Adam Michnik: Putin’s Impunity

Novinite Insider » EXPERT VOICES | March 20, 2014, Thursday // 09:53| Views: | Comments: 21
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Bulgaria: Adam Michnik: Putin’s Impunity Adam Michnik. Photo by

Adam Michnik is a Polish historian, intellectual, and former dissident. Currently, he is the editor-in-chief of Poland's leading newspaper "Gazeta Wyborcza".

By annexing Crimea, Vladimir Putin behaved like the Godfather. He told Russia and the world: either your brains or your signature will be on that contract. This policy has proved successful, though nobody knows for how long.

In his yesterday's speech, Putin spoke his mind: his regime fears no punishment and will do whatever it pleases. Crimea is just a first step in his dream of greatness. Yet he didn't say everything.

Each paragraph of his address was filled with lies and manipulations, for lies and manipulations are inseparable from Putin's thinking about the world. A subtle analysis of the speech would be a waste of time. The simple fact is that the president of Russia, a country that's so powerful and yet so alone today, has embarked on a path of confrontation with the rest of the world. He will invite partners for talks, and right away accuse them of acting in a "brutal, irresponsible and unprofessional way." This smacks of Dostoyevsky's Demons, creating as it does a world that does not exist and has never existed.

What does Kosovo, where the Albanians suffered persecution, have in common with the situation of the people in Crimea, who have never been oppressed? What's the point in contempt for Ukraine's government and parliament? What's the point in labelling Ukrainian authorities as "fascist and anti-Semitic"? Crimean Tatars will give no heed to the fairy tales about fascists ruling Ukraine; they can still remember the mass deportations, brutal and murderous, of their country people that were ordered by Stalin and executed by the NKVD.

Putin evokes the story of a Russia that the whole world has discriminated against for the last three centuries. Indeed, it's hard to imagine a more severe discrimination than the one dating back to the times of bloody despots: Catherine II, Nicholas I or Joseph Stalin.

Putin also warns Russians and Ukrainians that "we and you, the Russians and the Ukrainians, may soon lose Crimea altogether." Yet he fails to specify who – perhaps Poles and Lithuanians again – is whetting their appetite for Sevastopol.

We couldn't leave the people of Crimea "alone in their predicament," says Putin. These words make you smile a sad smile; it's a quotation from Leonid Brezhnev who made this statement in August 1968 when justifying the intervention in Czechoslovakia.

"We want Ukraine to be a strong, sovereign and independent country," says Putin. This in turn is a remark Stalin made about Poland in 1945. I will not mention here the words said by Hitler during the Anschluss and the conquest of Czechoslovakia – my friends, Russian democrats, have already done so.

History has come full circle. This is the real end of history – the history of dreams about a world governed by democratic values and the market economy. If the democratic world fails to grasp that now is no time for the traditional faith in diplomatic compromise, and that we must find a strong enough response to stop Putin's imperial and thuggish policy, then a logic of events will set in motion that one is even afraid to think of today. It takes force to stop a thug.

I commend and take pride in Poland's policy and the attitude of Polish society. Poland's prudent and determined policy does us great credit. But we must realize that the best quarter century in the last four centuries of Polish history is about to end before our very eyes. A time of tectonic shifts has begun. Let's appreciate what we've managed to achieve, and let's learn to protect it.

We all remember that the Godfather met an unhappy fate, and I don't think his Russian plagiarist will fare much better.

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Tags: Adam Michnik, Putin, Crimea, Russia, Ukraine
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» To the forumComments (21)
Honterus - 23 Mar 2014 // 22:42:20

He's just a psycho-nut from Turnu Severin.

sa-sha - 23 Mar 2014 // 11:00:50

....;-)...jump up!

dave w - 22 Mar 2014 // 21:56:05

you are a lunatic

sa-sha - 22 Mar 2014 // 17:07:54

...;-)... the InternatiOnal Law,.....I qUOte.....

sa-sha - 22 Mar 2014 // 17:01:05

To warfou and Huib van den Doel : thanks that You both didn't mention the Internatianal Law. Great. As for the
rest, I qoute You:
(1)"the referendum was a bluff because many voters were imported from Russia and there weren't any INDEPENDENT international observers present"----(a) many voters from Russia? Well, a couple of names, if possible. And don't forget, please, that ALL voters were registered and ANY name can be at any moment checked by UN/ USA/EU representatives, if their wish be. What's the problem? (b) ALL International Observers were invited to "present", ALL of them, simply a FACT.
(2)"...all the "observers"...were from parties that are regarded as suspect, rightist and xenophobic (Bolen en Cie, for instance)"---any FACT about, say, that very "Bolen en Cie", OK?

Huib van den Doel - 22 Mar 2014 // 09:41:12

It's telling that all the "observers" that came to the Crimea were from parties that are regarded as suspect, rightist and xenophobic (Bolen en Cie, for instance). Tell who your friends are, and i'll tell you who you are.....

ivan pope - 22 Mar 2014 // 09:31:23

Democracy is great , however the way things are going we will be minority within muslim majority

ivan pope - 22 Mar 2014 // 09:28:29


warfou - 21 Mar 2014 // 15:51:23

I do not "spit" on the Crimean people. I just say that the referendum was a bluff because many voters were imported from Russia and there weren't any INDEPENDENT international observers present, only those paid by Putin. What regards the credibility of these international observers I can only say that they included one Polish guy, Mateusz Piskorski who was even designated by Russians to lead the "independent observers' commission". This guy is a "Samoobrona" party member, which party is similar to the Bulgarian "Ataka" (aren't they financed from the same source, are they?). He is also "director of international institute for geopolitical issues", a body whose reputation is even not as big as its name, located in a small private flat in Warsaw, and believed to be sponsored by Russian secret service. Piskorski is completely unknown in Poland, and the Samoobrona has less than 0,5 % of votes. So, that is why I say the referendum was a bluff, dear sushi.

sa-sha - 21 Mar 2014 // 13:14:06

Brevity ;-)!!!....A brief remark, Seedo-copro: I have no smallest "phil?a"/liking to "k?pros"/excrements
i.e. to the above Куче говна (Pile of excrements) and its stinking components.

Seedy - 21 Mar 2014 // 10:23:01

Slop-py - to quote Shakespeare: "Brevity is the soul of wit". Your incomprehensible muttering appears to be the "soul" of some form of insanity - or at least coprophilia, since you appear to both love it and talk it... ;)

sa-sha - 21 Mar 2014 // 09:32:30

To Seedy: not bad, on the whole, "incomprehensible prat" especially, since it - in MY Russian equivalent - does fully describe the unholy, or, better to say, the malodorous trinity: "Сиди" (Seedy)+ "хуй-б-ал-бес"(Huib...) +
"Бздила гороховая" (Beh...), in summary it gives: "Куча говна" [Купчина лайна]. Taking into account Your
linguistic talent, You will learn it by heart easily: Seedy-Куча говна. I "forgot" Warfou since that pedrillo spits on the entire people of Crimea but he can't swim, I'm afraid ;-).

Huib van den Doel - 20 Mar 2014 // 17:51:24

Probably the only country in Europe (?) that conforms to the usual description of a fascist state is Russia: the cult of the leader (see him entering the room under the hollering: "Vladimir Vladimirowitsj Putin") lack of democracy, judiciary under the control of the executive, extreme nationalism and xenophobia, repression of minorities, ethnic or otherwise.

Behemoth - 20 Mar 2014 // 16:28:54

"Not to mention their ultra-Catholic anti-gay fascism"

Well, we all know why YOU are so concerned about this "anti-gay fascism"...It cannot be the "fascism part", because your writing is clearly 100% fascist propaganda. Maybe you are a closet..."back-scrubber"?


Seedy - 20 Mar 2014 // 15:26:13

Sushi - since you claim to be a linguist of sorts: what is the Russki for "incomprehensible prat"....I don't suppose it's "Sa-sha", by any chance? ;)

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