Prince Charles compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Hitler today, out loud, but he is not alone. Sources theorize his comment was spurred by recent Russian incursions into Ukraine and the development of a relationship with Crimea. The unguarded remark comes just before Prince Charles and Putin are scheduled to meet in France for the D-Day commemoration there. Perhaps Prince Charles has been reading American articles on the Ukraine crisis.
Prince Charles made this comment while in Halifax, Nova Scotia during his four day Canadian tour with the Duchess of Cornwall. At the time, the prince was comforting a woman whose family was killed during the advances of the Nazi regime. Whatever his reason for comparing Vladimir Putin to Hitler, Prince Charles was not the only one to do so.
Hillary Clinton spoke her mind on April 28 at a fundraiser in Long Beach, California, comparing Russia’s issuance of passports to Ukrainians in Crimea to Nazi population transfers, as well as pointing out how Putin’s claims of his desire to protect the interests of Russians echoes Hitler’s claims that he was looking after the interests of the Germanic people. Charles Lane of the Washington Post sees Hitler’s and and the Russian President’s shared loss as another common thread between them, pointing out that both were soldiers that lived through a significant regime change; Hitler witnessed the end of WWI and Putin the end of the USSR.
Paul Johnson of Forbes wrote a great analogy. He opens his article with a summation of Mein Kampf as Hitler’s intention to unite all culturally Germanic people into one state. He goes on to compare all the leaders of the modern West to the British Prime Minister at the time, Neville Chamberlain, to whom he attributes the passivity of the Munich agreement in 1938. Essentially he points out what equates to simply replacing the words “Hitler” with “Putin” and “Germanic” with “Russian” in the history of the buildup to World War II.
Crimea last suffered invasion in 1945, if readers do not count this year’s troubles, chiefly annexation by Russia on March 16 and the continued presence of Russian troops. Putin announced troop drawbacks from Ukraine twice recently, though he did not provide clear numbers regarding how many troops would be pulled back or when the withdrawals would occur.
After the troop withdrawals were first announced, the announcement was quickly proved false. On May 7, NATO started posting a series of satellite photos NATO’s twitter account. The images showed forces still arranged at Belgorod and two other sites near the border with Ukraine. A spokesman for the Command Operations at NATO said, “Russia continues to have 40,000 combat ready troops on Ukraine’s border.”
The second time came just this Monday. In a statement released by the Kremlin, President Putin addressed Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, requesting he pull back troops involved in training in Belgorod, Rostov and Bryansk. Current reports from NATO and the US claim Russia has not moved any of the troops in question. Putin also urged an end to a military operation in eastern Ukraine against a pro-Russian rebellion there. This follows Russia’s decision not to acknowledge the newly declared and debatably legal republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, as it did with Crimea. The Ukrainian presidential vote is set to occur this Sunday, May 25, and US strategists believe there is a strong possibility Ukraine will elect a pro-Western leader.
One reporter from the Metro UK believed the Prince’s comment a criticism of the West’s lack of reaction to the Russian President’s incursion into the neighboring country. So far, the US has limited itself to issuing economic sanctions against Russia for its aggressive inroads into Ukraine. Some sources with Vox believe the strategy is working, and that that Putin’s policies are making investors scared to leave their money in Russia’s unpredictable coffers. The economic impact is visible via the Moscow Exchange. In March, MICEX hit its six month low, dipping under 1250.
Whether Prince Charles’ comparison of Putin and Hitler is accurate or not, it is unlikely to engender warm feelings. The media will be watching for fallout from this incident when the two men meet on June 6.
By Aliya Tyus-Barnwell