As you know, the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy will be commemorated by many Allied Heads of State and hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world on June 6th of this year. Among those who will be present will be Vladimir Putin. I am writing you this email to remind you of some facts of history that may help to put Putin's presence into proper perspective.
Western historians and commentators often remind us that World War II was started by Adolf Hitler's attack on Poland on September 1st, 1939. But that is not quite correct. It was the attack of Hitler and Stalin, following their Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact to divide Poland, that started World War II. Even before that however, the Soviet Union supplied the Nazi war machine with strategic materiel for many years. In addition, for two years following the attack on Poland, Stalin supported Hitler while Nazi Germany invaded Western Europe including the very fields of Normandy where the celebrations will be held. This joint collaboration ultimately led to the loss of some 50 million lives worldwide.
Today, while we seek to venerate those who laid down their lives for democracy and freedom on the fields of Normandy and elsewhere, Putin laments the loss of Soviet glory calling it the greatest tragedy of the 20th century. Instead of condemning stalin, Putin ruminates about his past seeking to resurrect Stalin as a respected Western ally. Instead of acknowledging and condemning the U.S.S.R. for the concentration camp of nations that it was, Putin employs Nazi tactics such as "the big lie" -Goebbels-style propaganda, double-talk, duplicity and the use of mercenaries to subvert democracy and sovereignty in neighboring states while he seeks to re-establish the Soviet empire. Instead of supporting democracy and freedom in Russia and in allied states like Syria, his defiant aggressive actions, such as the invasion of Crimea, contravene international law and set precedents that jeopardize world peace everywhere.
On the solemn occasion of the 70th anniversary of Normandy, let us all recall this early Russian history and make it clear to Putin that his actions have not fooled anyone, nor will they be tolerated by world leaders or by those who lost their fathers, brothers, sons and friends on the fields of Normandy on D-day.
Andy J. Semotiuk