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Hitler parallel debate rages in Washington Post

Published time: April 28, 2014 15:24
The Washington Post headquarters in Washington (Reuters/Stelios Varias)

The Washington Post headquarters in Washington (Reuters/Stelios Varias)

The head of a prominent Russian think tank is battling it out on the pages of the Washington Post over what he calls “disturbing” views attributed to him regarding the historical nature of Hitler’s Nazi regime and recent events that transpired in Crimea.

The whole firestorm erupted over an article written by Andranik Migranyan, who heads up the New York office of the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation, for Izvesti earlier this month.

Dismissing critics who had likened Russian President Vladimir Putin to the notorious Nazi leader, Migranyan said: “One must distinguish between Hitler before 1939 and Hitler after 1939. The thing is that Hitler collected [German] lands. If he had become famous only for uniting without a drop of blood Germany with Austria, Sudetenland and Memel, in fact completing what Bismarck failed to do, and if he had stopped there, then he would have remained a politician of the highest class."

Several weeks later, Washington Post opinion writer Richard Cohen pounced on Migranyan’s position and its “chilling content.”

“If something like this is what Putin has in mind — gathering Russian-speaking people under his rule — then Migranyan seems to be saying: What’s the big deal? What he does not mention, though, is that by 1939 Hitler was already engaged in killing Jews, dissidents, communists, homosexuals and, that year, the mentally and physically feeble…For anyone, least of all a think-tank director, to overlook this record is frightening.”

On Saturday, Migranyan replied to Cohen in the Post, expressing his surprise at the views which had been attributed to him.

“Notwithstanding Mr. Cohen’s assertions, I am well aware of Adolf Hitler’s perverted ideology and horrific crimes. In the article Mr. Cohen cited, I wrote that Hitler ‘became known as one of the greatest evildoers in history because he set before himself and Germany’s people the delusional idea of world domination, proclaimed entire peoples to be inferior, tried to establish the superiority of the Aryan race over other, less worthy races and made it his goal to exterminate tens of millions of Slavs, Jews, Gypsies and other ethnicities,” he said.

“It is precisely these delusional ideas that led to Hitler’s and all Germans’ dismal end.’ The central point of my article was that Hitler’s unique evil made it inappropriate to compare his actions to what happened in Crimea. Mr. Cohen’s column did not reflect my views.”

Noting how his own family suffered as a result of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Migranyan said he will “always reject Hitler and his methods.”

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