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What Vlad Forgot to Mention on Victory Day

Erik D'Amato cikke a Blog rovatból, 2007. május 10. csütörtök, 18:01 | 20 hozzászólás

were%20back.jpgAs I said last Friday, Rupert Murdoch and other would-be media monopolists don't scare me. But I, like lots of other people living in countries just a few days' drive by tank from the Russian border, am starting to get more than a little creeped out by Russian dictator President Vladimir Putin, and the whole ruszki "we're back!" circus act in general. But after hearing about how Putin went on a big tear at yesterday's "Victory Day" celebrations in Moscow slyly comparing the US and other members of NATO (e.g., Hungary) to the Nazis, I am also royally pissed off.

If you didn't have the pleasure of reading Putin's speech, his basic "point" was that the lessons learned from World War II are still valid today. "We do not have the right to forget the causes of any war, which must be sought in the mistakes and errors of peacetime," he said.

I couldn't agree more. Except for one minor detail he forgot to mention: That one of the primary "causes" of World War II was Russia.

lets-screw-poland.jpgYep, that's right. Even though decades of brainwashing and apologetics have successfully convinced even many historically astute people otherwise, the fact remains that WWII started with a concerted, and breathtakingly cynical, carve-up of Poland and the Baltic between Germany and the USSR. Of course, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (that's R. and the big S. smiling at right over their dirty deal) came to an end when Hitler invaded Russia, and the Western Allies only saw fit to declare war on Germany and its core allies. But that doesn't change the fact that, until Hitler decided to turn on Stalin, the two were as thick as thieves. That they fell out while committing their crime - and that one convinced the "police" that he was actually a victim - doesn't change a thing.

(Meanwhile, speaking of mass amnesia, can someone explain to me why people in the West call the anniversary of the end of World War I "Armistice Day" but call the equivalent WWII celebration "V-E Day" or "Victory in Europe Day," when the West's original war aim - freeing Poland from outside control - was not achieved? And if it's okay to celebrate the "victory" in a war you fought for a purpose that in the end you never actually achieved, can we just go ahead and start celebrating "Victory in Iraq" day?)

It's not surprising that so many people would forget, or want to forget - or make others forget - about the truth of Russia's role as one of the two main parties that made this greatest of human tragedies possible. But it's nevertheless a horrendous bit of revisionism, and, given where thing are going over in Oroszország, more than a bit dangerous, too. So I call you out, Vlad, you BS artist, and will continue to, at least until it becomes too scary.

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1

Dr. Minorka, 2007. május 10. csütörtök, 18:32 (#)

What Erik Forgot, Round One:
These facts obviously have nothing to do with the second war, and of course they were made possible by Joe bácsi cooperating with Adolf...(see appeasement)
"Adolf Hitler used the opportunity and, supported by Konrad Henlein's Sudeten German National Socialist Party, gained the almost wholly German speaking Sudetenland through the Munich Agreement. Poland occupied areas with Polish minority around Český Těšín, while Slovakia gained greater autonomy, with the state being renamed to "Czecho-Slovakia". Eventually Slovakia broke away further in March 1939, allied to Hitler´s coalition and the remaining Czech territory was occupied by Hitler who installed the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, which was proclaimed part of the Reich "
Wikipédia
What Erik Forgot, Round Two:
There was a particularly stupid, shortsighted Western support to Yelcin ... you get what you deserve.

2

Dr. Minorka, 2007. május 10. csütörtök, 18:58 (#)

Let me take the liberty to invoke Roosevelt's famous State of the Union Address he delivered to the 77th United States Congress on January 6, 1941:
"In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants - everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb. "
Not only freeing Poland from outside controll was not attained...

3

Author Profile Page stsmork, 2007. május 10. csütörtök, 21:40 (#)

Karl Marx wrote somewhere (I can no longer find the source, sorry) that the final aim of Russian politics has always been world domination. Although I don't believe that Vlad's tanks would ride across Europe anytime soon to achieve this dream, I am genuinely frightened of his pipeline business. Hiking the price of natural gas or cutting back on supplies just a little bit may be just as effective as sending tanks in the good old days.

4

dolphin, 2007. május 10. csütörtök, 22:42 (#)

stsmork,

there's a substantial amount of scaremongering about the pipeline stuff. People tend to forget that the Soviet Union was one of the biggest gas exporters to Europe (and no, not only the satellite states) during the Cold War (to the annoyance of Washington), and it was a reliable one. That's beacuse the dependence goes both ways: Europe gets most of its gas from Russia, but it is also Russia's biggest market at the moment, and the Russians can't really afford to loose that market at the moment.
That said, I agree, the huge reliance on exported fuels, should make every serious person concerned. The truth is, until the reliance of gas and oil is a fact of life, countries like Russia, Iran and Venezuela will always have a bigger influence on everyday life than we would like. But the only way out is to get our act together and develop technologies that will ensure the EU's energy independence.

5

monika, 2007. május 11. péntek, 10:48 (#)

When the Versailles Treaty was signed after the first World War, the French politician Marshal Foch said "This is not peace; it is an armistice for twenty years.” Military action of course did not start with Poland - there was the attack on Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1934, the Anschluss in 1938, the annexation of the Czech territories in 1938, and I am sure I have forgotten bits and pieces :-).

6

xab, 2007. május 11. péntek, 10:56 (#)

To Erik: IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH as some ex-communist wirter put it a while ago. This article is well in line with those about Russia in the Hungarian and most western media. (e.g. yesterday's index shit about communist demonstrations during 'den pobedy') The vast majority of journalists know nothing about Russia, its history, inner politics and so on, but writing articles has nothing to do about these around here, it seems.
Yes, in most Russian minds WWII. was a fight against fascism, a heroic effort, which it was indeed. Why don't you stand up and tell these millions of people that it was not. Yes, your right in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, Stalins crimes and etc., but had Russia not fought this war, we would have been speaking German (in the best case), which would certainly solve your struggle with the Hungarian language.:)

And wars are fought for interests, and the Soviet state had interests too, as does Russia today. The reason why the western media tries to diabolize VP for his actions, is that he made a working state out of the Yeltsin heritage (which the West has a large part in) , which was a huge mess and he is capable of putting those interest through. He, for instance, took control over the little tsar-oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Hodorkovsky et al. Do you think Mr. Berezovsky is really fighting for Russian democracy?? He had his chances while serving as the private banker of the Yeltsin clan, but achieved little.

Recommended film: Oligarch (financed by BB, who is interviewed for 30 minutes on the dvd, proving that his financial empire grew out of efforts of young innocent enthusiasts, without even a frowning look of business partners. HAHAHA. Thats a zillion times more grotesque than Mr. Aba speaking in the intro of Control:))

7

pblue, 2007. május 11. péntek, 11:23 (#)

#4, dolphin, "That's beacuse the dependence goes both ways: Europe gets most of its gas from Russia, but it is also Russia's biggest market at the moment, and the Russians can't really afford to loose that market at the moment."

there's a three times bigger potential market than europe in the neighbourhood of russia. it's three times bigger in _every_ aspects you can ever think about (population, economic growth, etc)

8

Psyche, 2007. május 11. péntek, 13:20 (#)

Yes, I agree, xab has a point. Although Stalin's crimes and the role of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in triggering the WWII are obvious, I think that there was a big bad guy that time, and without the Soviet Union, he could not be defeated. Well, at least it had been uncertain. But I'm not a historian, so it's not the subject I want to comment. What is irritating me is the widely broadcasted scare from the new Russian economic power, especially the natural resources. I certainly agree that we need to develop new technologies instead of the oil-based ones. Not because only of our dependency on the Russian import, but also to establish a more sustainable economy. But to critise Russian export policy from an economical or a moral view? To impeach them why do they sell their goods as much as they can or to whom to they want? Wake up guys, that's the market! It's no wonder that Russia has its own interests just as other countries have. And it works for them.
The same goes to other topics addressing Russian policies nowadays, like the one mentioned in Erik's post or the Eastern European missile deployment.

And a bonus story for Erik: a few months ago I had a dinner with a senior professor from Pittsburgh who has grown up after the WWII. She told me that in her childhood, she was constantly scared to death of the Russians. Not just of their power or a nuclear bomb or any theoretical strike, but she was scared of the Russian soldier who breaks her door and shoots her in her bed. Was that fear real? Was there any chance to conquer the USA by the Soviet Union? Even if there was, should a little girl have been terrorized by this infinitesimally small probability? So, that's what I call brainwashing. And although it was in the 50's and you think it's over now, your definitely one-sided view of Russia reminds me that it's not gone at all. If you have the courage to not to scare of the richest people, I'm sure, you have the courage to face a mirror too before calling out the president of the biggest country of the world :)

9

Dr. Minorka, 2007. május 11. péntek, 14:29 (#)

"Wake up guys, that's the market! It's no wonder that Russia has its own interests just as other countries have."
It is definitely not a market issue! It is using the economic power on behalf of a perceived political interest. That is the annoying/frightening perspective.

10

dolphin, 2007. május 11. péntek, 14:36 (#)

pblue,

in the absence of pipelines, that market is nonexistent at the moment. It might not always be that way, that's true, but at the moment it's like that.

11

Psyche, 2007. május 11. péntek, 15:09 (#)

It IS a market issue. It's as simple as it seems.
I am a seller.
demand/supply demand/supply > 1 : the buyers need me and I can choose among them.

Let's take a look on the small scale: we are at the playground, I have 8 matchboxes, you don't have any. Am I forced to give you one of my matchboxes? (Hint: no, not at all. Tell your mother to buy some.)

Let's take a look on the large scale: you are a country lacking of drinking water. I have a lot. But I don't like you, because the people in your country wear feathery hat which I don't agree with. I tell you that I will be able to sell you some water as soon as you prohibit your people to wear those ugly hats. Is the screen familiar? (Hint: yes, that is called embargo policy, which we frequently use to punish those countries which we don't like enough.)

Certainly I am also concerned about the fact that Europe is heavily relied on the Russian fuel. What I try to emphasize here is just we do not have the right to call their actions immoral or dictatorial. We play by the same rules. By the nature's rules of the market.

And just a note: what we expect from Russia is not to get the goods we need. We want to get them for the lowest available price. Russia is not only source for oil or gas. It's just the closest and therefore cheapest one.

12

Psyche, 2007. május 11. péntek, 15:11 (#)

Oops.

demand/supply is smaller than 1 : I need all the buyers,
demand/supply is greater than 1 : the buyers need me and I can choose among them.

13

Author Profile Page Erik, 2007. május 11. péntek, 15:17 (#)

Hmmmmm... I'm not sure what most of those comments have to do with my point, which is simply that it should not be forgotten that WWII was actually started as a joint project by Europe's two leading totalitarian states, rather than (as commonly believed) by Germany alone. But as Dr. Minorka nicely demonstrates with his (I assume) unintentionally hilarious comments, lots of people who you'd think should be well educated enough to grasp this fact somehow lose the plot. (Memo to Dr. M: That the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia was accepted as a fait accompli by the allies confirms my point, rather than weakening it.)

Dolphin (#4) makes an excellent argument, which I would extend further by saying that no country is morally obliged to sell a resource if it chooses otherwise (assuming it has not contracted to do so). However, there is no disputing that the Russians do on occasion use their market power to monster pesky little countries they feel do not kiss the Kremlin's ass hard enough. (If you don't agree, I have a Georgian friend living in Budapest I'd like to introduce you to.)

As for Psyche's "bonus story" (#8) about historic and contemporary American "Russophobia," I have no doubt it's true, and agree, it's a little goofy. (Not much chance of Ivan kicking down the door in Muncie, Indiana, or wherever that terrified American was having their nightmare.) But I consider this 1/100,000 as strange as the fact that so many Hungarian seem to have *no* fear of Ivan kicking down the door, given that he's done it twice in the last 150 years.

On the other hand, this fear of Ivan also explains why people like Gyurcsi so enthusiastically kiss Putin's ass.

14

Psyche, 2007. május 11. péntek, 15:32 (#)

#13, Erik

"there is no disputing that the Russians do on occasion use their market power to monster pesky little countries they feel do not kiss the Kremlin's ass hard enough."

Just like the _Americans_ do on occasion use their _military_ power to monster pesky little countries they feel do not kiss the _White House_'s ass hard enough.

It's not a Russia-related story, it's a power-related story.

And if you have the chance to choose between being forced by market or military power, I have no doubt which one will you choose.

15

Psyche, 2007. május 11. péntek, 15:38 (#)

#13, Erik,

"I'm not sure what most of those comments have to do with my point"

Yes, you're right. But sometimes the audience find other things interesting than the lecturer does. One thing, what I wanted to point out is the widespread custom in the media to write about Russia without the hmmm...hmmm reasonable knowledge of the subject.

But maybe Tyutchev had the point: "With the mind you cannot understand Russia, in Russia you can only believe."

16

Psyche, 2007. május 11. péntek, 15:42 (#)

Sorry, I cannot miss the chance to cite this poem in Hungarian. The English translation is a shit.

Oroszországot, ész, el nem éred;
méter, sing sose méri fel:
külön úton jár ott az élet -
Oroszországban hinni kell!

17

Author Profile Page Erik, 2007. május 11. péntek, 16:03 (#)

Psyche (#15)

"One thing, what I wanted to point out is the widespread custom in the media to write about Russia without the hmmm...hmmm reasonable knowledge of the subject."

Certainly no more widespread than the custom of people writing about the United States without etc etc.

Russia is no more a riddle wrapped in riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma than any other country. Just picture Nigeria with white people, some bears and lots of vodka and hydrogen bombs.

(Apologies in advance to any Nigerians or bears who are reading.)

18

Dr. Minorka, 2007. május 11. péntek, 16:14 (#)

Erik!
You are using an other vocabulary than the rest of the world:) Actually the war was started by the Germans, Soviets invaded 17 days later. There is a definite, marked difference between to start a war, or to give a free hand to the agressor. Both the Soviets and the Western powers are guilty in giving a free hand to Hitler.
In case someone is interested in the facts (and the distrust, sheer stupidity, etc. leading to the war):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov-Ribbentrop_Pact
the text of the pact
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1939pact.html

Describing the appeasement of Adolf Hitler by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's government as "That the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia was accepted as a fait accompli by the allies confirms my point, rather than weakening it." means that you are out of touch with the historicial facts (at best).

19

Author Profile Page Erik, 2007. május 11. péntek, 16:38 (#)

Dr. Minorka (#18)

"You are using an other vocabulary than the rest of the world"

What can I say? I do my best...

20

Dr. Minorka, 2007. május 11. péntek, 17:25 (#)

"fait accompli"=accomplished fact
The Munich Agreement:
"A deal was reached, however, and on September 29, Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Benito Mussolini and Édouard Daladier signed the Munich Agreement. The Czechoslovak government capitulated (September 30) and agreed to abide by the agreement. The settlement gave Germany the Sudetenland starting October 10, and de facto control over the rest of Czechoslovakia as long as Hitler promised to go no further."
As of September 29 what were the accomplished facts?

Putin made an unjust, unfounded, offensive statement (compared US to the Germany of Hitler). Alas, your response was also an unjust, unfounded statement.


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