Putin’s Lies for the Naïve
Vladimir Putin has again dove into the pages of history in order to rewrite what happened, offer new spins, and present Russia in the best light possible as a peacemaker and team builder rather than the imperial, cruel aggressor that it has always been.
In an article in the German weekly Die Zeit that appeared on June 22, 2021, titled “Being Open, Despite the Past,” Putin bemoans the Nazi invasion of USSR eight decades ago, which led to what Stalin and others in The Kremlin referred to as The Great Patriotic War and the death of tens of millions of Soviet people (sic). He fosters Soviet fake historiography of lumping all casualties under the rubric of Soviet rather than by nationality. Nevertheless, the Russian führer indicated his willingness to forgive and forget as he today seeks Russia’s acceptance as an equal partner of European development.
Putin writes: “Despite attempts to rewrite the pages of the past that are being made today, the truth is that Soviet soldiers came to Germany not to take revenge on the Germans, but with a noble and great mission of liberation. We hold sacred the memory of the heroes who fought against Nazism. We remember with gratitude our allies in the anti-Hitler coalition, participants in the Resistance movement, and German anti-fascists who brought our common victory closer.”
The so-called Russian liberators were known for their butchery and rape of German women. Their noble and great mission of liberation was, in fact, to seize and subjugate foreign countries, imprison and execute the national freedom fighters and temporary national governments, install their gauleiters and rule with impunity until the USSR – Soviet Russia or the Evil Empire – finally collapsed in 1991.
Sadly, none of this would have come to pass if the allied leaders hadn’t agreed to surrender Eastern Europe to the invading Red Army. In May 1945, in the final days of World War II, western Czecho-Slovakia was liberated by U.S. forces under General Patton. While many American commanders and troops were eager to head east and liberate the capital city of Prague, they were ordered to stay put in Konstantinovy Lazne. President Harry Truman, General Dwight Eisenhower and Prime Minister Winston Churchill were keen to avoid conflict with Stalin, who saw Eastern Europe as the spoils of war after defeating the Nazis and a way to easily expand its empire. Patton was ordered to halt his advance west of Prague. In the end, most of Czecho-Slovakia was occupied by the Red Army, sealing its fate as a Russian captive nation.
A couple of years later Churchill voiced his mea culpa and mourned that fateful decision by declaring that an iron curtain had descended across Europe, with Russian subjugated nations to the east and the democratic free world to the west.
Putin consciously overlooked mentioning that the invading Nazi Army was until June 22, 1941, an allied military force due to the historic political alignment of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia in the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement. Putin couldn’t merely remind the magazine’s readers – and his own people – that Russia and Stalin had found it prudent and expedient to become allies with the Nazis in order to conquer and divide. Ironically, both were equal perpetrators of crimes against humanity though of different colors. The pact also opened the door to bloody Russian recriminations against members of the Ukrainian nationalist underground – the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists – and others who fought and advocated for Ukrainian independence.
Putin wrote that the peoples of Europe were able to overcome alienation that was brought upon them by the war and restore mutual trust and respect. He said Russia had hoped that the end of the Cold War, which came with the collapse of the USSR – would be a common victory for Europe in creating a “single continent.” Again Putin neglects to admit that Moscow’s intent throughout its ignoble history has been to create by aggression or assimilation a single continent or single empire that spanned the globe.
“It is exactly with this logic in mind – the logic of building a Greater Europe united by common values and interests – that Russia has sought to develop its relations with the Europeans. Both Russia and the EU have done a lot on this path,” he wrote.
The Russian dictator failed to inform the readers that the European nations that had been liberated from Nazi oppression only to fall under Russian bondage rejected the concept of a single continent. They were happy to live in their own independent countries. Soon after Berlin’s capitulation, Moscow’s captive nations undertook another war of liberation. Poland, East Germany, Hungary and Czecho-Slovakia famously stood up to Russian dominance. With Nazi Germany defeated, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) continued its war of liberation against Moscow until the early 1960s. Even the intellectual, human rights Helsinki movement was a liberation campaign against Russia and russification.
No, there’s wasn’t a European quest for a single continent except in the minds of The Kremlin’s leadership.
It is not surprising then that once liberation came in 1990-91 the former captive nations of Russian subjugation clamored to join the European Union and NATO. For them these structures are the only bastion against another Russian invasion and they can ensure regional and global peace and security. Fortunately, most of them have been accepted while Ukraine is still on the waiting list due to the free world’s unsubstantiated fear of Russian retribution.
Putin continued fabricating facts by accusing the United States of instigating the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 that signaled to the world that some seven decades after the end of World War II the Ukrainian nation still refuses to accept Moscow’s dictatorship. The people – by some estimates more than 2 million from around the country and even the CIA doesn’t have that much power to mobilize that large of a civilian army – decided to strike a final blow against Russian repression, rid itself of Moscow’s gauleiter and truly embark on an independent and sovereign future.
And again, true to its behavior, Moscow couldn’t allow valuable Ukraine to escape its claws so a couple of weeks after the conclusion of the Winter Olympics in 2014 it invaded, seized and occupied Crimea. Then that spring it invaded the eastern Ukrainian oblasts of Luhansk and Donetsk, where it has been waging a bloody war ever since.
No, Mr. Putin, you and Moscow aren’t seeking a single, peaceful, harmonious continent in Europe. You are seeking to spread your empire, the so-called Holy Russian Empire with its two-headed eagle, under the guise of coherence, equitable cooperation, partnership, inclusive development.
Also, the Nazi invasion that Putin cites first tore through Western Ukraine and triggered the Red Army to invade from the east, bringing with it its comparable version of blood and death. June 22 also marks the 80thanniversary of the Red Army’s murder of 24,000 Ukrainians that it had incarcerated in prisons of Western Ukraine.
Eight days later, on June 30, 1941, the leadership of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists proclaimed the restoration of independent Ukrainian statehood.
Ukraine and the other former captive nations just can’t let bygones be bygones until reparations are made.