Like Hitler, Putin told the West in advance what he’d do – and the West ignored him

Putin speaking at 2007 Munich Security Conference (Image: video frame)

Putin speaking at 2007 Munich Security Conference (Image: video frame) 

Analysis & Opinion, Politics, Russia

Ten years ago this week, Vladimir Putin told the Munich Security Conference exactly what he intended to do to oppose the West and restore Russia’s greatness – “but the West didn’t believe” what he said and even “laughed about it” as nothing more a reflection of the Kremlin leader’s personal grievance, Georgy Bovt says.

In a Komsomolskaya Pravda commentary on this anniversary, the Moscow commentator asks “what might it have been possible to avoid” if those listening to the Kremlin leader’s speech in 2007 had actually paid attention to “the main theses of the Russian president.”

And while Bovt is arguing that the West should not only have paid attention to Putin but agreed with him and acted on that agreement, his words point to a larger and more important problem: All too often, leaders of democratic countries find it convenient to explain away any comments they don’t like rather than think about they in fact portend.

The main target of Putin’s October 10, 2007 74-minute speech in Munich, Bovt says, was the United States which he attacked for its insistence on “a unipolar world” in which Washington could impose “its stereotypes” on all countries in the world. That was something Putin said that Russia would not permit and would fight against.

A decade ago, Putin challenged the idea that American anti-ballistic missile shields were being put in Europe to defend against rogue states in the Middle East. He said they were directed at Russia, and it is now clear that they were. Western officials now acknowledge that and say these shields are needed because of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

“If in 2007, the audience at the Munich conference had listened to Putin about the danger of the further enlargement of NATO to the east … then there wouldn’t have been a Russian-Georgian war in August 2008 or even more the present Ukrainian crisis,” Bovt continues. But the West kept pushing and Moscow responded as Putin predicted it would.

In his Munich speech, the Moscow commentator continues, Putin argued that Moscow was considering leaving the conventional forces in Europe accord because in his view the West was in violation of it and that the OSCE had been “transformed into a vulgar instrument of the foreign policy interests of one group of countries toward another.”

Putin’s audience in Munich “didn’t listen because he said what they did not want to hear,” Bovt says, noting that Putin declared that “unilateral and illegitimate actions have not resolved a single problem. On the contrary, they have become the generator of new human tragedies.”

Putin speaking at Valdai (Image: Wikimedia)Putin has been clear in stating his intentions to stand up to the West in the name of Russia’s national interests in subsequent speeches as well. His Crimea speech in 2014, for example, contained “almost the very same theses” as in Munich one. As did his Valdai speech the same year.

In that last one, Putin yet again reminded the world that “the Russian bear won’t give up its taiga,” something he had first made clear in Munich. Not everyone understood that then or now. And that, Bovt suggests, is too bad for the world.

Given how often Putin lies, it is of course always tempting to ignore his words if one doesn’t like them or if responding to them would take too much effort and might not be needed. But as Bovt makes clear, albeit for a different purpose, ignoring what a dictator like Putin says is dangerous – because if his words are ignored, his promised actions may all too often follow.



Edited by: A. N.

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  • Robert

    For certain, if vlady keeps up his antics he’ll surely succumb to a similar fate as Hitler and he will have single handedly created “the largest geopolitical catastrophe of the 21st Century” as the crumbling RF succumbs to a similar fate as did Hitler’s Germany…

  • onlyfactsplease

    Indeed, there are numerous parallels between the two short dictators. But I doubt Putin will end up committing suicide, like Hitler. An explosive rigged elevator, RPG fired into his car or a polonium pellet injected into a leg, etc. are the most likely causes of death. Regardless which one it is, I hope it will be soon.

    • Czech Mate

      a planecrash, my favourite bet!

  • MichaelA

    polish government has already said No more Yaltas
    kremlin doesn’t get to divide up the rest of the world with US or anyone else
    stalin did that with hitler but not any more

  • Vol Ya

    There is nothing Russia can do to reverse its demographic decline. It is arithmetic at this time – rising poverty and disease rates and declining life expectancy. Russia is dying. So what does putin do. He attacked neighboring countries and tried to destabilize their governments but that has not worked. So he unleashed an army of russian trolls to write lies and misinformation about Ukraine. How is that going to solve any of Russia’s problem mr putin. Russia is finished, it is just a matter of time.

    • Dirk Smith

      Which confirms deeper sanctions are needed to wrap up this international mafia syndicate. This pedophile sociopath has been given wa-a-a-a-ay to much credibility by the naive West. Finish him off now or pay later.

  • zorbatheturk

    You know something? I don’t give a flying fcuk what Vladimir Putin wants or doesn’t want. The man is a liar, a thief, a crook, and a murderer. He should be in a jail cell or swinging from a rope. He should not have his stolen billions stashed in a Swiss bank account. He should not be telling the West what to do. The West has provided political freedoms and a high standard of living to hundreds of millions of people. The West is a beacon of shining light compared to Putin’s thuggish police state of RuSSiya. Putin’s opinions have less value than a cockroach tird. Bug off Putin. The list of vanished empires would fill a shelf of history books. No race or person has an inalienable right to occupy any given part of the earth’s surface forever, as history shows.

    Putin is a KGB assclown. He is operating far above his competency level. The sooner this evil prik bites the dust, the better. Hopefully the horrible entity that is the RF will soon disintegrate.

    • Czech Mate

      hear hear!