In her first public comments since the ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton reportedly compared Russia’s maneuvers vis-a-vis its Western neighbor with Nazi aggression ahead of World War II.
Speaking at a fundraiser in Long Beach, California, Clinton likened the Kremlin’s decision to issue Russian passports to people in Crimea to “population transfers” carried out by the Nazis, according to two attendees who were quoted by Buzzfeed.
“She compared issuing Russian passports to Ukrainians with ties to Russia with early actions by Nazi Germany before Hitler began invading neighboring countries,” said Harry Saltzgaver, one of the attendees. “She said, however, that while that makes people nervous, there is no indication that [Vladimir] Putin is as irrational as the instigator of World War II.”
In an effort to justify annexation and conquest, Adolf Hitler resettled tens of thousands of ethnic Germans in Eastern and Central Europe to Nazi Germany.
“She talked about how what Putin is doing now is similar to what Hitler did, essentially providing these ethnic Russians in the Crimea region access back to Russia,” said the second attendee, who requested to speak anonymously. “And that it was destabilizing.”
Clinton has been careful with her public statements, particularly as they relate to US foreign policy, since leaving the State Department.
The former first lady is widely expected to make another bid for the White House in 2016, when her historic positions on Russia may possibly prove a hindrance. As secretary of state, Clinton was seen as being largely responsible for an attempted diplomatic “reset” with Russia, a strategy that will likely face criticism if the situation in Ukraine continues to unravel.