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Vladimir Putin: a New Hitler

Copyright © 2014 by David E. Ross

No, this is not about a new holocaust. Although Russia's President Vladimir Putin pushed anti-gay legislation through the Duma, legislation that eerily resembles the beginnings of Adolph Hitler's Nuremburg Laws against Germany's Jews, this is about the other aspect of Hitler — a megalomaniac plan to become ruler of the world.

Germany lost World War I, and Russia lost the Cold War. Hitler tried to reverse Germany's loss, and Putin is trying to reverse Russia's loss.

After World War I, Czechoslovakia became an independent nation. Within its borders were many persons who were now Czech but whose ancestry was German, especially in the northern, southwest, and western areas (the Sudetenland). To build a "greater Germany", Hitler announced that he had to protect the Sudeten Germans from the Czech government. Of course, the Czech government was not oppressing its own Germanic population; the oppression they felt came from the Great Depression, which fell more heavily on the industrialized Sudetenland than on the agricultural interior. First, Hitler annexed the Sudetenland into Germany. Later, he annexed the rest of Czechoslovakia. The rest of the world protested but did nothing substantial to stop Hitler. Leaders of other nations expressed the hope that Hitler would be satisfied with the addition to Germany of such a relatively small nation. They were quite wrong!

political cartoon showing Vladimir Putin dining and eyeing a steak labeled 'Crimea' and saying 'That looks delicious … as a first course.

For several years, Putin has been trying to make the Ukraine into a Russian satellite. He almost succeeded with the election of Viktor Yanukovych (a Putin ally) as President of the Ukraine. Yanukovych cut off negotiations that would have brought the Ukraine into the European Union. In 2014, a popular revolution against the corruption and fiscal excesses of Yanukovych drove him out of the Ukraine and into exile in Russia.

In 1954, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR decreed that the Crimea was part of the Ukraine Soviet Socialist Republic, a situation that exists today after the dissolution of the USSR and the independence of the Ukraine. However, a large population of ethnic Russians (persons whose ancestry is Russian) live in the Crimea and also in eastern Ukraine. Immediately after the 2014 revolution, Putin asserted that he had to protect the ethnic Russians in the Crimea from oppression by the Ukraine government. He has also hinted that the ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine also require protection.

The parallels are obvious. The Crimea is Putin's Sudetenland, and the Ukraine is Putin's Czechoslovakia. (He already moved against Georgia, another part of the former USSR that is now an independent nation.)

What the rest of the world must realize is that Putin is a bully in the same mold as Hitler. Some have commented that perhaps the Ukraine should indeed be divided between ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians. They are quite wrong! Bullies are never appeased when their demands satisfied. They will always demand more. The only way to deal with a bully is to stand up and oppose him with the same strength as shown by the bully.

6 March 2014

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