THE SPEECH ON RADIO OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SOVIET
OF PEOPLE'S COMMISSARS
OF THE U.S.S.R. COMRADE V. M. MOLOTOV
SEPTEMBER 17, 1939
Comrades! Citizens of our great country!
The events caused by the Polish-German war showed internal insolvency and obvious incapacity of the Polish state. The Polish ruling circles went bankrupt. All this happened in the shortest possible time.
It's been two weeks, and Poland has already lost all its industrial centers, lost most of the large cities and cultural centers.There is also no Warsaw as the capital of the Polish state any more. Nobody knows about the whereabouts of the Polish government. The population of Poland is left by her unlucky heads to the mercy of fate. The Polish state and her government has actually ceased to exist. Because of this situation, the agreements concluded between the Soviet Union and Poland have ceased to exist.
In Poland a situation, demanding special care from the part of Soviet government concerning the state security, was created. Poland has become to be a suitable field for all sorts of accidents and surprises able to create a threat to the USSR. The Soviet government has remained neutral until recently. But owing to the circumstances indicated it cannot remain neutral to the situation any more.
It is also impossible to request from the Soviet government an indifferent attitude towards the destiny of the kin-blooded Ukrainians and Byelorussians living in Poland, nations previously being in a position where civil rights were ripped off and being now completely abandoned. The Soviet government considers it as a sacred duty to give a helping hand to the Ukrainian and Byelorussian brothers living in Poland.
In view of all this, the government of the USSR handed a note this morning to the Polish ambassador in Moscow in which it declared that the Soviet government ordered the High Command of the Red Army to give the troops the order to cross the border and to take under their protection the life and property of the population of the Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia.
The Soviet government also stated in this note that at the same time it intends to take all measures to get the Polish people out of ill-fated war, into which it was thrown by its irrational leaders, and to give them an opportunity to live a peaceful life.
In the first days of September, when a partial appeal was sent to the Red army in Ukraine, to Belarus and to other four military districts, situation in Poland was not clear and this appeal was treated as a precautionary measure. Nobody could think that the Polish state will find herself so impotent and in such a rapid disorder that has now taken place all over Poland. As, however, this disorder has come true, and the Polish politicians went completely gone bankrupt and are unable to change the situation in Poland, our Red Army, having received a large addition in the recent reservist call-up, must honorably fulfill the honorary task set before it. The government expresses the firm belief that our Workers' and Peasants' Red Army will once more show its fighting power, consciousness and discipline that in performing its great liberating task would wrap it into new feats, heroism and glory.
At the same time the Soviet government supplied the copy of the note addressed to the Polish ambassador to all governments with which the USSR has diplomatic relations, and at the same time stated that the Soviet Union will pursue a policy of neutrality toward all these countries.
This determines our latest activities through the foreign policy.
The government also appeals to the citizens of the Soviet Union with the following explanation. In connection with the summoning reservists among our citizens, there was an aspiration to save up more food and other goods for the fear that a card system will be introduced in the field of supply. The government considers it necessary to notice that it does not intend to enter into a rationing system on products and manufactured goods even if the state measures caused by external events will drag on for some time. I am afraid that only those who were engaged in excessive purchases of food and goods and saved up unnecessary stocks, are exposed to danger in the form of spoilage. Our country is provided with everything necessary and can do without rationing system in supply.
Our task now, a task of each worker and peasant, a task of each employee and intellectual, is to work honestly and selflessly at his post and by this way give help to the Red Army.
As for soldiers of our glorious Red Army, I have no doubts that they will fulfill their duty to the homeland - with honor and glory.
Peoples of the Soviet Union, all citizens our country, soldiers of the Red Army and the Navy are rallied, more than ever, around the Soviet government, around our Bolshevik Party, around the great Soviet leader, around the wise Comrade Stalin, for new and still unprecedented achievements in the industry and in collective farms, for the new glorious victories of the Red Army on combat fronts.
Source: Пропагандист и агитатор РККА. Орган политического управления РККА. № 19, October 1939. Computer assisted draft translation by Pauli Kruhse.
Finland in the Soviet foreign policy of 1939-1940