Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Well -- which is it? Yes -- or no?

By Aussiegirl

Well, I guess that's a resounding "maybe" from Viktor Yushchenko as to
whether or not he will attend the 60th Anniversary celebrations in
Moscow. He'd better hurry with his final RSVP, Putin's caterer only
gave him until Friday to submit the final numbers for the big borscht,
herring and caviar extravaganza, otherwise Pootie will be stuck paying
for the no-shows. Don't you just hate it when that happens?
Baltimore Sun has a good story:

In Russian eyes, the Red Army's defeat of Nazi Germany on
the eastern front in World War II was the greatest military victory in

President Bush and other world leaders will travel here to help Russia
celebrate the 60th anniversary of that event next week. But several
former Soviet states will participate reluctantly or not at all - a
pointed reminder that Russia's triumph seems quite different through
others' eyes.

What Russia sees as its heroic success is for others the kidnapping of

"On that day" - May 9 - "we traded Hitler for Stalin," said Lithuania's
president, Valdas Adamkus, "and we should not celebrate it."

Ukraine's President Viktor A. Yushchenko has announced he might appear
briefly May 8 but won't attend the main celebrations May 9.

Polish President Aleksandar Kwasniewski is coming, but only after
having said that Poles have neither forgiven nor forgotten what they regard as
the Red Army's invasion and occupation. In particular, Poland still
seethes over Soviet troops' massacre of 22,000 Polish officers, priests
and intellectuals in the Katyn Forest in 1940.

The spat over who will and won't show up for the anniversary of the end
of what Russia calls its Great Patriotic War is a reminder, 14 years
after the collapse of the Soviet Union, that
Russians view Soviet-era history through a mist of pride and nostalgia.
And a reminder that the shadows of the Cold War still divide east from

The presidents of two of the three Baltic states - Estonia and
- have flatly refused to attend. After the war, the Baltics were
occupied by Soviet troops and ruled by puppet governments. Hundreds of
thousands of Baltic citizens were deported to Stalin's network of slave
labor camps.

The problem is that Russia wants to have it both ways. They want to lay
claim to all the supposed "victories" and "heroic struggles" of the
Soviet Union as their own -- i.e. Russian achievements -- but they want
to deny responsibility for all the crimes against humanity committed by
the Soviet Union. This was recently demonstrated when the Russian
ambassador to Ukraine said that Russia was not to blame for the
genocidal famine which took 7 million lives in Ukraine during 1932-33
but that Georgia was, because Stalin was Georgian.

Well -- by that logic -- then the "great victory" in WWII also belongs
to the Georgian people -- right? Because Stalin was Georgian and not
Russian -- and he was the one who won the war. I'm confused here. Which
is it?


At 8:08 AM, Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

I guess the concentration camps weren`t the fault of Germany, but of Austria!


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