What Does Pushkin Have To Do With D-Day?

Those familiar with the great Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin’s biography would assume that the connection is his birthday date, June 6, the same as the beginning of the Normandy landing. But, as will be explained later, the connection is much deeper.

Given the growing threat that the Ukrainian conflict might escalate into nuclear WWIII, those looking for ways to avoid Armageddon suggested using the celebration of the 80th anniversary of D-Day to start the dialogue in search of peace. Indeed, Russia, at the time USSR, was an ally in the Battle of Normandy, shoring up the Eastern Front. However, when French President Macron hinted in May at the possibility of inviting Russia to attend the June 6 ceremony, it was immediately rejected by Washington and London. One should recall that British PM Boris Johnson, obviously in consultation with Joe Biden, prohibited Zelensky from signing the Stambul March 2022 Peace Accords. Signing would stop the war and save hundreds of thousands of lives, homes, and infrastructure, but it was sabotaged.

Of course, Macron yielded to the pressure to withdraw the Russian invitation and turned himself into the most aggressive anti-Russia European leader. France has already committed about $19 billion to Ukraine’s war effort, pledged to provide Kyiv with Mirage combat aircraft, stated that putting Western troops on the ground in Ukraine is not “ruled out,” and offered to train 4,500 thousand Ukrainian new fighters.

As a result, there was no indication on the side of D-Day ceremony participants of the urgent need for diplomacy to avert a looming disaster. Instead, Biden insulted the memory of WWII veterans, saying that former Soviet allies would want to stand up to Russia today. This adds to the long list of Biden’s lies. Another one that he and many others in Washington, its European subordinates, plus Zelensky, keep repeating is that the U.S. will not walk away from Ukraine because “if we do, it will be subjugated, and it will not end there,” meaning Puttin intends to move further West. The policy that is based on lies not only denigrates the values of its democratic principles but brings one military disaster after another. Among them are Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and now Ukraine.

The New York Times reported that the latest one is happening in West Africa.

Ukraine’s disaster could have been easily avoided if, after becoming independent in 1991, Washington had allowed it to choose a neutral status and maintain friendly relations with America, Europe, Russia, and the rest of the world. In this case, Ukraine would become one of the most prosperous European countries within 1991 borders, as Zelensky demands today. Instead, the so-called collective West decided to turn it into a strategic anti-Russia beachhead by dragging it into NATO despite public opinion polls showing that, at that time, the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians were against that. Therefore, billions of US dollars to support color revolutions and regime changes in 2004 and 2014 had to be invested to fix the problem. As vice president, Biden oversaw the February 2014 coup, the cornerstone of the current disaster, and Zelensky betrayed the Ukrainian people, whom he promised to be a peacemaker if elected.

Now, back to Pushkin. Despite this bleak picture described above, the people, not government diplomats, organized their June 6 D-Day celebration in Moscow with well-known US, UK, Canadian, French, Norway, German, and Russian experts. For the venue, they chose the mansion next to the statue of Aleksandr Pushkin, explaining that it was an appropriate symbolic place. Indeed, the poet’s statue also exists in downtown Washington on the campus of George Washington University, between the White House and the State Department. It was designed by the same famous Russian artist, Alexandr Burganov, who also created the “Meeting on the Elbe” sculptural composition installed in downtown Moscow. This meeting of American and Soviet military on April 25, 1945, took place on the eve of the Allies victory over Nazi Germany in WWII. Therefore, as the event moderator stated at the opening, two Pushkin statues present a cultural bridge between Washington and Moscow, symbolizing the road to peace. It is worth noting that at the opening of this composition on April 25, 2016, the U.S. military attache at the American Embassy, General Bruce McClintock, shook hands with Russian Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, who took part in the famous Appolo-Soyuz space mission on July 17, 1975. By the way, despite the US’s proxy war against Russia, their space agencies continue to cooperate.

So, the West-Russia dialogue did materialize, and contrary to the warmongering rhetoric in Normandy, the participants concentrated on the historical facts and their vision of what it would take to step out of the abyss. Let me finish with the quote from the German history teacher Irene Eckert, who summarizes what many other speakers said that day.

My name is Irene Eckert. I am a concerned German citizen, aged 73. Both my parents, born in 1929, suffered from fascism and war. Since my early youth, my major commitment has been peace, and I joined an international women’s peace organization. I have been lecturing and publishing on cultural and political affairs on a global scale since. Today, I live with my husband in a rural place in Potsdam, close to Cecilienhof, the site of the Potsdam Peace Agreements. 

As a retired history teacher, I am appalled by French President Macron’s U-turn on the invitation to Russia to the 80th D-Day commemoration activities. This offensive gesture is even more embarrassing for Germany as it occurred only a couple of days after Emmanuel Macron’s official state visit to our country. German President Steinmeyer toppled the aggressive posture at the state banquet for Macron when he referred to the actual threat posed by Russia. Of course, they both caved into the Trans-Atlantic pressure. 

Forgotten that it was Russia, then the Soviet Union and all its citizens, that bore the brunt of the NS invasion of their country, forgotten that it was the Red Army that did the heavy lifting in the defeat of the fascist regime in 1945. Only when the Soviet Army was advancing fast Westward with the prospect of defeating Hitler’s army alone did the Western allies finally conclude that their military assistance was overdue. The Historical truth is turned upside down as those who represent a cornerstone of the Allied Anti-Hitler Coalition are unwelcome at the commemoration party 80 years after the decisive decision to open a second front was finally executed. The younger generations are kept in complete ignorance. Our people do not know and have never been fully taught that we own our liberation from the oppressive, murderous, and warmongering Hitlerite regime to the Russians more than to the Anglo-Saxons. After 1989, Russia (Soviet) withdrew all their military bases from German soil. In contrast, the USA keeps over 40 military bases in our country, above all Ramstein Air Base, which has been instrumental for all the US wars and is important for the ongoing NATO war against Russia, which is fought from Ukraine territory at present.

What must be done to rekindle the anti-fascist, cooperative spirit of the Roosevelt era? Above all, we have to raise awareness and restore the historical truth. European elections are on the horizon. We must vote for the candidates who oppose the sanctions mandate and who do not join the chorus of Russophobia. We have to support political leaders, journalists, and media outlets prepared to defend our economy and national interests, see the opportunities of the multipolar alliances and are ready for a rapprochement towards trade with the BRICS countries and the entire Global South on an equal footing. In the present situation, any step towards turning down the pace of the escalation leader is to be welcomed; any sign of preparedness to find a negotiated settlement has to be taken into account. Of course, the flow of weapons toward Ukraine must stop immediately. Still, more specifically, we must ask our decision makers to halt the steps that enable attacking targets in Russia ‘proper’ beyond the pre-February 2022 borders. Many thanks to the Russian nation fighting another important battle to overcome fascism today.

Edward Lozansky is President of American University in Moscow.