the 1939 Nazi-Soviet agreement, which led to the annexation of the three Baltic States.

This demand - curtly rejected by the Kremlin - added fuel to a row which has pitted Russia against the Baltic states and the European Union and threatens to cast a shadow over the 60th anniversary of the end of the war.

Russian officials were already fuming that Mr Bush is pointedly going to Latvia tomorrow ahead of his appearance at the grand victory parade in Red Square on Monday. Mr Bush, asked in an interview with Lithuanian television whether he would raise the subject of the occupation of the Baltics with Mr Putin, said: "Yes, of course I will remind him of that."

At a briefing for reporters ahead of Mr Bush's departure, his national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, pointedly reiterated the demand for a renunciation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

Russia maintains that demands for an apology from the Baltic states are an insult to the estimated 25 million Russian soldiers and civilians who died after Hitler invaded Russia.

Sergei Yastrzhembsky, Russia's point man on relations with the EU, claimed yesterday that the Red Army was welcomed into the Baltics.

He said: "One cannot use the term occupation to describe these historical events. At that time, the troop deployment took place on an agreed basis and with the clearly expressed agreement of the existing authorities in the Baltic republics. There was no occupation of foreign territory seized by military means."

He accused the Baltic states of trying to poison relations between Russia and the EU, its biggest trading partner.

05-06-2005, 11:54 AM
Is it possible for Dubya to go anywhere and NOT piss somebody off?