Putin and the ‘Good Hitler’

Just when you think Vladimir Putin’s propaganda cannot sink any lower, it invariably does.

Andranik Migranyan is a seasoned Kremlin hand. A former member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, a cavalier of the presidentially bestowed Order of Honor, he currently heads the New York office of the so-called Institute for Democracy and Cooperation, a Russian GONGO created on the initiative of Vladimir Putin in 2007 (it also has an office in Paris).

This week, the pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper published Migranyan’s article attacking Professor Andrei Zubov, a prominent and well-respected Russian historian, who, in his recent op-ed in Vedomosti, drew direct parallels between Putin’s annexation of Crimea and Adolf Hitler’s Anschluss of Austria and annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland and Lithuania’s Klaipeda region in 1938–1939. For his views, Zubov was promptly fired from his job at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Migranyan’s “argument” against Zubov’s well-founded logic is shocking even by the standards of today’s regime in the Kremlin. Rather than attempting to refute the parallel between Putin and Hitler, Migranyan actually embraces it—with an added twist. “We should distinguish between Hitler before 1939 and Hitler after 1939, and separate chaff from grain,” he writes. “The fact is that while Hitler was gathering German lands; if he… were known only for uniting, without a single drop of blood, Germany with Austria, Sudetenland with Germany, Memel [the German name for Klaipeda] with Germany, in effect achieving what Bismarck could not; and if Hitler stopped at that, he would be remembered in his country’s history as a politician of the highest order.”

Perhaps someone could remind Andranik Migranyan and his Kremlin overseers of the track record of this “politician of the highest order” and “gatherer of German lands” prior to 1939—including the establishment of concentration camps and the public burning of books; the purges of “non-Aryans” and the creation of the Gestapo; the closure of newspapers and political parties and the establishment of a one-man dictatorship; the Nuremberg racial laws and Kristallnacht.

But of course they already know that.

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