"Rumours about the existence of a secret additional protocol [the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 23 August 1939] appeared shortly after the signing of the agreement, but the original of this "secret additional protocol" has never been found," claimed the Russian propaganda portal "Sputnik" on 21 August of this year, on the anniversary of the signing of the infamous pact and its additional protocol.
The allegation that the secret additional protocol to the USSR-Germany non-aggression agreement of 23 August 1939, which split Eastern Europe into the spheres of Nazi Germany and Stalinist USSR influence and basically pulled the plug on the independence of the Baltic states and Poland (Finland managed to protect its independence), is an "American fabrication", that it "never happened", is quite popular in modern Russia and is stubbornly sustained both in the media and social networks.
Masquerading the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as a "victory for Soviet diplomacy" has become common practice, but the tactic has been around since the Soviet period. "Sputnik" also writes: “According to the assessment of most Russian historians, the Soviet-German non-aggression pact could be considered as an important success of Soviet diplomacy, which was able to use the crisis in Europe for its own interests, to out-play British diplomacy and to achieve its main goal of remaining outside the European war while at the same time gaining significant freedom within Eastern Europe." However, "Sputnik" complains that the 23 August 1939 document "has gained a profoundly political undertone nowadays" and that there are "disputes" about it.
The allegations that the secret additional protocol to the Pact does not "exist", that it is a "myth", a "fabrication", etc., sound strange if one considers that its text and copies are found without difficulty, even on the internet. The absolute majority of the Western School of History considers the negative, criminal role of the pact and its additional protocol in the division of Europe between two dictators and the start of the Second World War as an axiom; a fact that does not cause any controversy. The only ones "disputing" this fact are those who live in the propaganda bubble of modern Russia.
It is also confusing to read such open lies, given that, a comparatively short while ago, the Russian historian community had no doubts about the existence of the additional protocol and the authenticity of existing copies. The fate of the originals of this document, held by Germany and the USSR, has been the subject of an extensive and interesting article by Boris Chavkin (Борис Хавкин) published in 2007 in the first issue of the "Forum of the Newest History and Culture of Eastern Europe" (“Форум новейшей восточноевропейской истории и культуры”), a joint publication by Russian and German historians.
The German paper copy of the Pact and the secret additional protocol was actually destroyed during the Allied bomber raid on Berlin at the end of the Second World War. But the Germans had managed to copy the most important documents on microfilms, and in April of 1945 they came into American possession.
Diplomatic circles discussed the contents of the secret additional protocol soon after it was signed in August of 1939, while the general public in the West learnt about it during the Nuremberg trials in March of 1946, when photocopies of the document were used by Alfred Seidl, the defence attorney for Rudolf Hess. The Tribunal dismissed the documents gathered by Seidl as a result of enraged protests by the Soviets. Already at that time, the main prosecutor in the USSR delegation, Roman Rudenko (Роман Руденко) called them "shameless forgeries".
However, in May of 1946, the text of the additional protocol was published in the American and British press, and later in many other historical document collections. The Americans returned photocopies of the documents in their possession to the archives of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn. Meanwhile, for decades, the USSR stubbornly denied the existence of the additional protocol, calling it a "historical falsification".
At the same time, it was perfectly clear that copies of the contract, drawn up in German and Russian, must also be in the archives of the Kremlin. Even when during Mikhail Gorbachev's wave of openness in the 80s, discussion started emerging in the Soviet Union about the criminal agreement between Hitler and Stalin, and in 1989, the Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR condemned it and declared it invalid, the only proof of the existence of the additional protocol were the copies obtained in the Bonn Archives, the authenticity of which was confirmed by experts.
When asked about the Soviet copies, the officials of the archives and the government of that time, including Gorbachev, denied their existence so strenuously that for some time it was even assumed that Stalin, in the very first months of the German invasion of 1941 or during the Nuremberg trials, had indeed ordered Moscow to destroy the compromising originals. However, Soviet copies signed by Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim Ribbentrop turned out to just be hidden away in secret folders. In 1992, they were finally declassified. The Soviet original text was published in the 1st issue of the journal "New and Newest History" ("Новая и новейшая история") in 1993.
Screenshot from "ru.sputnik-news.ee"