Czech president Miloš Zeman is visiting Leipzig, East Germany, where they celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of communism in the GDR.
He teamed up with two former political heavyweights – German minister of foreign affairs Hans-Dietrich Genscher (FDP: 1974-1992, longest serving on record, now 87 years old) and with Henry Kissinger (GOP: 1973-1977, now 91 years old), a U.S. Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize winner (ceasefire in Vietnam) from a time when the award wasn't discredited yet.
They completely agreed about the primary point in Ukraine:
What is happening in Ukraine is primarily a civil war.It's nothing new but what's somewhat original is Zeman's analogy.
Zeman compared the ongoing events in Ukraine to the Spanish Civil War in 1936-1939.
He would say:
Spain has also witnessed a civil war despite some interventions by the Russians and the French from one side; and by the Germans and the Italians on the other side. In spite of these interventions, no one is claiming that it wasn't a civil war. No one is calling it a German, Italian, Russian, or French aggression. It was a conflict when a Spaniard fought against another Spaniard, obviously with some help from their foreign allies.People love to compare the situation to lots of other events – like the 1938 occupation of the Sudetenland or the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion to Czechoslovakia. But none of these comparisons really makes much sense. It's a civil war so of course a comparison to another civil war, like the Spanish one, is obviously much more meaningful and accurate.
Zeman would also stress the importance of free elections (which he is eagerly expecting) for the future of Ukraine, emphasizing that a rally on the Maidan square that has ousted president Yanukovitch can't play the role of such elections. "As you know, many rallies have taken place on the same square and many other squares in Ukraine over the years. The message of many of these rallies was the opposite one," Zeman said.
It's frustrating to see that those guys who have understood and still understand some of the basic things about politics have been "hasbeens" for decades while these days, politicians who have some clue may only be found in not quite dominant "powers" such as my homeland and be sure that sensible attitudes are rare here, too. ;-)
Incidentally, on September 30th, Genscher appeared on the balcony of the Lobkowicz Palace in Prague which used to be the West German embassy – nowadays, an important building in the German history because that's where the East Germans began to emigrate en masse right before the intra-German borders were opened. This time he didn't have to say anything to receive some applause.