Guest Column by Vladimir Putin


August 10, 2014 “ICH” – “Press TV” – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has condemned political ambitions that threatened peace in Europe during the First World War, saying the international community should learn the lesson from the deadly conflict.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Poklonnaya Hill monument in the Russian capital, Moscow, Putin said the First World War is a reminder of what happens when unreasonable ambitions prevail over common sense.

The monument honors the Russian soldiers who died during World War I.

“It serves as a reminder of what aggression and selfishness, exorbitant ambitions of heads of state and political elites prevailing over common sense can lead to,” Putin said on Friday.

Those ambitions put “the world’s most trouble-free continent – Europe” in danger instead of preserving peace, the Russian president added.

Putin also stated that it is time for humanity to understand and accept the truth that “violence begets violence,” and that the path to peace and prosperity lies in “goodwill, dialogue and remembering the lessons of past wars.”

Putin said history shows an “unwillingness to listen to each other” and respecting each other’s interests can have huge costs for the whole world.

On the eve of the First World War, he added, Russia did its best to persuade Europe to resolve the conflict peacefully and to avoid bloodshed.

“But [Europe] turned a deaf ear to Russian pleas,” Putin said.

Russia has recently been concerned over the fate of the former Soviet Union republic of Ukraine, where pro-Moscow forces in the east are fighting the Ukrainian government mainly in Donetsk and Lugansk.

World War I, which started on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918, is considered one of the deadliest conflicts in history of mankind, taking lives of almost 16 million people.