Are Germany's 'Putin Understanders' Taking Things Too Far?
When Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble gave a talk to an audience of schoolchildren recently about Russia's invasion and annexation of the Crimean peninsula, he reached for a historically fraught comparison. "We know this from history," Schauble, a veteran of the ruling Christian Democratic Union, said. "Hitler used such methods in Sudetenlandand a lot more."
The outrage from Moscow was immediate, and predictable. "We consider this kind of pseudo-historical excursion from the German minister to be a provocation," the Russian foreign ministry cried in a statement. The new German ambassador was summoned for a dressing downhis first official visit to the ministry. What was surprising was the fact that Berlin seemed to agree. Though Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has talked tough about the behavior of Russian President Vladimir Putin, she nevertheless distanced herself from Schauble's remarks, describing Crimea as a "standalone case."
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