February 2, 1944

Move Could Impact “New Europe”
LONDON, England—A unanimous vote last night by the Supreme Soviet, which is the Russian Parliament, has granted the sixteen member republics of the Soviet Union full autonomy in defense and foreign affairs as it has reorganized into a commonwealth. This move is seen as groundwork for the Soviet Union to claim governing rights over the Eastern European countries it liberates from the Nazis, including Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and others that share a border with the Soviet Union. The move also brings to question if Russia will demand representation of all sixteen republics in peace talks at the end of the war in Europe. Russian Foreign Commissar (foreign secretary) Vyacheslav Molotov, who introduced the legislation, said reorganization into a commonwealth is a “…new step forward in the solution of the nationality question…” in reference to the Soviet Union being composed of many unique nationalities.

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