Published On: Wed, Feb 4th, 2015

Russian Lawmakers May Push for $4.56 Trillion in War Reparations from Germany

Stalingrad

A group of Russian parliamentarians plans to lay the groundwork for a possible reparations lawsuit against Germany, claiming that the German government barely provided any compensation for the devastation carried out by the Nazis in the Soviet Union during World War II, reports said.

Izvestia is reporting that the idea was proposed by Mikhail Degtyaryov, a member of the supreme council of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR). A workgroup is being set up by parliament deputies to calculate the damage, with initial estimates placing the figure between $3.43 trillion and $4.56 trillion, website io9.com said.

Degtyaryov referred to a Soviet government commission that assessed WWII damages as 30% of the national wealth, adding that the Nazis destroyed 1, 710 Soviet cities and towns, 70, 000 villages, 32, 000 factories, and 100, 000 collective farms during the ill-fated Operation Barbarossa, the website said.

His contention is that Germany has hardly paid any reparations for the destruction and atrocities inflicted on the Soviet Union, the report said.

“What we have now is that Germany repaid compensations over 6 million victims of the Holocaust but ignored the deaths of 27 million Soviet people, over 16 million of which were civilians, ” he added, according to the website.

Degtyaryov contends that, under the Yalta agreements, the USSR recouped some damage by taking away a number of German assets in the form of “furniture, clothing, [and] industrial equipment, ” but that this insufficiently compensated for the damage, the report said.

And while an agreement to cease reparations was signed with the Soviet-backed German Democratic Republic, no similar agreement was ever forged with the Federal Republic of Germany either before or after reunification, the website said.

Degtyaryov said the issue remains open and relevant, claiming Germany is inflicting damage on Russia as it presses forward with “unlawful sanctions” on behalf of the European Union, according to the report.

However, the deputy head of the upper house Committee for Foreign Relations, Vladimir Dzhabarov, said that all reparations issues between the USSR and Germany were settled in 1950s and returning to the issue could only bring problems, the website said.

“All we can achieve through bringing up this question is the deterioration of our relations with Germany, which aren’t that good at the moment. Russia has enough problems apart from these reparations, ” the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily quoted the senator as saying.

The chair of the State Duma Education Committee, Vyacheslav Nikonov, called the LDPR initiative “utter rubbish” and said that stirring up old conflicts was a stupid thing to do at the moment. “Germany has paid the reparations, mostly it was done by East Germany. This problem has been solved. They stopped paying in 1953, ” Nikonov noted, according to the report.

Germany has already said that it isn’t going to pay Russia anything. It’s clear that some of Russia’s more nationalistic elements are using the possible lawsuit for propaganda purposes, and as a way to use history to further inflame anti-Western sentiment, the website said.

Russia needs to be careful in this matter as it could face similar lawsuits from former Eastern Bloc countries, which could argue that they suffered tremendous humanitarian and material losses under de facto Soviet occupation, the report said.

 

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