In one breathtaking display of misinformation, Reuters would report in its article Putin will not attend Holocaust commemorations in Poland that, “Sources told Reuters on Monday that Putin was unlikely to join world leaders gathering at the site of the Auschwitz death camp because distrust caused by the conflict in Ukraine has cast a pall on arrangements.”
In reality, The Russian leader was never invited by Poland, the nation hosting the commemorations.
The geopolitical thrust and accompanying misinformation is designed to reinforce the perception that Russia is now a hegemonic threat, on par with Nazi Germany during World War II. Reality could not contradict this contrived narrative more.
On June 22, 1941, Operation Barbarossa was launched. Three massive German armies moved at lightning speed into the Soviet Union as part of a long anticipated Nazi attempt to conquer Russia. The invasion would quickly overwhelm unprepared Russian forces bringing German armies up to the gates of several major Russian cities, Moscow included.
Along their way, Nazi forces would carry out mass arrests and executions of Eastern European Jews, Slavs, and Russians. The Russian people and their allies fought bitterly at the cost of millions of lives to first slow then stop the invasion, then turn it back before finally reaching the gates of Berlin themselves.
Europe’s Jews, imprisoned and mass murdered by the millions, owe their eventual liberation to the heroic sacrifices of the Russian people who fought the majority of the war in Europe against Germany, years before American boots landed on the beaches of Normandy in 1944.
Thus, Russian President Vladimir Putin is a representative of the nation and the peoples who formed the vanguard against the Nazi scourge and ended the threat of fascism in Europe. While American soldiers were shocked to find Hitler’s death camps upon the conclusion of the war, the Russian people had been living the nightmare of Germany’s systematic regional genocide for years, firsthand. Putin’s exclusion from Holocaust commemorations is more than mere politics, it is a warning sign that an old enemy once again stirs in its dark lair.
Upon the conclusion of World War II, the Americans along with their newly formed NATO alliance, quickly made use of Nazis who surrendered to them rather than face “justice” at the hands of the Soviets for their serial crimes against humanity. The Americans integrated them into some more noble causes such as space exploration, but also among darker networks including intelligence, propaganda and even domestic terror networks (later to be known notoriously as Operation Gladio).
Former Nazis and their ideological allies in Soviet territory like the Ukraine, were continuously backed by NATO at the end of the World War to resist Soviet rule. These networks have survived, continuously, and manifest themselves even today in the form of the current regime in Kiev, which violently overthrew the elected government of Ukraine between late 2013 and early 2014.
Fully backed by NATO, these successors of Nazi collaborators who literally served Adolf Hitler’s catastrophically tragic bid at global domination and assisted in the genocide that accompanied that bid, are carrying out similar dark deeds in eastern Ukraine, albeit on a smaller but no less tragic scale. In true form reflecting the obscenely dishonest narratives woven by Nazi propagandists like Joseph Goebbels, the Western world has sidestepped these historic and current realities and instead insist Russia, not literal fascists carrying Nazi flags, represent the resurgence of a fascist threat in Europe today.
President Putin’s exclusion from Holocaust commemorations is a direct part of forming and reinforcing this narrative. No greater insult could be given to the victims, survivors and heroes who suffered and eventually overcame the Nazi scourge than to twist and intentionally distort history, propping up the successors of villains and condemning those representing the millions of Russian lives lost to confront such villains and a people who are once again ready to confront them again.
Europe once again approaches precariously the precipice of self-inflicted tragedy. Fascism both old and new is festering and spreading in all directions as European leaders and the special interests that direct them seek a familiar ploy used when all else fails to unite and regiment their peoples. Once again Russia seems to be standing alone in the face of this growing menace along their border, and once again the Russian people are quietly preparing to make sacrifices befitting the heroic deeds of their fore-bearers.
Must it come to this? What if people saw and pointed to the gross hypocrisy and betrayal of Poland and the forces of fascism once again festering within that dealt the nation such a tragic blow during the last World War? What if people realized, regardless of their feelings toward Russia, that the path they are on leads only to self-ruination? Could Europeans as a whole realize there is a middle path between the extremes being presented before them? The coming weeks and months will yield these answers. For those who have keenly kept one eye on history, and one on current events today, they must try to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, remembering the lessons World War II has taught them, even if such lessons seem to be lost on everyone else.
Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.