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War and history

The Eastern European historian Dietmar Neutatz rejects Vladimir Putin's falsification of history to justify a war of aggression

Freiburg, Feb 25, 2022

War and history

Source: luzitanija/

On February 24, 2022, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, launched a war of aggression against Ukraine. In his speeches, Putin is trying to justify this aggression with historical arguments. He denies Ukraine the right to statehood and refers to sovereign neighboring countries like Ukraine as “our own historical territories” in which he does not tolerate any policy independent of Russia.

Eastern European historian Prof. Dr. Dietmar Neutatz explains that Putin is thus once again distorting and exploiting history for the purpose of a policy aimed at restoring the Soviet empire. “He claims political sovereignty over neighboring countries with selective references to earlier centuries, as if there were a natural zone of Russia’s influence, and thus is trying to legitimize supposedly special security interests of his own. Vladimir Putin is trampling on the right to self-determination of the Ukrainian people and other peoples who want to live in an independent and democratic state. In the medium term, this policy undermines any chance of peaceful coexistence between Russians and non-Russians in the post-Soviet space.”

“As members of the University of Freiburg, we strongly oppose this manipulative individualization of history to justify a reckless war of aggression,” Neutatz says. “We declare our solidarity with all the people in Ukraine to whom this war is causing much unnecessary suffering, and the brave citizens of the Russian Federation who are publicly speaking out against this war.”


Prof. Dr. Dietmar Neutatz

Departement of History
University of Freiburg

Tel.: 0761/203-3436