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As Putin heads to Poland, WWII disputes on display

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MOSCOW – World War II may be slipping into distant memory for most Americans and western Europeans, in part because they have all long since agreed on the conflict's basic narrative.

But Russians and many eastern Europeans continue to furiously dispute the war's causes and results, almost as if it were still going on. That acrimony is likely to be on full display when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets other European leaders in Gdansk, Poland, on Tuesday to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland, which triggered a six-year war that claimed more than 50 million lives.

Many Poles, joined by leaders from Estonia, Latvia, and other post-Soviet states, are demanding that Moscow use the occasion to make a clean break with its Soviet past by apologizing for the August 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and its secret provisions under which Germany and the USSR colluded to divide eastern Europe between themselves.


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