Russia has more Jews actively participating in various aspects of their society when compared to Poland. In turn, Israel has more of a Russian ear than the Polish variant. Israel’s stance on the Russo-Polish row isn’t so in line with neocon and neolib leaning Jews, among some others.
Not all former USSR Jews spin like Julia Ioffe and Masha Gessen, who get a good amount of unchallenged Western mass media attention, which has led to some inaccurate impressions. This is somewhat like the situation with PC Ukrainians getting preference over those Ukrainians having a pro-Russian outlook.
Knowing Polish sensitivities, the Polish President Andrzej Duda should’ve been allowed to speak at the recent Yad Vashem event, commemorating the liberation of the Nazi run Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Notwithstanding, Duda was petulant with his: if Putin speaks then he (Duda) should approach. Britain’s Prince Charles and the French President Emmanuel Macron, were also invited speakers. Russian President Vladimir Putin has no less of a basis for consideration.
Putin’s Yad Vashem address was diplomatically respectful. Contrary to what the BBC’s Barbara Plett Usher emphasized in her live on air comments, Czechoslovakia incurred Nazi aggression before Poland. The USSR sought an anti-Nazi alliance in support of Czechoslovakia. The West refused that desire. Shortly after that Nazi move, Poland and Hungary took portions of Czechoslovakia.
Hence, it’s historically incomplete to proclaim that the USSR was partly responsible for the outbreak of WW II, while omitting the consequences of the Western inaction on Czechoslovakia.
While being ethically problematical, the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact had a reasoned basis from the standpoint of those in the USSR. The West rebuffed the USSR on opposing the Nazi move against Czechoslovakia. Some in the West were openly hoping for a Nazi-Soviet war with the West left out. At the time of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact, the Soviets had a good idea that they weren’t yet ready to successfully oppose Nazi Germany.
The West didn’t help Czechoslovakia and initially engaged in a phony war when the Nazis attacked Poland. That attitude dramatically changed when the Nazis directly struck France and the UK. With all this in mind, there was a reasoned basis to be suspicious of the Western powers. BTW, note that the West didn’t declare war on the USSR when it entered into Poland’s then eastern territory, inhabited largely with non-Poles.
*Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic.