The Left Party is the only opposition force with any real clout in Germany, so a gathering with representatives of its 60,000 members was important enough.
In Germany today, references to Putin evoke all too sharply recollections of German language used against every Russian leader since the start of World War I.
The bloodshed may be just starting.
About 3,000 French troops have now entered the war in Mali, at the request of Malian President Dioncounda Traoré.
The talk of covert action, "no fly zones," and military involvement via proxies has ratcheted up following the Russian and Chinese veto of a UN Security Council resolution.