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Putin Changing History
By Micah Halpern

Thursday January 23, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

Rule # 1: Whoever owns the history, possess the power.
That is why history is so often in dispute, why it is so often fought over. And that explains why people, especially those with leadership roles, create history.

Rule # 2: At all costs, avoid the role of perpetrator.
That is why history is so often re-written, often by perpetrators. It is better to be a victim than a perpetrator. It is better to be a bystander than a perpetrator.
This week commemorates the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz - Birkenau.

And with that we must remember these rules as we listen to leaders who are trying to transform themselves into victims or bystanders. When in reality they were mostly bystanders and perpetrators.

It is easier to explain to your children and grandchildren that you were a victim than explain that you participated in the evil murderous policies of the Nazis. It is easier to say that you were simply silent.

We are seeing a revision of history by certain leaders as they distant themselves from the Nazis. Most blatantly is President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Putin is continuing a historical rewrite that has been part of the Russian narrative since the end of WWII.

They assert that they were victims. Victims of the Nazis. At the Auschwitz Memorial in Jerusalem, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that 40% of the Jewish victims of the Nazis were Soviets. There is no doubt that between 26 and 50 million Soviets were killed in the War - many froze or starved to death. But Putin's statistic does not hold.

The Holocaust happened under the veil of WWII. It was a policy of the Nazis. One cannot conflate the two. The purpose of the Nazi Holocaust was to murder all the Jews first of Europe and then, all the Jews in the world.

Russia is deliberating forgetting important parts of history. They were not victims. They had an alliance with the Nazis. On August 23, 1939 Russia and Germany signed a treaty called the Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact named after the foreign ministers of both countries, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov.

They agreed to simultaneously invade Poland from opposite sides. Germany invaded on September 1st and Russia on September 17th.

For decades, first as Soviets and now as Russians, they have conveniently forgotten this essential fact. Russiaian leadership has chosen, instead, to emphasize Operation Barbarosa when, on Sunday June 22,194,1 Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

I will never forget the first time I heard this. I was in the then USSR and a tour guide explained that the Soviets entered WWII in June of 1941. I tried to correct her. She did not believe me. She thought it was I who was creating history.

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25 January 2020 09:41 PM in Thoughts

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