August 23rd is the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. This was a secret and criminal treaty that divided Eastern and Central Europe between Hitler and Stalin. It allowed Hitler to invade Poland a week later, without any fear that the USSR would intervene, and it allowed Stalin to crush the independence of the Baltic Countries and to seize half of the corpse of Poland for itself. Stalin also had a free hand to seize Bessarabia and turn that Romanian speaking land into a Soviet satrapy. Thus this monstrous bargain inflicted occupation and slavery on millions. All of course secret, since the Soviet authorities denied that any secret protocols existed- even when the German treaty text was published after the war.
Fifty years later. Millions of Estonian, Latvians and Lithuanians formed a chain to link Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius- the Baltic Chain. This protest was one of the high points of the singing revolution.
It is a triumph of the human spirit that such terror eventually gave way to such hope, and such hope gave way to such success.