Putin compares West with Adolf Hitler in desire to subjugate Russia, says Crimea is a ‘holy site’ for Russians, equivalent to the Temple Mount for Jews

Vladimir Putin excoriated the West in a speech on Thursday, comparing his foreign opponents to Adolf Hitler in their desire to destroy Russia while reminding foes that his armed forces were “polite but menacing”.

Speaking at the Kremlin in his annual address to parliament, Russia’s president defended his decision to annexe Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in the spring, saying that it was a place as sacred to Russians as holy sites in Jerusalem for Jews or Muslims.

He said that Russia faced a threat to its very existence from western states and accused the United States of manipulating Russia’s neighbours – in particular, Ukraine – in an attempt to subordinate Moscow to Washington’s will.

“If for many European countries, sovereignty and national pride are forgotten concepts and a luxury, then for the Russian Federation a true sovereignty is an absolutely necessary condition of its existence,” Mr Putin told MPs, ministers and regional leaders. “I want to stress: either we will be sovereign, or we will dissolve in the world. And, of course, other nations must understand this as well.”

Mr Putin said foreign foes of Russia had supported similar separatists “up to their elbows in blood” in the 1990s and early 2000s, but without success. “They would have been delighted to let us go the way of Yugoslavia and the dismemberment of the Russian peoples, with all the tragic consequences. But it did not happen. We did not allow it to happen.”

He added: “It also didn’t work out for Hitler, who with his man-hating ideas wanted to destroy Russia and throw us beyond the Urals. It would be good to remind everyone of how that ended.”

The Russian leader opened his speech by praising Russians for “going through an ordeal that only a united nation, a truly strong and sovereign state, could shoulder”…


The comment on the Crimea being a ‘holy site’ seems bizarre to me. I have found more information on this from the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor newsletter (not on their site yet):

In his speech, Putin, visibly agitated, strongly defended the occupation and annexation of Crimea as “just and absolutely legal.” The president declared Crimea and Sevastopol “not only strategically important, [but] the spiritual source of the Russian nation.”

According to legend, in the 10th century CE, Vladimir, the Grand Prince of Kyiv, was baptized in Chersonesus—a Greek colony in the outskirts of present-day Sevastopol, under Byzantine rule at the time. Putin declared “Crimea, ancient Cherson and Sevastopol sacred to Russia” and compared them to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “[T]hat is our position now and forever,” he asserted (kremlin.ru, December 4).

Last night I read an article at the Financial Times, ‘Can Vladimir Putin’s popularity weather a perfect economic storm?’  Excerpt:

During Vladimir Putin’s first two terms as Russian president, from 2000 to 2008, rising oil prices allowed him to rule according to an unwritten bargain with his people: sacrifice some of your democratic freedoms and we will deliver rising living standards.

Since he returned for a third term in 2012 with Russia’s economy stalling, Mr Putin has offered a new implicit deal built around this year’s annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Ukraine: give up more freedoms and we will make Russia a great power again…

Yet whether this new bargain can prove as durable or successful as its predecessor is far from clear. It is being tested by a perfect economic storm, which threatens to reverse the rise in living standards that was the original source of Mr Putin’s popularity.

Western sanctions imposed over Ukraine have combined with an unexpected plunge in global oil prices to produce a sharp drop in the rouble and a combination of rising inflation and impending recession.

At least one commenter suggested he would just blame the West itself.

I’m not sure FT columnists appreciate just how insulated Russian people are from prevailing “international” (read, Anglo-Saxon) commentary. To them, any economic difficulties will be blamed squarely on the West. It’s a problem the West has not been able to crack for the last 15 years.

And:

There is a quite extraordinary fiction, which this article desperately seeks to maintain, that somehow the Russian people will consider that these hostilities are because of President Putin’s bad behaviour. In fact, the Russian people feel that the hostilities are because the West seeks to punish all of Russia for coming to the aid of Russian speakers in east and south of Ukrraine.

We can scarcely be blamed for the oil prices, but he can point to the sanctions and pushback on Ukraine.

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  • CodexCoder

    Wow, what a line! Having lived in the Prairies, and remembering the relationships between Russians from the mountains versus those from the plains, and the relationship with the Ukrainians (who I grew up with), there is no love lost for Russians amongst the Ukrainian population, and I don’t imagine that has changed much. Maybe to Putin, the thrill of the old Soviet Union and unbridled conquest is just too much.

    • ☭ Vladimir Putin ☭

      Everyone is entitled to sexual preferences.

  • RevnantDream

    I like the new logo

  • JoKeR

    But I thought Moscow was the fourth holiest site in Islam just as Jerusalem is the third holiest?

    Why doesn’t he give Moscow back to the Muslims? :->

    • ☭ Vladimir Putin ☭

      My naked chest is a holy sight.

      • Frau Katze

        Quit bragging, Vlad. You’re such an egoist.

        • Jason

          he’s single now – apparently, a good percentage of Russian womanhood seems to find that *very* interesting. Go figure.

    • Frau Katze

      Moscow 4th holiest for Muzz? Never heard that before. Of course the definition of “holy site” is pretty flexible —alter as required.

  • winniec

    Did Cosby slip LSD into Putin’s Smirnoff? He’s flipped!
    If Putin had said, ‘Sevastopol is our Norfolk, Virginia’ or ‘Sevastopol is our version of Portsmouth’ or if he had said, ‘Crimea is our Florida’, I would have understood. But this is screwy. Totally bonkers.

  • UCSPanther

    We need Stalin to do a “We will bury you!” moment at the UN…

    • Frau Katze

      Wasn’t that Khrushchev?

      • Alain

        Yes, it was.

      • UCSPanther

        I slipped up there. I was trying to say that we need Putin to pull a Khrushchev at the UN.

  • winniec

    Europe should start moving troops near their borders. All NATO countries need to increase their levels of preparedness. There’s no dictator so dangerous as a pouty, ‘hurt’ dictator like Putin.

    • Alain

      European troops? Surely you jest. To have troops for self-defence would mean an end to their socialism, and they aren’t interested in that. That is why we should stay the hell out of their mess this time around.

  • simus1

    If memory serves, it was putin’s “Grandfather Joe” who had his buddy Molotov sign a nonaggression pact with the nazis and then supplied them with everything their little hearts desired in the way of raw materials for their war machine during the “Great Imperialist War”. The division of Poland between the nazi filth and commie filth was another feature of their “marriage”, not to mention the mass slaughter of Polish POWs at Katyn on stalin’s orders.
    putin, once kgb scum, always kgb scum.
    When it came to blood soaked real estate, the nazis had no new lessons to teach putin’s forebears.

    • ☭ Vladimir Putin ☭

      Now you hurt my feelings.

    • Frau Katze

      Poland is getting alarmed by Putin. Saw an article at Spiegel today on it (in their English section).

      • simus1

        If China, Russia, Iran, turkey, etc. want to pull off something extra big in their ‘hoods, the six or eight months just before the next American election would seem to be an ideal time to kick Emperor Barry’s butt.

    • Thank you.

  • Minicapt

    Putin aspires to become the Dan Brown of the Russian Steppes.

    Cheers

  • Is this the same Hitler Stalin signed an agreement with prior to the German invasion of Russia on June 22nd, 1941?

    Typical propagandist.

    Putin announced a bailout for failing banks.

    He should reap what he sows.