Putin: Those who rewrite history attempt to hide own disgrace

Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Alexey Nikolsky)
The Russian president has blasted attempts to rewrite the history of WWII and hide the crimes of Nazism as inadmissible and immoral, adding that people who do this often try to distract attention from their nations’ collaboration with Hitler.

It is hard to imagine that real ‘death factories,’ mass executions and deportations have become a terrible reality of the 20th century, that they were cold-bloodedly and thriftily organized in Europe that seemed to be civilized back then,” Vladimir Putin said as he spoke in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow at the event dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation.

Direct attempts to silence history, to distort and rewrite history are inadmissible and immoral. Behind these attempts often lies the desire to hide one’s own disgrace, the disgrace of cowardice, hypocrisy and treachery, the intent to justify the direct or indirect collaboration with Nazism,” the Russian leader stated.

In places where they imprint the ideas of ethnic and moral supremacy into people’s heads, where they destroy or scoff at human values, civilization is being quickly and inevitably replaced by barbarity,” Putin noted, adding that the process is often accompanied with war and aggression.

President Vladimir Putin and Russia's chief rabbi Berl Lazar light the candles at the ceremony commemorating the Holocaust victims (RIA Novosti / Alexey Nikolsky)

Putin urged the audience to always remember the terrors of the Holocaust, reminding everyone that, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal’s verdict, the Nazi policies killed 6 million Jews. The president said that such crimes have no statute of limitation.

We bow our heads before the heroism of the Red Army soldiers and officers who defeated the Nazi Germany and stopped the fearful extermination machine,” the Russian leader stated.

Putin emphasized that the Russian people bore the greatest weight in the war against Nazism as 70 percent of the Red Army troops were ethnic Russians. However, the president also acknowledged the effort and heroism of other peoples.

We all know the danger and the destructive potential contained in the policy of double standards, indifference and lack of concern about other people’s fate. A typical example is the current situation in the south-east of Ukraine where civilian residents of Donetsk, Lugansk and other cities and towns are being killed for many months by cold-blooded attackers,” Putin noted.

Nuremberg Trials. Defendants in the dock. The main target of the prosecution was Hermann Göring (at the left edge on the first row of benches), considered to be the most important surviving official in the Third Reich after Hitler's death (Image from wikipedia.org)

Putin’s speech in the Jewish Museum was made as the world celebrated the 70th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army in 1945. The Soviet soldiers saved about 7,500 of the camp’s last surviving inmates and disclosed to the world the blood-chilling details of the Nazi extermination machine. Auschwitz is one of the most infamous Nazi death camps, where over 1 million people were murdered during WWII. Most victims were Jews, but there were also Poles, Soviet Army soldiers and other people considered dangerous by the Nazi regime.

Russian MPs lay flowers to the memorial to victims of Nazi concentration camps near CE's headquarters in Strasbourg (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)

Also Tuesday, State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin, currently on a visit to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), laid flowers at the memorial stone to Holocaust victims located near PACE headquarters. After the ceremony, Russia’s top parliamentary official said that he was “unpleasantly shocked” by the fact that the President of the PACE, Anne Brasseur, had failed to mention the fact that it was the Red Army that liberated Auschwitz in 1945. “The head of the CE’s Parliamentary Assembly could not find two seconds to say that Auschwitz and its inmates were liberated by Red Army units. It sounded as if Auschwitz was liberated by some unknown force and as if the Nazism vanished all by itself,” Interfax news agency quoted Naryshkin as saying.

He also thanked Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jaglandfor correcting this mistake in his speech near the memorial stone in Strasbourg.