Celebrating the victory over Nazi Germany in Moscow is “not natural” because it’s the place where World War II started, said Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna. London or Berlin would be more suitable, he added.

February 4, 2015   ·   0 Comments

This article originally appeared at RT


Schetyna’s controversial comments came in an interview with RMF FM radio, as he was promoting Warsaw’s planned celebration of the 70th anniversary Victory Day on May 8. The grand event will be held at Westerplatte Peninsula, the site near the city of Gdansk where the Nazi German invasion on September 1, 1939 started the bloodiest armed conflict in Europe in 20th century.

Poland invited world leaders to participate in the event, potentially clashing with invitations from Moscow, where the end of World War II is celebrated a later, on May 9.

“Why have we got used so easily that Moscow is the place to honor the end of the hostilities rather than in London or Berlin,” Schetyna told the radio on Monday.

“It’s not natural to celebrate the end of the war where it was started,” he added in a reference to the signing of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the German-Soviet non-aggression treaty that secretly split Eastern Europe into spheres of influence.

Any declaration of Moscow as the place where World War II started is bound to be seen as bending the historical truth in Russia. The German-Soviet pact certainly brought open hostilities closer, but it was one link in a long chain of similar events, including some where Warsaw played a part as unfavorable as Moscow did, Russian historians say.

For example, Poland annexed parts of Czechoslovakia when the country was partitioned by Nazi Germany in 1938, with European Great Powers Britain and France not opposing it because they had agreed to it by signing the Munich Agreement.

Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna

Moscow blasted Schetyna’s comments. The Polish FM is “again walking the path of ideology war,”tweeted Aleksey Pushkov, the chair of Russian State Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee. Judging on where it is “more natural” to celebrate the victory is “not up to him,” the Russian official added.

Schetyna is no stranger to controversial historical statements that are viewed as Russophobic by some commenters. In January, he claimed that the Nazi death camp Auschwitz was liberated “by Ukrainians.”

In fact it was a Red Army unit, which included Russians, Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Tatars and other ethnic groups that liberated the camp. Schetyna’s words were labeled “sacrilegious” by his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, at the time.

According to the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin, 22 world leaders have already confirmed that they will participate in this year’s V-Day celebrations in Moscow. European leaders have so far not replied to Russia’s invitation.

Sergey Ivanov, who heads Putin’s presidential administration, said the celebration in Westerplatte was aimed at persuading “European leaders – some of them – not to go to Moscow on May 9.”


Readers Comments (0)

Sorry, comments are closed on this post.