Speaking with journalists at the monastery, Putin asked if anyone had read Denikin’s diary. They replied: “Probably not.”

Putin responded: “You certainly should read” Anton Denikin’s diary, specifically the part about “Great and little Russia, Ukraine. He says nobody should be allowed to interfere between us. This is only Russia’s right.”

Denikin was a general in WWI, but an opponent of Communism. He lived much of his life in exile, first in France eventually dying in the United States of America. His remains were returned to Russia and buried at the Donsky Monastery upon orders of Putin when he was president.

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The head of the monastery told journalists that Putin had recently changed his personal view of “Denikin’s place in history,” apparently because of Denikin’s position on Ukraine as a territory that only Russia had claims over.

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“One of the main ideas in Denikin’s works and political activity was not to allow the divorce of Russia and its little Russian lands – Ukraine,” the head of the monastery said.

“It is a crime if someone starts to talk about the division of Russia and Ukraine, even if this is being said by activists of the white movement or by foreigners,” Putin said citing Denikin’s memoires.

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