Three former US ambassadors to Ukraine have recently praised Angela Merkel and David Cameron for their refusal to come to Moscow in May for taking part in the celebration of 70th anniversary of the victory in WWII. The authors believe that Merkel, Cameron and Obama should go to Kiev instead, so that they could mark it «on their terms, not Putin’s».
Pifer, Herbst and Taylor, the veterans of US diplomatic service, seek to symbolically deprive Russia, the only successor of the Soviet Union, of its inalienable right to benefit the common legacy of the Allies who defeated Nazism. Ironically they are outstripped even by the Poles in such endeavors. In February President Komorowski mooted the idea of holding V-Day celebrations on 8 May at Gdańsk’s Westerplatte while Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna opinedthat “it would be more apt to celebrate victory over Hitler in London, Berlin or Poland”.
The proposals to mark the Victory Day in any other place but the capital of Russia – the leading victorious power in WWII – look like a parade of absurdity. It’s not the poor knowledge of history. In this case absurdity is a deliberate element of the New Cold War unleashed by the West against Russia. The authors of the article mentioned above say that Western leaders should choose Kiev, not Moscow, as the place to gather on the Victory Day because «gathering in the Ukrainian capital would also send a powerful message to the Russian populace of the isolation of their country’s leader because of his aggression against Ukraine». That’s what American diplomats have said and that’s what Ukrainian officials repeat.
As a Pole, no way could Mr. Grzegorz Schetyna agree that the Red Army carried the brunt of the fight against Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht because in this case he would have to remember that Poland not only avoided being wiped out from the world map but added one third of its territory. Poland owes it to Stalin, not Churchill, who expressed his attitude towards possible Polish territorial gains at the Yalta conference. «It would be a great pity to stuff the Polish goose so full of German food that it died of indigestion», he said then. [W.Churchill ‘Triumph and Tragedy: The Second World War’, Vol 6, p.374].
Perhaps Pifer, Herbst and Taylor think that thier idea is more revolutionary than any other that has been put forward previously. They don’t shy away from recognizing the contribution of the Soviet people. They pursue quite a different goal – they want to separate the great victory from the «Putin’s Russia»: «Let the Kremlin propagandists try to hide the sight of Western leaders in Kiev respectfully honoring the heroic World War II struggle of the Soviet people, including Russians».
Respectfully honoring the Soviet people? Who do they want to deceive with these words? Western leaders still cannot accept that instead of being exterminated by the Nazi machine, the Soviet Union withstood the Hitler’s hordes and thus frustrated the plans of Western democracies to appease Hitler at the expense of lands in the East. Can the West admit that the entire Europe would have turned into a fascist concentration camp if the Russians weren’t steady enough to break that Juggernaut? Or, perhaps, the authors would disagree with Winston Churchill who admitted that the Red Army «tore the guts out of the Nazi war machine». The matter is – such an admission would undermine the world vision of those who have imposed their style of democracy on Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, now they are trying to impose it on Ukraine.
Kiev along with other Soviet cities like, for instance, Moscow, Sevastopol, Odessa, Minsk, Smolensk, was honored as a Hero City in the USSR. The soldiers from all Soviet republics fought in the ranks of Red Army, including Ukrainians. They were not divided along national lines. Together they defended Moscow, liberated Poland and entered Berlin. What can Western leaders commemorate today in Kiev, the capital of the protectorate country run by a government which came to power as a result of neo-Nazi coup supported by the West? What event could be marked together with a regime which has declared Hitler’s stooges Bandera and Shukhevych the heroes of Ukraine?
This parade of absurdity does absolutely not bother Russia. For the Russians the importance and grandeur of the Victory Day does not depend on how many Western leaders come to Moscow on May 9, 2015. But for the European leaders and their American instigators the historic lesson is seemingly not leant yet: if you feed a dog of Nazism, get ready to be bitten again!
Col. Yury Rubtsov (rtd) is the Ph.D. (History), Professor of the Moscow Military Humanitarian University.