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Is Putin Repeating the Mistakes of the Past in Ukraine

I know that what is happening now in the Crimea is not a Jewish related topic, but this situation is so patently absurd that I just had to say something about it. If David wants to he can remove this post.

You really have to hand it to Vladimir Putin. This is a man who not only has no sense of irony but who is also totally lacking in any sense or knowledge of history. Case and point: what he has done since the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was deposed.

First Vladimir Putin declared the members of the Ukrainian Parliament and its new government to be mutineers as if he had any business doing so. Then he said that it was Russia’s place to ensure that Ukraine’s legitimate President, Yanukovych, remain in power.

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

Now why was Yanukovych deposed in the first place? Oh that’s right, he tried to do in his country exactly what Putin did in Russia and what Morsi tried to do in Egypt: Yanukovych tried to use the powers of his office, an office to which he was democratically elected, to usurp and undo his country’s democracy and make himself into a dictator. I guess he should have learned from his Russian master and made sure to buy off the military first. It seems that by standing on the sidelines during last month’s protests the Ukrainian military in effect sided with the rebels by not supporting Yanukovych.

So what was the first pretext for Putin’s Ukrainian intervention? To restore the rightful government there, as if Russia has a right to interfere with another nation’s domestic politics. I think that I might have heard of something like this having happened once before. It may have even involved Russia. Oh that’s right. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 on the pretext of saving that country’s communist government from an illegitimate coup, but really to expand militarily into the Middle east and onto the door step of the world’s biggest oil producers.

The Crimean Peninsula

The Crimean Peninsula

I also seem to recall the Soviet Union doing something similar in 1968 in Czechoslovakia. Then the pretext was to save the legitimate communist revolution in that country from the illegitimate government that had become a tool of the imperialist West. Oh and the Soviet Union also did the same thing in Hungary in 1956, only then they invaded before the masses of Hungarians protesting in the streets could topple their Russian imposed communist regime. I guess Putin is kicking himself right now for not having acted sooner and before the deposition of Yanukovych.

See what I mean about Putin lacking a sense of irony.

Now let’s look at Putin’s pretext for massing his army on the border of Ukraine and his current invasion of Crimea. Why is he doing this? Well it is simple really. Putin needs to protect the Russian ethnic minority in Ukraine. A minority so repressed that it constitutes a majority in the eastern third of its country where Russian is the spoken language. Also, Crimea is really historically part of Russia and should not have been included in Ukraine when the Soviet Union disbanded in 1992. So it is now up to Vladimir Putin to right a wrong that was for some reason made by the communist leaders of the Soviet Union ninety years ago and reaffirmed by successive Russian governments in the more than twenty years since the break up of the Soviet Union.

Now lets see if you can think of a well known world leader from the Twentieth century who made similar arguments about his nation’s ethnic brothers living in other countries and territories that should have been included in his nation but were wrongfully excluded from it when the map of Europe was redrawn after World War I.

Take your time.

Give up?

I’m talking about Hitler.

Let’s see now, where to begin. Hitler said that Austria should have become part of greater Germany since the people there also spoke German so he invaded and annexed it in 1936. Then he said that ethnic Germans were in the majority in the Sudetenland — the frontier region between Germany and Czechoslovakia – and that they were being persecuted and that the Sudetenland was really part of Germany. So then, with England’s consent, he annexed the Sudetenland and later invaded and conquered all of Czechoslovakia.

Finally, of course, there was Poland. Hitler claimed half of Poland as being really part of greater Germany and accused the poles of persecuting ethnic Germans in Poland. So on September first, 1939, he invaded and conquered Poland.

Can anybody tell me what war followed?

So, Mr. Putin, you are in good company. You are following in the footsteps of your predecessors – leaders of the Soviet Union which was created simply as a guise for a greater Russia – Nikita Khrushchev who invaded Hungary and Leonid Brezhnev who invaded Czechoslovakia. You are also, of course, following the lead of a great man and great friend of the Russian people, Adolph Hitler.

Now lets see what would happen if other countries in the world followed your example Vladimir.

The United States invades and annexes Baja California (look it up on a map) in Mexico because, after all, the peninsula is the natural extension of California. Besides, it should have been included in all of the territory that America conquered from Mexico in the Mexican-American War of 1847 anyway.

China invades and conquers Vietnam in order to protect the Chinese minority there which has been persecuted by the Vietnamese majority.

France invades and annexes the southern half of Belgium in order to protect the ethnic French there. While they’re at it the French also invade Switzerland and annex the ethnically French parts of that country.

Israel invades and annexes the Sinai Peninsula in order to protect the Bedouin community there. The Bedouins in the Sinai have complained about Egyptian persecution since Israel left the area more than thirty years ago. The Bedouin have close familial ties to Israeli Bedouin who asked Israel to take action on their brothers’ behalf. And besides the Jews once wandered in the Sinai for forty years so we should really have it be part of Israel.

Finally, Germany invades Poland to reacquire the parts of Poland that were once part of Germany, such as East Prussia, but were wrongly handed to the Poles by the Russians after World War II just to punish Germany. The Germans also need to protect the ethnic German minority there.

O.K., maybe that one was a bit too much.

Gil

Gil Tanenbaum made aliyah from New York after he completed college.He Has lived in Israel for over 20 years.He has an MBA from Bar Ilan University and is a contributor for various blogs.

1 Comment

  1. isah

    3/5/2014 at 6:58 am

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