The Nazi-Soviet Pact: Was it Necessary?

An interesting article – counter-factual in nature – on the run up to the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939 appeared today in the hardline Vzglyad ru. It is written by Evgenii Krutikov, now a commentator, who once played a shadowy role in Ossetia (Georgia) and then in Bosnia during the Serbian war to destroy Croatia and reunify Yugoslavia under Serbian control. Whether Krutikov was, like his father Feliks (who was sent to the Gulag by ruling Nikita Khrushchev to ruin Evgenii’s eminent grandfather), actually in foreign intelligence, is uncertain, though it certainly looks like he may have served in the GRU. Denied entry into the élite international relations training school – MGIMO – under Mikhail Gorbachev’s newly imposed restriction forbidding the sons of graduates to train there – which was of course only selectively implemented – Evgenii had to go instead to the military institute for foreign languages.

Evgenii’s grandfather rose from the bottom of Soviet society eventually to become deputy chairman of the council of ministers in 1948. Before that, however, he was deputy to commissar for foreign trade Anastas Mikoyan, and handled the negotiations with the Germans before and during the period of the Nazi-Soviet pact. This is what has made Evgenii so interested in the new documents that have emerged from the Foreign Ministry archives showing the progression to the signature of the Nazi-Soviet pact on 23 August 1939. He can watch his grandfather at work dealing with the Germans.

From the evidence he has seen – on the Soviet side of the picture – Evgenii draws an unusual conclusion – for a Russian:  that the pact with Hitler could have been avoided. Much as one would have liked to believe it, I would dispute this, however, based on the British and other archival evidence that Neville Chamberlain was willing to contemplate almost anything to avoid close association with the Soviet Union, for ideological reasons. My book on this appears in May 2021 from Princeton University Press: The Spectre of War. International  Communism and the Origins of World War II. But read Krutikov if you can.

Как СССР пытался создать альтернативу пакту Молотова – Риббентропа

1 августа 2020, 10:10
Фото: Иван Шагин/РИА Новости
Текст: Евгений Крутиков

Мог ли Советский Союз в 1939 году заключить не пакт Молотова – Риббентропа, а антигитлеровское соглашение с Францией и Великобританией? К каким результатам привел бы подобный план и что думали на этот счет в Москве, Лондоне и Париже? Шансы реализовать такой договор имелись, и об этом подробно рассказывают рассекреченные шифротелеграммы советских дипломатов.

После провала «политики умиротворения» и германского ультиматума Польше в марте 1939 года по поводу так называемого данцигского коридора даже часть консервативно настроенной западной элиты осознала, что без создания широкой коалиции, включающей СССР, остановить гитлеровскую агрессию в Европе невозможно. Началось зондирование позиции СССР – может ли Москва участвовать в такой коалиции?

Шанс был