The National Interest, a magazine self-described as “America’s voice for strategic realism,” published an article, “The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II” by the totalitarian democrat, Vladimir Putin, on 18 June 2020. The link is: https://nationalinterest.org/feature/vladimir-putin-real-lessons-75th-anniversary-world-war-ii-162982?page=0%2C2
Mr Putin states that “the Nazis were defeated first and foremost by the Soviet people…” One can excuse this as an excess of patriotic zeal, perhaps, but we are not sure whether the other countries that hazarded blood and treasure in that effort would choke on their Weeties at Putin’s breathtaking conceit. Where, for example, was the Soviet Union when Churchill declared that England would prove “once again able to defend our island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.“
We smile at Russian crowing about ending WWII because they had a big hand in starting WWII. As Mr. Putin says:
“The Germans suggested formalizing the new status quo. On September 28, 1939 Joachim von Ribbentrop and V.Molotov signed in Moscow the Boundary and Friendship Treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union, as well as the secret protocol on changing the state border, according to which the border was recognized at the demarcation line where the two armies de-facto stood.”
In other words, the Soviet’s cozy deal with Germany allowed Hitler to run rampant across Western Europe while Russians quietly engulfed and devoured the East. It was only when Hitler, overwhelmed with hubris, launched an attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, that the Russians were dragged kicking and screaming into the fight. They fought very well, but were essentially defending themselves, not any principle or other peoples.
Mr. Putin made us gasp at this Big Lie (our emphases):
“In autumn 1939, the Soviet Union, pursuing its strategic military and defensive goals, started the process of the incorporation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Their accession to the USSR was implemented on a contractual basis, with the consent of the elected authorities. This was in line with international and state law of that time. Besides, in October 1939, the city of Vilna and the surrounding area, which had previously been part of Poland, were returned to Lithuania. The Baltic republics within the USSR preserved their government bodies, language, and had representation in the higher state structures of the Soviet Union.”
Tell that to the souls of the murdered Balts who lost their positions, their families, their freedoms, their land and their lives. The casual occupation of the Baltic States and other eastern European ‘satellites’ was illegal, immoral and infamous. Ask an Estonian about the Golden Age of Soviet Rule! This fantasy of legitimacy advanced by Putin reflects Garry Kasparov’s view that “Putin’s early themes of restoring the national pride and structure that were lost with the fall of the USSR have slowly run out of steam and been replaced with a toxic mixture of nationalism, belligerence, and hatred.”
AND ONE MORE THING:
In February 2022, Putin gave an address purporting to justify his invasion of Ukraine. He claimed that this land was Russian land. He also asserted that “modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia or, to be more precise, by Bolshevik, communist Russia.”
Yet more fantasy. Certainly Tsar Alexis took “the shining prize of Kiev, mother of all Russian cities and the birthplace of Russian Christianity“* in the mid 1600s from Poland, but the rich black earth of Ukraine was inhabited by Cossacks and Tartars, not Russians. And yes, the Soviets took control of those lands after a brief period of independence. The Ukrainian language was stifled under the tender mercies of Stalinist rule. It would be more accurate to observe that modern Ukraine was entirely monstered by Russia or, to be more precise, by Bolshevik, communist Russia. Under Stalin, famine and murder were Ukraine’s biggest imports. And after the Soviet Union lobbed into History’s dustbin, Ukraine had at least a shot at freedom. But not in Mr. Putin’s nightmare fantasy world of shadows, fog, blood and screams.[* Robert K. Massie, Peter the Great (1980) p. 13.]
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