of the Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR
on the Political and Juridical Appraisal of the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Treaty of 1939

December 24th 1989
N 979-1

1. The Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR acknowledges the conclusions of the commission that gave a political and legal assessment of the 1939 Soviet-German Non-Aggression Treaty.

2. The Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR agrees with the opinion of the commission that the Non-Aggression Treaty with Germany was signed in a critical international situation and in conditions of growing danger of Fascist aggression in Europe and the threat of Japanese militarism in Asia, and in which one of the objectives of the Treaty was to shelter the USSR from the danger of looming war. In the end this objective was not achieved, while miscalculations with regard to Germany’s obligations to the USSR worsened the consequences of the treacherous Nazi aggression. Our country was facing tough choices at that time.

Contractual obligations came into force immediately after signing, but the Treaty itself was to be approved by the Supreme Council of the USSR The decision on ratification was adopted on August 31st in Moscow, and ratification letters were exchanged on September 24th 1939.

3. The view of the Congress is that the contents of this Pact did not deviate notably from the standards of international law that were used in such regulations. However, it was not disclosed that simultaneously with entering into and ratification of the Treaty, a secret additional protocol had been signed which determined the spheres of interest of the signatories from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and from Finland to Bessarabia.

The original of the protocol has not been found either in Soviet or foreign archives. However, graphological, phototechnical and lexical study of the copies, maps and other documents, and the compliance of later events with the protocol, prove that the protocol was factually signed and existed.

4. The Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR hereby confirms that the August 23rd 1939 Non-Aggression Treaty and also the Friendship and Border Treaty signed between the USSR and Germany on September 28th 1939 became, as with Soviet-German agreements, invalid pursuant to the standards of international law at the moment when Germany attacked the Soviet Union, i.e. on June 22nd 1941.

5. The Congress states that in both their preparatory method and contents, the August 23rd 1939 Protocol and other secret protocols that were signed with Germany 1939-1941 were deviations from the Leninist principles of Soviet foreign policy. From the standpoint of law, territorial division into Soviet and German spheres of interest and other actions were in conflict with the sovereignty and independence of several third countries.

The Congress notes that during this period the relations of the USSR with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were regulated by a system of treaties. Pursuant to the 1920 Peace Treaties and 1926-1933 Non-Aggression Treaties, the signatories were obliged to honour each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability under any circumstances. The Soviet Union had assumed similar obligations to Poland and Finland.

6. The Congress states that Stalin and Molotov did not disclose to the Soviet people, the Central Committee of CPSU (B) and the whole party, nor to the Supreme Council or the government of the USSR that negotiations were being held with Germany over secret protocols. These protocols were removed from the ratification procedures. Therefore, the decision to sign them was in both essence and form an act of personal power and in no way reflected the will of the Soviet people who bear no responsibility for this treacherous collusion.

7. The Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR condemns the fact of signing the secret protocol on August 23rd 1939 as well as other secret agreements made with Germany. The Congress declares the secret protocols legally unjustified and invalid from the moment of signing.

The protocols did not create a new legal basis in the relations between the Soviet Union and third countries, but Stalin and his associates used them to make ultimatums and to put pressure on other countries by violating the legal obligations assumed by the USSR to those countries.

8. The Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR regards the understanding of the complicated and controversial past as part of glasnost, which must ensure that all people in the Soviet Union have an opportunity to develop freely and equally in the conditions of a wholesome, mutually dependent world and growing common understanding.

Chairman of the Supreme Council of the USSR
M. Gorbachev