Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent activities in Ukraine to Adolf Hitler’s “population transfers” in the late 1930s during a closed Boys & Girls Club of Long Beach fundraiser on Tuesday, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
“Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 30s,” Clinton reportedly said, referring to Putin's plan to issue Russian citizenship to those in Ukraine's Crimean region. “All the Germans that were ... the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”
Putin is a man “who believes his mission is to restore Russian greatness,” Clinton said, which includes gaining control over countries once under the former Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.
In late February, the legislature’s lower house passed a bill that would authorize “Russian-speaking citizens of the former USSR, irrespective of nationality, who are in danger of a real threat of ethno-cultural, political, or professional discrimination” to obtain Russian citizenship.
“When he looks at Ukraine, he sees a place that he believes is by its very nature part of Mother Russia,” Clinton said, according to a Press-Telegram reporter attending the event.
Clinton, a potential Democratic 2016 presidential contender, projected that if Ukraine and Russia are to attain any kind of agreement, negotiations would start in Crimea.
Harry Saltzgaver, the executive editor for Gazette Newspapers in Long Beach and the reporter who broke the Clinton news, said he feels "badly" about leaking the comments:
I’m a news source for a national story.
Frankly, I don’t think Clinton said anything that surprising, or inflamatory [sic]. But when a presumptive presidential candidate says something, it is going to be news.
I feel badly, only because it seems like I’ve somehow breeched [sic] a confidence -- even though I was never asked to keep anything in confidence. So instead of being the news, I’m reporting the news.