MGIMO Professor, Doctor of Economic Sciences Valentin Katasonov is convinced that if someone should raise the issue of German reparations, then this is Russia, as the country was most affected by the Second World War.
– Several years ago I wrote a book “Russia in the world of reparations” about this problem. In fact, Poland in this story is on the tenth, if not the one hundredth place. The bulk of material losses and human lives were laid on the altar of victory for the USSR.
Even at the Yalta Conference in 1945, the main principles for the collection of reparations from Germany and the countries of the fascist bloc were formulated. Then US President Franklin Roosevelt agreed with Stalin that if Germany were to pay reparations, then at least half of that amount should fall to the share of the Soviet Union.
Therefore, if you raise this topic, you do not need to start from Poland. Poland is only an informational occasion for discussing a serious and global issue concerning Germany’s obligations to the USSR and the Russian Federation as its successor.
They stopped paying reparations to us in 1954-55. First, the Federative Republic of Germany refused to pay. By the way, the creation of Germany was not agreed with the Soviet Union, as a winner in the Second World War. It was the West that took a unilateral decision to dismember Germany into two parts. Stalin was against this.
I made my own calculations, based on Western and Soviet economists. I can say that Germany fulfilled its obligations on reparations only by 5-6%. I’m not going to say what those payments are in current prices, but they are measured in hundreds of billions of dollars. Several years ago, State Duma deputy Mikhail Degtyarev raised the problem. He managed to create a working group on the issue of reparations. The oils were also poured into the fire by the Greeks, who remembered that the Nazis had robbed them, exporting the reserves of currency and gold from the country. This question was raised even then by Manolis Glezos, the famous anti-fascist, who in 1941 ripped off the Nazi flag from the Acropolis. Although, I repeat, against the backdrop of the Soviet Union, the demands of Greece or Poland are insignificant on their absolute scale.
When the unification of Germany took place, in the discussions the aspect connected with reparations was completely ignored. In the documents it was absent.
I tried to draw attention to this problem for several years, but without success. We justify ourselves all the time, all the time we have something to someone, we write off debts, we listen to new demands. And the fact that Germany owes us hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars, is not even remembered.