Today, thanks to a good German friend (thanks "FR"!!) who agreed to translate this letter especially for this blog now I have the translation into English of an "open letter to Putin" signed by large and diverse group of Germans who were touched by Putin's words about Germany and its reunification and who decided to reply to him in an open letter. You can find the original of the letter here. What follows is the full translation into English:
[I have been informed that another translation is available here.]
About the anti-Russian statements of our mass media and politicians
Open letter to Putin
By Volker Braeutigam
President Putin has turned in his speech to the reintegration of Crimea from March 18, 2014, directly to the German people. This appeal deserves positive resonance that corresponds to the real feelings of the Germans, so how they got these days in ad hoc surveys to the expression. The unilaterally anti-Russian statements of many our mass media and politicians as well as the escalating actions of Berlin do not represent the German population and her increasing distance to the bellicose policy of the EU and NATO. Therefore, here is now an open letter to president Putin which will be handed over on Thursday to the Russian embassy in Berlin:
Dear Mister President!
In your speech in front of the state Duma you asked he German people for some understanding. We are German citizens, who experienced the post-war period by the majority in the west half of Germany. When the cold war 1990 was ended and our country was reunited, a sigh of relief went through the world, because the always threatening danger of a nuclear military conflict seemed avoided, which would have pulled the entire globe in. Germany would have been extinguished.
The Soviet Union has played the decisive role for the liberation of Europe from Nazism under incomparable victims. Nevertheless, it was in 1990 ready to support the German reunification in 1991 to dissolve the Warsaw Pact and community to accept NATO membership total of Germany. This was not honored by the West.
The former Ambassador of the United States in Moscow (1987-1991), Jack Matlock, a few days ago in the Washington Post confirmed that President Bush promised not to exploit the generosity of President Gorbachev.
The expansion of NATO up to the former Soviet republics, the establishment of military bases in former Warsaw signatories and the construction of an anti-ballistic missile defense screen in East Europe with concurrent withdrawal from the ABM treaty on the part of the USA are all striking breaches of promise.
These measures are understood by us only as a claim to power by the western leadership power which are directed against the state and economic consolidation pursued by you of your land after your assumption of office in 2000.-------
Moreover, Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press stated beyond that 2006 in „Foreign Affairs “with her article „to The Rise OF U.S. Nuclear Primacy” convincingly that the anti-missile defense screen is to make a nuclear first strike possible for the nuclear neutralization of Russia.
This background in condensed form is the background before which we assess the events in the Ukraine since November 2013. Meanwhile, it is widely documented that the United States has exploited the legitimate protests of the Ukrainian people for their own purposes. The pattern is familiar from other countries: Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine 2004, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Venezuela ...
The “interference” of the European Union and OSCE was swiftly taken care within twelve hours after the deal negotiated by the foreign ministers for a peaceful transition was overturned with the help of fascist forces.
The website of the Open Ukraine Foundation of the incumbent Prime Minister shows who is behind the current coup government in Kiev.
Internal and international law questions about the secession of Crimea are differently answered. We want to evaluate them here not legally, but only from a political point of view.
Against the background of developments in Europe since 1990, the deployment of some 1,000 U.S. military bases around the world, the control of the Straits by the U.S. and the outgoing of the perpetrators of the Maidan threat to the Russian Black Sea fleet, we see the secession of the Crimea as a defensive measure with a simultaneous message: up to here and no further!
The crucial difference with Kosovo's independence declaration is that the latter was made possible by the illegal bombing by NATO, unfortunately with the participation of Germany , which created the conditions for independence.
Dear Mr. President, you have called for an economic community from Lisbon to Vladivostok for almost four years. It would be the economic basis for the “common European home”.
The Ukraine could take up an ideal bridge function for the future cooperation between the Eurasian Union lead by you and the European Union, not least in cultural respect. We are persuaded that the massive influencing control of the USA has as its purpose prevent the Ukraine from becoming such a bridge.
The forces which have prevailed in the European Commission are supporting the policy of the United States against Russia. The speech of the Executive Secretary-General of the European external action service, Pierre Vimont, on March 14, this year is so unique (EurActiv: "EU shunned from US-Russia meeting on Ukraine").
Dear Mr. President, we trust that your historic speech in year 2001, will continue to form the basis for your actions against the EU and Germany in the German Bundestag. The latest polls show that the majority of Germans does not want any confrontation with the Russian Federation and are expressing understanding for Russian actions towards the Ukraine.
We do not underestimate the difficulties faced Federal Republic of Germany as a member of the EU and NATO concerning Russia, these are also known to you. However, at least we expect the Federal Government operate in the old Roman legal principle audiatur et altera pars ("hear the other side too”). This was omitted in connection with the neighborhood policy of the EU in the case of Ukraine.
Even during the Cold War Russia has not made use of the argument that 27 millions of its citizens died during WWII for political gain against Germany. This figure alone gives a special quality in the relations between our countries.
The people of Germany have a keen sense of to this: when "The Group of Soviet forces in Germany" in year 1994 takes leave of Germany with a performance of its music corps on the square before the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn , there were moving scenes between the numerous spectators and musicians.
In this context, when we see the news reporting and commentaries in the German media we can only say that we find them disgusting.
Dear Mr. President, with our modest means as a simple citizen, we will help to ensure that the intended division of Europe does not succeed, but the ideas of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz be brought back to new life.
We are convinced: only if the states and peoples of the Eurasian double continent regulate their affairs peacefully with one another, respectfully, cooperatively, on the basis of the right and without outside interference, this will radiate also into the remaining world. We see you in this sense as our ally. For Your current, and hopefully also the next office period we wish you strength, power of endurance, intelligence and skillfulness.
With utmost respect,
Signed by 300+ people (for full list see here)
One could say that 300 people is not that much for a country of 80 million people, but that would be mistaken. These are not "just" 300 people. These are 300 people willing to commit social and political seppuku and who dare to openly swim against what is arguable the worst hate and propaganda campaign since the end of WWII (I for sure do not recall such anti-Soviet hysteria during the Cold War). Furthermore, these people are showing the rest of the terminally passive Europeans that it is possible to speak up and not only refuse to participate in this hate campaign, but even to openly challenge it. In fact, these Germans go even further: they are calling Putin (the "New Hitler" and WorstAndMostEvilEnemyOfMankindEver) an 'ally' while rejecting their own national leadership. That, my friends, takes a lot of guts. It also proves that there is no such thing as historical inevitability. If the country which attacked Russia not once, but twice in the 20th century can produce this can of awareness then no situation is hopeless. I sure hope that this letter will be translated into Russia and circulated by the Russian media not just to show "support for Russia", but to show that the people of Europe are not all the enemies of the Russian people.
I don't know if that will actually happen, but I am sure there such letters are also possible outside Germany. I am getting a lot of emails from readers in Europe who are disgusted and outraged by what is being done, supposedly in their name. And the same goes for the USA and even central Europe.
I want to conclude this with a short except from the Book of Genesis:
And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place. (Genesis 18:17-33).
We all know how it ends: God sends two angels to remove Lot from the city and then He destroys Sodom and Gomorrah. Thus it is said that "just one man can save a city".
I think that the honor and dignity of 80 million Germans can be saved by the 300+ who followed the words of Stéphane Hessel and were outraged and followed the words of Yehuda Bower and refused to be bystanders.
Should any of them ever read these words - I respectfully salute them!