Soviet Russia and the Border States

March 1, 1943

Report Outline
Emerging Problem of Soviet Postwar Border
The Border States Between Two Wars
Soviet Moves at Outbreak of World War II
The Border Territory in 1943

Emerging Problem of Soviet Postwar Border

With the Red Army steadily pushing the German lines back toward the western boundaries of the U. S. S. R., there has been a sharp revival of interest in the intentions of the Soviet government with respect to the border countries. In less than three months of their winter offensive the Soviet forces in the south had advanced from Stalingrad on the Volga nearly to Dniepropetrovsk on the bulge of the Dnieper River almost 450 miles to the west, and only 150 miles from the line of the prewar Rumanian boundary at the River Dniester. In the north the Red Army had advanced at one point to within 60 miles of the Latvian boundary.

At the outbreak of the present war, when Hitler's armies started rolling into Poland on the east, the Soviet government seised territories in the border states aggregating some 175,000 square miles—about three times the area of New England—to establish a buffer belt against the Nazis. The lands then seized had all been parts of the old Tsarist empire. The question now being raised is whether Stalin after the war will insist on retaining these territories—all now within the German lines—as part of the vast Soviet state, thus restoring them to their status as of the beginning of 1914, or whether he will turn them back, in whole or in part, to their status as of the beginning of 1939.

The Border States and the Atlantic Charter

The Soviet government adhered to the Declaration of the United Nations (January 2, 1942) which pledged allegiance to the principles of the Atlantic Charter, formulated by Roosevelt and Churchill and announced August 14, 1941, four months before the United States entered the war. The preamble of the Soviet treaty of alliance with Great Britain, May 26, 1942, again pledged the faith of Russia to the principles of the Atlantic Charter. In the body of the treaty it was stated (Article V) that the signatories would “act in accordance with the two principles of not seeking territorial aggrandizement for themselves and of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.”

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Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
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World War II