“The insult to Russia… a denial of history”
in Boulevard Voltaire, May 3, 2015
May 4, 2015
Translated from French by Tom Winter
So it is confirmed: No head of state, no chief of government from either North America nor from the EU (Greece being the sole exception) will honor with his presence the grandiose ceremonies that will mark, on the 9th of May in Moscow, the 70th anniversary of the surrender of the Third Reich, and therewith mark the victory of the nations, whatever their regimes and their legitimacy, that were united against nazism.
The reason is known. This slap is to punish the foreign policy of Vladimir Putin, and more precisely his intervention in the interior conflict of Ukraine. Yesterday’s ally is treated and punished like a rebellious brat by leaders whose policies of varying geometry nonetheless accommodate ententes, alliances, deals and conversations with countries and people who are no more commendable than the Russian president.
The promoters of this boycott and the ones responsible for it not only err in the most elementary courtesy by not returning the favor to Vladimir Putin, for attending the commemoration of the Normandy landings last June, where he crossed paths for the first time with his Ukrainian counterpart Poroshenko. They not only err at the foremost principle of diplomacy, as General DeGaulle professed it, to put reality in front of feelings, and states in front of friendships; their insult to Russia constitutes first off, an outrage to history, practically a denial of history. Is the present to erase the past, as with Big Brother in Orwell? Should politics be trumping the truth?
Mssrs Obama, Hollande, Cameron and other western leaders — whose names, if not already forgotten, soon will be — are too quick to hold cheap the frightening tribute of the twenty million lost that Russia and Stalin payed for the common cause at the time of world war.
These people, all things considered, are seeing only the short term. Yesterday’s headline in Le Journal du dimanche: “Putin all alone in Red Square.”
This calls to mind the old and well-worn joke on the British point of view: “Fog in the Channel; the continent is isolated.” Beyond the presence of eleven African heads of state, a dozen heads of asiatic states, and the Venezuelan and Cuban presidents, Vladimir Putin will welcome under Kremlin walls these second-string players: the number one of China and the number one of India.
What does this mean? It means that half of the planet at the highest level will be represented one week from Sunday in Moscow. It will be, perchance, time to view the world not as it was, nor as one dreams that it will remain, but as it is.