In the late 1930s, Hitler demanded the opening of “a Polish corridor” to Germany’s East Prussia, triggering a series of crises that led to the opening of a general war in Europe which was, Aleksandr Skobov argues, the Germany fuehrer’s goal all along.
Now, Putin is demanding the opening of “the Suwalki corridor” to Kaliningrad Oblast, the Russian-controlled exclave, as East Prussia is now known; and again, his demands like those of Hitler before him, are not so much intended to solve the tricky problems of dealing with an exclave but to trigger a conflagration out of which he hopes for a new world order.
In that order, Putin as “the new Hitler” wants Russia to be able “to dictate to other countries what kind of a political regime they have and also with whom they may cooperate.” And if they don’t agree in advance, such an order in his vision will “give him the right to seize their territories, bomb their cities, kill tens of thousands of their residents” with impunity.
The Kremlin leader has been very clear about this as his goal for a long time. But all too often, his words and those of his minions in this regard have been ignored or dismissed as directed at his Russian domestic audience. That is nothing new. Many who don’t want to respond to threats use such an approach to deny that there are any.
But Putin’s aggression in Ukraine is beginning to wake such people up and force them to focus on the fact that Moscow today like Hitler’s Berlin three-quarters of a century ago really does want to do what it says it wants and that it believes that the West today is too timid and too fearful of Russian power to react.
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