It’s the question that everyone has been talking about recently. It’s possibly what even more people have been thinking to themselves. Is Putin acting like Hitler?
Putin has on more than one occasion said the fall of the Soviet Union was a catastrophe. It’s hard to find anyone from Eastern Europe who thinks that. These nations that Soviet Russia conquered during WW2 and whose people were so desperate for freedom that they were shot trying to escape or simply disappeared if they didn’t appear loyal enough. I have family in East Europe, friends from there and have visited countries there several times and none of them like Russia and none of them want to have anything to do with Russia.
Almost all of the former Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe are unrecognisably wealthier and freer than under communism. Tiny little countries like Estonia who face daily intimidation from their former rulers in Moscow. The reason is that their governments and their people cherish freedom and they spend their money on improving the lives of their people rather than vast armies and bribery of officials. In fact only two European countries have barely improved; Belarus the only dictatorship in Eastern Europe whose leader is a close ally of Russia and Ukraine itself that never managed to join the EU and was repeatedly trapped under Russian influence.
Putin’s big hero is Stalin. Stalin of course is famous for being one of only two people (the other being Mao Zedong of China) of being responsible for the deaths of more people than Hitler. The glorious Soviet leader saw off 40 million souls whilst the hated Hitler exterminated 30 million people. It is also worth noting that Stalinist Russia sided with Nazi Germany in WW2, something never noted in the Russian victory parades. Whilst no-one would dishonour the millions of brave though badly led Soviet soldiers who gave their lives in the fight Nazism, Soviet Russia under Stalin occupied parts of Finland, the Baltic States, eastern Poland parts of Romania and other areas.
Three major nations declared war upon Nazi Germany before they had to. Britain and France when Poland was invaded and then 2 years later, the United States after Pearl Harbour. The only major country with a tarnished record is Russia who kept up an alliance with Germany until one day they woke up and found that the Nazi’s had invaded them. Again after the war, the Allies didn’t ever consider keeping the nations they liberated unlike Russia.
There is no reason at all that Russia couldn’t be an extremely wealthy and happy country, the only thing stopping this is the system of government and self-serving leadership. Russia has more natural resources than any other country, it is one of the very few that is in no way at any risk of being over-populated. Those relative few Russians who make money soon move to London, the USA or the French Mediterranean but few if any western billionaires move to Moscow.
This week Prince Charles hit the news when in a private conversation with an elderly Canadian Jewish lady heard how she narrowly escaped the Nazis when they invaded Poland even with some of her family being murdered. It would be hard not to sympathise with her which is what the future King of England did when he continued to remark that “And now Putin is doing pretty much the same as Hitler”. She later told the media:
“I must say that I agree with him and am sure a lot of people do.
“But I was very surprised that he made the comment as I know they [members of the Royal Family] aren’t meant to say these things.
“I told the Prince that while my family and I were lucky to get a permit to travel, many members of my relatives had permits but were unable to get out before the war broke out on September 1.
“They were sent to the concentration camps and died.”
Whilst Prince Charles has a chequered history of stating his personal views, he is most likely thinking what many reasonable people are thinking. As a private citizen he is allowed to say what he wants, whether or not we agree with it or whether or not there should be a monarchy and the leaders of the 3 main British political parties all vaguely agreed with his sentiments.
Strangely the state controlled Russian media which is never unhappy to argue with Britain or other western states have downplayed the comments. Perhaps many people agree with the sentiment or more likely Putin doesn’t want to encourage discontent in his country by bringing up the comparison in the first place.
So what similarities do Hitler and Putin have? Those who disagree most strongly with Prince Charles point out that whilst Hitler himself killed millions of people, Putin hasn’t yet done so. However both men picked on minorities. Hitler on Jews and ethnic groups, Putin on homosexuals and minority groups.
Both men had problems with dissent. Hitler had the opposition imprisoned and killed. Putin trumps up accusations of treachery and fraud against political or business leaders and even girl bands who annoy him whilst investigative journalists are murdered and foreign dissidents are poisoned. If you disagree with President Obama or Prime Minister Cameron, you can protest to your heart’s content. Good luck with the anti-Putin protests in Russia.
Hitler of course was many things but he wasn’t a total idiot. He knew it was better to conquer as much of the world as he could without a war and so in the 1930’s he quietly occupied various territories. He militarised the Rhine Valley, then occupied Austria and later annexed parts of what was Czechoslovakia. The Great Powers condemned him but were afraid to confront Hitler and get into another big war. Instead the policy of appeasement gave Hitler the chance to invade Poland before WW2 was declared. Hitler didn’t care what the people’s of these lands thought just as Putin doesn’t care what those of his neighbours think.
I’ve been asserting that Putin is a dictator on the roads to Hitler like stardom since 2000 when he led a second Russian invasion of independent Chechenya with over 250,000 civilians killed and almost as many more vanished.
in 2008 Putin occupied a substantial part of northern Georgia without anyone helping the tiny country. He supported Assad in Syria and saw no opposition and now has invaded Crimea and is up to no good in eastern Ukraine. He says he is there to protect Russian citizens but they are only there because of the Soviet tactics of moving people’s around to colonise lands in much the same way China does with Chinese immigrants into Tibet and its western provinces. Crimea is not a traditionally Russia area, it was for centuries a Greek territory and then for 330 years an Ottoman Turkish province. It became Russian after it was conquered in 1783 where it generally stayed until 1954. By my terrible maths, it seems going by Putins logic it should be Greek or Turkish rather than Russian. Or maybe the whole of Russia should just be ruled by Mongolia seeing as the Mongols once ran the whole vast country before there was a real Russia.
Another element Hitler and Putin have in common is propaganda. We in the west don’t even believe our leaders when they say they have done something which they have indeed done. Hitler was great at propaganda. He was a powerful orator and under Joseph Goebbels as Propaganda Minister Nazi Germany made patriotic movies, books, posters, radio plays, marches, rallies, newspapers and posters on everything from German superiority to Jewish hatred to complaints on how much money disabled Germans cost the nation… in order to create an atmosphere where they could be disappeared.
Putin doesn’t kill disabled people but like the West of 50 years ago, they are ignored and hidden away rather like gays and ethnic minorities. Nashi summer camps are held where teenagers and young adults partake in patriotic fun where as well as camping, over 100,000 a year are taught how to insult political opposition figures and foreign groups and nations. Not a little unlike the Hitler Youth.
Putin though is an expert at propaganda. He is quite simply the combination of James Bond and Indiana Jones in a single muscle-clad middle-aged and rather homosexual looking body. Whether he is bareback horse-riding in Siberia, hunting in the forests, sometimes with no top on, fishing again sometimes with no top on, playing the piano (this time with a top on), scuba diving and discovering priceless artefacts, racing cars, flying helicopters, playing hockey then Putin is your man. In fact the only thing he doesn’t seem to be very good at is democracy and improving the welfare of his people, which is a little unfortunate for a President.
That’s probably why Putin has spent the week with that other major power well-known for democracy, intimidating neighbours and strong civil rights, China.
Whether Putin is really like Hitler or not, he doesn’t seem like a very nice chap to me and as someone who has studied the past and present situation a great deal, I think more than ever it is a fair comparison. Whilst I’d be very happy for Russian WW2 veterans to attend the upcoming D-Day events this June, I wouldn’t have Putin as I don’t believe OUR fallen soldiers would want to be honoured by his presence.
Russia yesterday lashed out at Prince Charles for comparing Vladimir Putin to Hitler, publicly questioning his fitness to be king.
As controversy continued to rage around the world, Russia’s foreign ministry said his remarks were ‘unacceptable, outrageous and dishonourable’ and ‘not worthy of a future British monarch’.
Russian diplomats insisted on meeting counterparts in London, where they are understood to have demanded an official explanation. But the frosty 40-minute talks at the Foreign Office in London ended without agreement when British officials flatly refused to discuss Charles’s words – and instead attacked Russia for seeking to destabilise eastern Ukraine.
Of course it is not just Ukraine, Russian politicians and strategic advisers have been commenting on possible Russian ambitions on several European countries from Finland in the north to Moldova in the south. Russian jets and bombers frequently enter and threaten to enter the airspace of their neighbours and the RAF scrambles fighter planes every month, sometimes several times a month to intercept Russian military aircraft heading into British airspace. None of these are friendly actions and British airspace is never threatened by any other nation.
In a real democracy people are allowed to criticise their leaders, we do it all the time even on prime time tv shows. We insult our leaders, mock the Royal Family, laugh at foreign leaders too if they are particularly bad. Maybe Putin isn’t used to hearing what people really think of him and he is finding that the truth hurts. One doesn’t have to share every attribute with another person to be compared unfavourably with them and so on that basis I’d say if the boot fits, wear it.