Prince Charles insults Vladimir Putin

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Our boy does it again; will he ever learn?

Prince Charles put his foot into it once again, as he usually does during visits to Canada.

He compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

That didn’t go over very well back in Russia where Putin is a hero and Hitler is a monster whose Nazis killed 30 million Russians during the Second World War.

With things going as they are because of the Russian takeover of the Crimea, it was the worst possible time for Charles to take a shot at Putin.

The incident happened during a conversation at the Canadian Immigration Museum of Immigration in Halifax. The Prince and Marianne Ferguson, 78, a Polish Jewish woman who worked at the museum had a private talk.

She told him she had lost several members of his family in the Nazi concentration camps and explained the suffering she had known in Europe before immigrating to Canada.

Probably in reference to the recent annexation of Crimea by Russia, Prince Charles told her: «Putin is now doing almost the same as Hitler."

Oooops! British royal protocol requires that the royal family to stick to measured comments at best.  In the UK, political leaders speak on policy positions.

The elderly lady said later that she was surprised by the furor the Prince’s remarks have created.  She added:  "I must say that I agree with him and I'm sure many other people do."

Yes, certainly in Ukraine they do, one might safely say. But not in Russia, where Putin is a hero and Hitler is a monster.

Later, a spokesman at Clarence House, the prince’s official residence, said the exchange was a private conversation between the prince and the woman at the museum and there was nothing more to say.

In Moscow, the Kremlin spokespersons said they were «outraged ".

The popular daily Moskovsky Komsomolets  wrote that what the prince said  " may trigger an international scandal and complicate the already troubled relations between the United Kingdom and Russia."

One official added: "If these statements are true, they naturally do not do honor to the future monarch. »

In the UK, the Labour Party viewed the comments as a breach of neutrality by the crown.

But ministers in the Conservative government came to the rescue and said that the prince had "as much right to comment in private as anyone else. »

In London, a Russian diplomat charged over to the Foreign Office for an explanation.

Coincidentally, Prince Charles and President Putin will meet next month in France during the commemorations of the Normandy landings on June 6, 1945.

This is not the first time that Putin is compared to the German dictator. Ukrainians do it all the time at public protests.

In March, the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the arguments used by Vladimir Putin to justify the seizure of the Crimea were similar to the ones used by Hitler to justify his invasion of the Sudetenland in 1938.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, made similar remarks during a CBC interview recently.

Vladimir Putin had nothing to say on Thursday.

But people close to him in the Kremlin said «the comparison was particularly insulting to a country that lost 30 million people in the fight against Nazism. »

The same person then asked: "Where would Britain be today without Russia during the Second World War? »

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