Friday, January 28, 2005

Putin's Shame

Putin's address at Auschwitz contained some decidedly tortuous arguments and apologies. It contained not much shame, but a great deal of old propaganda. And once again the Baltic States are being held hostage by s neighbour who is still in deep denial:

Judith Ingram at AP filed a report which contained among other things the following:

[passage omitted]

Putin used his speech at the [Auschwitz] ceremony to respond to calls by leaders in the Baltic states for Moscow to renounce the secret addendum to the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which Nazi and Soviet leaders concluded in 1939 to divide up much of Eastern Europe, including Poland, in case war broke out.

Shortly after German troops entered Poland in September 1939, Soviet troops occupied the country's east. Soviet forces then occupied the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in June 1940 but were driven out by the Germans a year later. The Red Army retook the Baltics in 1944, and reincorporated them into the Soviet Union. The Baltic states gained independence only after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.

If Russia were to renounce the secret pact, it would tacitly be acknowledging some responsibility for World War II -- a stance seen as sacrilege in a country that lost some 27 million people during the conflict.

"Standing on this tormented soil, we should firmly and unequivocally say that any attempts to rewrite history and put victims and their killers, liberators and occupiers on an equal footing are immoral and unacceptable for those people who consider themselves Europeans," Putin said, referring to the Baltic states' recent entry into the European Union.

[passage omitted]

(via Marius)


Volodymyr Campaign said...

I see that Francis Ford Coppola has congratulated him on his 'excellent speech.' But then I'm sure he is an expert on Baltic politics.

David McDuff said...

I haven't read the Coppola "feedback" - do you have a link?

I think it's not just the Baltic States that are uneasy about the speech - it also affects most of Eastern Europe, which must by now be feeling quite a chill. And this from the supposedly "Westernizing" Putin.

Volodymyr Campaign said...

I've put the Coppola story on our blog: