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Illarionov: If there are historical analogues of Putin’s speech in Sochi, they are Hitler’s two messages to Chamberlain

Some observers mistakenly compare the Russian president Vladimir Putin’s Valdai speech in Sochi to Winston Churchill’s Fulton speech; however, there is a more marked parallel to Adolf Hitler’s messages to Neville Chamberlain that resulted in World War II, considers the Russian economist Andrey Illarionov.

Andrey Illarionov
Andrey Illarionov
Photo: lenta-ua.net


Andrey Illarionov published the text in LiveJournal.

Putin’s so-called Sochi speech (Vladimir Putin’s Valdai speech in Sochi) were hurriedly called a Fulton speech by some observers. There are no grounds for this assumption – neither in terms of its contents, nor the place of delivery, nor the author.

Churchill’s Fulton speech was devoted to the creation of a Temple of peace and freedom –principles of international peace, freedom and order after the horrors of World War II, taking into account the potential of the newly created United Nations, and the threats to peace and freedom posed by the totalitarian USSR that dropped "the Iron Curtain from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic". Sochi speech is a speech implying colonial claims, justifying violence and declaring war.


The Fulton speech was typically Anglo-Saxon – it was delivered in a university lecture hall during a foreign trip of the former Prime Minister of free Great Britain, in the presence of the receiving party in the person of the President of the free USA. The Sochi speech was typically continental – said in the southern residence of the leader of an authoritarian regime in the territory of a non-free country, in the presence of the world’s political elite and former leaders of the countries of continental Europe.

The Fulton speech was delivered by one of the greatest ever defenders of freedom, right and democracy, by Winston Churchill. The Sochi speech was delivered by one of the most consistent destroyers of freedom, right and democracy, by Vladimir Putin.

If there are historical analogues of the Sochi speech, they are Adolf Hitler’s two messages to Neville Chamberlain dictated by him on August 23 and August 25, 1939 in Berchtesgaden – Führer’s favourite residence built in the far South of Germany in the Bavarian Alps, for enormous money for that time.


Comparison of the contents of the Berchtesgaden and Sochi speeches is given in the table below (the column with the Sochi speech also includes a fragment from the shorthand report of Vladimir Putin’s meeting with young scientists and teachers of history on November 5, 2014 – it is marked with an asterisk (*).

 

Hitler's letter to Chamberlain, August 23, 1939. Hitler's address to Chamberlain, August 25, 1939, Berchtesgaden

Putin’s Valdai speech, October 24, 2014, Sochi

– Germany has never sought conflict with England and has never interfered with English interests.

– We are ready to respect our partners’ interests, but we count on reciprocal respect for our interests...

– On the contrary, it [Germany] has been striving – though in vain, unfortunately – for friendship with England for years.

– We were the first to support the people of the United States of America then, we reacted as friends and partners... We were agreed with, but a little time passed, and everything resumed its normal course...

– However, the German state, as any other state, has certain interests that cannot be waived. 

– I want to underline that Russia does not demand any special or exclusive place in the world for itself. Respecting others’ interests, we simply want our interests to be taken into account and our position to be respected.

– These interests do not exceed the limits set by Germany’s previous history and follow from current economic prerequisites. 

– The thesis that Russia pretends to some exclusiveness is absolutely false... We do not demand any special place under the sun, we simply proceed from the fact that all participants of the international communication have to respect each other’s interests.

– These problems include the German city of Danzig and the Corridor problem related to it. 

– Ukraine that has been talked about much and that we will talk about later is an example of such conflicts...

– I would add that all these territories located in the abovementioned German sphere of interests, especially the lands that were returned to Germany 18 months ago, owe their cultural development only to the Germans rather than to the British, and its origin dates back to one thousand years ago.

– It was in the Crimea, in Chersonesus, that Prince Vladimir was baptized and then christened Russia. The primary baptizing font of Russia is there. And what is Chersonesus? It is Sevastopol. You can imagine the ties between the spiritual origin and the state component, meaning fight for this place, for the Crimea in general, for Sevastopol, and for Chersonesus. In fact, the Russian people has been fighting for many centuries to set a firm foot to its historical spiritual font (*).

– Germany was ready to resolve the problems of Danzig and the Corridor through negotiations based on a proposition imbued with unprecedented generosity.

– If Ukraine wants to keep territorial integrity, and we want it, too, it is necessary to understand that they should not cling to every village there, it makes no sense. The whole point is that we should stop bloodshed and begin a dialogue...

– The ungrounded assurance given to Poland by England that England will help it under any circumstances, regardless of the reasons that could cause the conflict, could be interpreted only as encouragement in this country...

– You should not have encouraged such actions – it would not turn out like this, after all, I have mentioned it already, the former Ukrainian President Yanukovych signed everything and agreed with everything...

–... on such a basis that would be acceptable for Germany as well .

– Nobody wanted to listen or talk to us, we were just told: it is not your business...

–... from this moment to raise, under cover of such a document, a wave of awful terror against one and a half million Germans living in Poland.

– Then, when people in the southeast of Ukraine did not like it... they started arresting them and taking them away to Kiev prisons at night. Then, when people saw it and took up arms, they sent troops, tanks, and planes instead of finally starting peace talks.

– Cruelty that has taken place in this country since then, is awful for their victims and intolerable for such a great power as Germany that is expected to remains a passive observer of these events... the government of Germany... cannot accept the similar course of actions passively...

– People... in some regions were frightened... 

It means that some can do whatever they want, and we cannot protect the vital interests of the Russian-speaking and Russian population in the Crimea? It shall not be like this.

– Poland was to blame for numerous violations of its legal obligations in relation to the Free city of Danzig, it imposed requirements of categorical nature, it began the process of economic suffocation.

–... the key problem is that we do not see the desire of our Kiev partners, especially the government, to solve the problem of relations with the southeast of the country by means of peaceful political process, by means of negotiations. We always see the same thing in different manifestations: suppressing by force.

–... one and a half million Germans living in Poland... ...problems of the Corridor and Danzig have to and will be resolved.

–... the vital interests of the Russian-speaking and Russian population... ...essentially, it was one region with the center in Novorossiysk therefore it was called Novorossiya. It is Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Nikolaev, Kherson, and Odessa region. These lands were transferred from Russia to Ukraine when the Soviet Union was created in the 1920s, namely in 1921-1922.

– I take your statement into consideration and I assure you that it cannot in any way change the determination of the German government to protect the interests of Germany...

– Russia will not be, I want to draw your attention, will not strike a pose, take offense at anyone or ask anyone for anything. Russia is a self-sufficient country.

– Germany, if attacked by England, will be prepared and resolute. I have already declared to the German people and to the whole world more than once that there can be no doubts concerning the determination of the new German state to suffer from any misery and grief, no matter how long they can persist, rather than to sacrifice its national interests and its honor.

– We will work under the present external economic conditions, develop our production and technologies, act more resolutely in carrying out transformations, and the external pressure, as it has happened many times, will only consolidate our society not giving us any rest; I would tell that it will force us to concentrate on the main directions of development.

– It is not Germany that has to resolve European problems in a peaceful way, but mainly those who have been consistently opposing any peaceful review since the crime committed by the Versailles dictates.

– It was necessary to carry out reasonable reconstruction, to adapt the system of the international relations to new realia.
However, the United States declared themselves winners in the "cold war"; they were self-assured to believe that there is no need in it.

– Only after the mood of stakeholders changes, there can be a real change in the relations between England and Germany.
I have been fighting for the Anglo-German friendship for all my life. However, the position taken by the British diplomacy – at least so far – convinced me of uselessness of such attempts.

– I think that the policy of the ruling circles, pardon me for this cliché, is wrong. I am convinced that it contradicts our interests, undermines trust to the United States, thus also causing certain damage to the United States, undermines trust to them as one of global leaders both in economy, and in politics.

– If anything changes in this situation in the future, nobody will be happier than me.

– As for the consideration of our interests, we would like such people as you to head the Department of State. Perhaps, it will be possible to change the situation in some way...

– The Führer will be ready to accept further reasonable military limitations that would meet new political challenges and be tolerable from the economic point of view.

– We insist on continuation of negotiations, we not only support negotiations – we insist on continuation of negotiations on reduction of nuclear arsenals. The less nuclear weapon in the world, the better. We are ready for the most substantial talks concerning nuclear disarmament...

– Unlike the last war, Germany will not have to fight on two fronts. The agreement with Russia is unconditional and means a change in German foreign policy, a change that is intended for a very long period of time. Russia and Germany will never be at war against each other again. Besides, the agreement reached with Russia provides Germany with economic security during the longest possible period of war.

– Our active policy in Asia-Pacific has not begun today and has not been caused by sanctions, it started more than a few years ago. We, as many other countries, proceeded from the fact that the East is becoming more and more influential both in economy, and in politics, it cannot but be taken into account... Building up economic relations with these countries and joint integration projects are a serious incentive for our internal development.

– The statement that Germany intends to conquer the whole world is ridiculous.

– The statements that Russia tries to restore an empire or attempts upon the sovereignty of its neighbors are ungrounded.

– The Führer has always sought English-German mutual understanding. The Fuhrer declared that the German-Polish problem has to be resolved and will be resolved. However, after the resolution of this problem he is ready and determined to address England with a large-scale comprehensive offer. He is a man of great decisions and he will also be great in his actions in this case.

– We will never forget how we helped the United States to get independent, we will never forget our cooperation and alliance in the First and Second World War. I believe that deep, strategic interests of the American and Russian peoples coincide in many respects, and we should rely on these mutual interests.

– If the British government considers these reasons, it can benefit both Germany and the British Empire. If it sweeps aside these reasons, there will be a war. The British Empire will not be stronger in any other case; the previous war proved it.

– I think that the policy of the ruling circles, pardon me for this cliché, is wrong. I am convinced that it contradicts our interests, undermines trust to the United States, thus also causing certain damage to the United States, undermines trust to them as one of global leaders both in economy, and in politics.

– He accepts the British Empire’s position and is ready to consent to its further existence and to provide it with the power of the German state provided that his colonial claims, which are limited and can be discussed in a peaceful manner, will be fulfilled; he is ready to set the longest possible terms for this...

– I did not say that the USA pose a threat for us... ...risk factors become... internal instability of certain states, especially as far as it concerns countries located on the border of geopolitical interests of large states or on the border of cultural, historical, economic, and civilizational "continents". 
... I want to tell you that the bear will not ask anybody for permission. Generally, it is considered master of taiga... it will not give his taiga to anybody. I think it has to be clear.

 

It is improbable that Putin and his speech writers were familiar with Hitler’s Berchtesgaden messages when working on the Sochi speech. And it is even less probable that they intentionally tried to make an impression of any similarity with them. But the similarity of thinking, statements, and arguments shown by both authors thus becomes even more remarkable. 


P.S. 
Adolf Hitler’s Berchtesgaden messages to Neville Chamberlain were the last communication of the Führer with the outside world before World War II broke out on September 1, 1939.

 

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