Hillary Clinton Stands by Her Comparison of Russia’s Putin to Hitler

The former secretary of state said that the Russian president, who claims he is trying to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine, is employing an argument used by Hitler, who claimed he was protecting ethnic Germans back in the ’30s.

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Hillary Clinton

Win McNamee/Getty Images

At a Wednesday question-and-answer at UCLA, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mostly stood by her earlier comparison of Russia’s Vladimir Putin to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, the Washington Post reports.

"I just want people to have a little historic perspective," Clinton said during the session, adding that she was merely pointing out similarity in tactics. "I'm not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before."

She also called Putin a "tough guy with a thin skin," but warned that his goal was "to re-Sovietize Russia's periphery."

On Tuesday the former first lady compared Putin to Hitler during a fundraising luncheon in California for the local Boys and Girls Clubs, the Associated Press reports.

She pointed out that Putin's argument that he is trying to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine is similar to what Hitler claimed, when he insisted that ethnic Germans outside of Germany needed to be protected from ill treatment in other countries.

"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the '30s," Clinton was quoted saying in the Long Beach Press-Telegram. "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] ... believes his mission is to restore Russian greatness," she added, which she said includes reasserting control over countries that used to be a part of the former Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the Press-Telegram notes. "When he looks at Ukraine, he sees a place that he believes is by its very nature part of Mother Russia."

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