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Inspired by the similar question about Poland.

We all know what Soviet Union and Nazi Germany became deadly enemies, but this is after A. Hitler broke all agreements and invaded.

Looks like before this happening, the relations were way warmer. From this source, in 1922 the nations signed the Treaty of Rapallo and initiated covert military operations. The Soviet Union hosted hundreds of German soldiers, engineers and scientists at secret military bases. Almost every tank that Germany started WWII with was based on engineering work done in the USSR.

In spring 1939, both Stalin and Hitler proved open to renewing cooperation and in August, the country’s two foreign ministers signed a treaty of nonaggression, known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Poland was jointly invaded and then divided between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (source).

In the early days of the war, the Soviet Union supplied Germany with large quantities of raw materials.

Have they ever said sorry for these actions and agreements? This is somewhat answerable because Soviet Union no longer exists. If it have not been, will never be.

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  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Politics Meta, or in Politics Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 11, 2023 at 1:00
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    The treaty in 1922 was prior to Hitler came to power (1933). The Nazis coming to power was a substantial governmental change, not a mere switch in leadership. Pre-1933 Germany was entirely different than post-1933 Germany, so any military or economic treaties prior to 1933 is irrelevant to Russian apologies, except where extended or expanded. Yes, Russia helped Germany violate the Treaty of Versailles, but Russia wasn't a signatory of that treaty, having been defeated earlier in WW1 and signed the separate Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
    – Jamin Grey
    Feb 11, 2023 at 4:32
  • @JaminGrey My sentiments exactly. Implicitly describing the entire period as being Nazi-supportive is misleading, whether intentional or not. Feb 11, 2023 at 21:32
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    I previously commented "I don't like this kind of "inspired by similar question". It seems to me that you have (1) a bit of a push question about Poland, followed by a "whataboutism" question about the USSR. I downvoted, to discourage further questions. Did the USA ever apologise for its alliance with the USSR, Did the UK apologise for its alliance with Poland... it gets boring quickly." My prediction came true. Now there is a question about "USA apologise to Iraq". I vote to close. Let's stop this line of increasingly pushy questions.
    – James K
    Feb 12, 2023 at 11:56
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    @RogerVadim the mischaracterization of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as a "non-aggression" pact was, and is, utterly and thoroughly deceptive. It was an alliance, as a result of which, the USSR invaded the part of Poland which Germany failed to occupy. Germany was suffering from a severe supply shortage due to Britain's naval blockade. Without the Soviet supplies in 1940-1941, Germany would not be able to restart its war machine at all.
    – wrod
    Mar 18, 2023 at 9:19

2 Answers 2

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As far as "spheres of influence" are concerned, they did denounce it

On Christmas Eve 1989, Soviet lawmakers had indeed admitted the existence of the secret protocol of the MRP [Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact] and condemned it with a vote of 1432 to 252.

And even (albeit more vaguely)

While discussing both the Munich Agreement and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Putin argued in 2009 that no policy could be seen “as reasonable and responsible if it trespasses moral and legal frames.”

Although as that article also explains, in the past few years, as Putin has rehabilitated Stalin, the MRP was also excused as (allegedly) driven by pure necessity. E.g., in a 2020 article that was sent to the Western press, Putin wrote:

The League of Nations and the European continent in general turned a deaf ear to the repeated calls of the Soviet Union to establish an equitable collective security system, and sign an Eastern European pact and a Pacific pact to prevent aggression. These proposals were disregarded. [...]

[The MRP] was done in the face of a real threat of war on two fronts – with Germany in the west and with Japan in the east, where intense fighting on the Khalkhin Gol River was already underway.

[...] there are many things the Soviet leaders can be reproached for, but poor understanding of the nature of external threats is not one of them. They saw how attempts were made to leave the Soviet Union alone to deal with Germany and its allies. Bearing in mind this real threat, they sought to buy precious time needed to strengthen the country's defenses.

Nowadays, we hear lots of speculations and accusations against modern Russia in connection with the Non-Aggression Pact signed back then. Yes, Russia is the legal successor state to the USSR, and the Soviet period – with all its triumphs and tragedies – is an inalienable part of our thousand-year-long history. However, let us recall that the Soviet Union gave a legal and moral assessment of the so-called Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The Supreme Soviet in its resolution of 24 December 1989 officially denounced the secret protocols as "an act of personal power" which in no way reflected "the will of the Soviet people who bear no responsibility for this collusion."


Now that CDJB has pointed me to the full text of the 1989 resolution, it indeed condemns the secret protocol, but you'll also note that the Congress passes the buck to Stalin (and Molotov) personally for it. (Below is machine translation.) Also, the main/non-secret text of the non-aggression pact is declared unproblematic.

The Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR hereby confirms that the non-aggression pact of August 23, 1939, as well as the friendship and border treaty between the USSR and Germany concluded on September 28 of the same year, as well as other Soviet-German agreements, are in accordance with norms of international law - became invalid at the time of the German attack on the USSR, that is, on June 22, 1941.

The Congress states that the protocol of August 23, 1939 and other secret protocols signed with Germany in 1939-1941, both in their method of drafting and in content, were a departure from the Leninist principles of Soviet foreign policy. The delimitation of the "spheres of interest" of the USSR and Germany and other actions taken in them were, from a legal point of view, in conflict with the sovereignty and independence of a number of third countries. [...]

The congress states that negotiations with Germany on secret protocols were conducted by Stalin and Molotov in secret from the Soviet people, the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks and the entire party, the Supreme Soviet and the Government of the USSR, these protocols were excluded from the ratification procedures. Thus, the decision to sign them was essentially and in form an act of personal power and in no way reflected the will of the Soviet people, who are not responsible for this conspiracy.

The Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR condemns the signing of the "secret additional protocol" of August 23, 1939, and other secret agreements with Germany. The Congress recognizes the secret protocols as legally invalid and invalid from the moment of their signing.

The protocols did not create a new legal basis for the relations of the Soviet Union with third countries, but were used by Stalin and his entourage to present ultimatums and forceful pressure on other states in violation of their legal obligations. [...]

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    There was apparently a 2020 attempt to formally revoke that 1989 resolution as well. But I'm not sure what came of it. Feb 10, 2023 at 7:42
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    Does the resolution really go as far as an apology? I guess the closest bit is "The Congress condemns the signing of the "secret additional protocol" of August 23, 1939, and other secret agreements with Germany. The Congress recognizes the secret protocols as legally invalid and invalid from the moment of their signing. The protocols did not create a new legal basis for the relations of the SU with third countries, but were used by Stalin and his entourage to present ultimatums and forceful pressure on other states in violation of their legal obligations."
    – CDJB
    Feb 10, 2023 at 7:50
  • @CDJB: it's a fair point. I didn't find the original text myself, and I've suggested to the OP to hold off accepting my answer until more details are provided. I thought the source was reliable enough for the claim... Feb 10, 2023 at 7:51
  • Deferred acceptance as asked. Upvote remains.
    – Stančikas
    Feb 10, 2023 at 8:41
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In addition to what is stated above, the Soviet Union and many leaders denounced the pact, and some - at the time of the pact - were somewhat against it but simply agreed to:

  • Temporarily put off fighting the Germans to deal with the border skirmishes between the Soviet Union and imperialist Japan that were taking some toil on the Soviets in spite of some Soviet victories in Manchuria.
  • Despite the agreement, there was almost a secondary Cold War where the Soviets and Nazis tried to 'deal with' each other's forces in secret in Poland. According to Hitler et ses Généreaux [Hitler and his Generals], the Nazis got intelligence that in the Soviet portion of Poland and Soviet Republics, there were plans to create an anti-German bloc with those who were seen as friendly with the Nazis or liking the Third Reich in those regions being sent to gulags or executed. The Soviets also supported the Spanish Republic over the Spanish nationalists supported by the Nazis in a proxy war while this treaty was still in effect.

Basically even at the time, while the Soviets were all for working with the Nazis on the surface with this pact and talks with the Third Reich, plenty of Soviet actions in the background showed a decent amount of Soviet leadership opposed the Third Reich in a more clandestine way even before Operation Barbarossa. Because of this, it was not too hard for some of those who remembered the treaty to denounce it in 1989 and declare that the pact was invalid and "immoral" while having some - who still denounced the agreement - seeing it as a "necessary evil" to buy the USSR time to develop and prevent it from having to focus a war with the Nazis, fighting Japan, and supporting the Spanish Republic all at the same time.

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