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CNN: If Russia Swallows Ukraine, the European System is Finished

Author: Timothy Snyder
March 7, 2014

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"In Vienna, where I live, one also hears constant mentions of 1938. Austrians and other citizens of European Union countries are beginning to consider what the end of Ukraine might mean for their own European system. The point is not that Putin is like Hitler; the point is that the removal of a state from Europe has consequences for the continent."

Vienna, Austria (CNN) -- As Russia continues its military occupation of the Crimean district of Ukraine, as Putin enunciates a doctrine of military intervention in support of ethnic brethren, and the West ponders what might be done, Europeans begin to think again about the 1930s and the origins of World War II. The Russian historian Andrei Zubov, for example, has published a sophisticated comparison between Putin's seizure of Crimea and Adolf Hitler's annexation of Austria, seeing both as the beginning of a chain of events with fatal consequences not just for the subjects of the aggression but for the aggressors themselves.

In Vienna, where I live, one also hears constant mentions of 1938. Austrians and other citizens of European Union countries are beginning to consider what the end of Ukraine might mean for their own European system. The point is not that Putin is like Hitler; the point is that the removal of a state from Europe has consequences for the continent.

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