Russian Supreme Court Convicts Online Blogger for Mentioning Russian Invasion of Poland in 1939

German and Soviet troops shaking hands following the invasion. Wikipedia / Public Domain
German and Soviet troops shaking hands following the invasion. Wikipedia / Public Domain

On September 1, 2016, the 77th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland and 17 days before the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland from the east, Russia’s Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Perm blogger Vladimir Luzgin. Luzgin was convicted of reposting text that says both the Nazis and the Soviets invaded Poland in 1939.

Henry Reznik was the lawyer representing Luzgin. He stated that the court had discredited itself due to this ruling. He intends to appeal on behalf of his client. He also stated that this called for an application to the European Court of Human Rights.

Luzgin was convicted in July and fined 200,000 roubles by the Perm District Court. He had been charged under Article 354.2 of Russia’s criminal code. The charge stemmed from the text that he reposted on his VKontakte page. The post was titled “15 Facts About Bandera Supporters, or What the Kremlin is silent about.”

The text in question is Ukrainian and somewhat nationalist, which is no surprise. This paragraph is the one they specifically singled out as being what started the criminal proceedings:

“The communists and Germany jointly invaded Poland, sparking off the Second World War. That is, communism and Nazism closely collaborated, yet for some reason they blame Bandera who was in a German concentration camp for declaring Ukrainian independence”.

Russia’s Supreme Court agreed that the paragraph is “a public denial of the Nuremberg Trials and circulation of false information about the activities of the USSR during the years of the Second World War.”

Alexander Vertinsky, the dean of the History Faculty of the Perm Humanitarian-Pedagogical University, took the stand for the prosecution. He claimed that the paragraph contained “statements that do not correspond with the position accepted at international level.”

There are two Russian courts who believe that since the Nuremberg trials did not mention the Soviet invasion, the information was “knowingly false.” Since the Soviet Union was on the winning side of WWII and had considerable influence over the Nuremberg proceedings, it seems unlikely that the Soviet invasion would be mentioned.

Whatever was discussed at Nuremberg, any historian will tell you that the Soviet Union invaded what was then Poland on September 17, 1939.

Burning Warsaw in September 1939. Wikipedia / Public Domain
Burning Warsaw in September 1939. Wikipedia / Public Domain

Denying that fact is ludicrous considering the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with its secret protocols that carved up Poland between the USSR and Germany have been in the public domain and are found in any history book.

The bill that outlaws the “rehabilitation of Nazism” has been around since May 2014. It is supposed to oppose the glorification of Nazism. The Sova Centre disagrees. They feel that the true purpose is to ban historical discussion.

The Kremlin is trying to restore the Soviet line about World War II which blurs the details on the first two years of the Soviet alliance with Nazi Germany and justifies the collaboration.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE