Jump to content

 

 

Russia, Ukraine


Recommended Posts

On 29/04/2022 at 22:51, Bill said:

Putinism and the Stalinist Legacy

From the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, justifications offered for Moscow’s aggression must have struck most non-Russian observers as unrealistic, to say the least. Many observers were incredulous that any educated Russian could possibly believe Putin’s claim that Ukraine required “denazification and demilitarization,” or that the country housed multiple biological weapons laboratories and planned to build a nuclear bomb. Russia, however, is one of the top 10 countries with the largest share of people with completed tertiary education. In the age cohort of 55–64, they rank first—as many as 50.3 percent of Russians have completed tertiary education. 

Russian propaganda is not successful because the population is uneducated, but because citizens have been efficiently indoctrinated by lifelong exposure to Russian and Soviet myths through the education system, state media, and prevailing culture. The original source of these myths and their shameless propagation lies in Russia’s failure to confront the poisonous legacy of Soviet politics. Instead, after the messy collapse of the USSR, the Russian state simply adopted Soviet propaganda and repurposed it to its own ends.

The myth of the Great Patriotic War became an instrument of Soviet self-legitimization in the 1960s under Leonid Brezhnev, supplanting the myth of the October Revolution that was supposed to lead to the global embrace of communism and the Marxist “end of history.” When the power of Marxist theory collided with economic reality, and Soviet elites discovered that they no longer believed communism would triumph over capitalism, they resorted instead to a myth of national glory forged in the fight against history’s greatest evil—Nazi Germany. The “fraternal” peoples of the Soviet Union certainly suffered the war’s most appalling military casualties, and for this blood sacrifice made on behalf of all mankind, Soviet leaders determined that humanity owed the Soviet Union eternal gratitude. Opposition to the Soviet Union and its agenda became synonymous with national betrayal and, ultimately, with Nazism itself.

This myth would eventually be adopted by the Russian satellite Belarus under Alexander Lukashenko, and its operationalization is illustrated by Lukashenko’s interview with BBC journalist Steve Rosenberg at the end of 2021. Invited to respond to the claim that the Belarusian authorities are expelling migrants to the EU to destabilize Europe, Lukashenko replied, “We should still be celebrated. You should celebrate us because we fought against fascism.” When Rosenberg objected that his question had nothing to do with World War II, Lukashenko was undeterred: “Steve, I’ll tell you. Because you have not yet repaid the debts to the Belarusian people for World War II, for the losses we have suffered. Only 80 years have passed, not even a hundred years since the beginning of the war, and you have again tried to break into our home and start a new one.”

In June 2020, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin wrote an important article about Word War II for the National Interest, in which he emphasized the continuing importance of the Soviet state myth in global politics. “At the summit of CIS leaders held at the end of last year,” he wrote, “we all agreed on one thing: it is essential to pass on to future generations the memory of the fact that the Nazis were defeated first and foremost by the Soviet people and that representatives of all republics of the Soviet Union fought side by side together in that heroic battle, both on the frontlines and in the rear.” 

Putin’s words are reflected in repressive Russian legislation—equating the role of the Soviet Union and the Third Reich in the Second World War is now punishable by a fine of up to 5,000 rubles and 15 days in prison for individuals, and up to 100,000 rubles for an entity. Legislation like this, and the atmosphere of intimidation it creates, also permits the persecution of organizations dedicated to the investigation of communist crimes. At the end of 2021, a Moscow court shut down the human rights organization Memorial International, which had already been declared a foreign agent. The Supreme Court’s prosecutor accused the organization, whose first chairman was the Soviet dissident and Nobel laureate Andrei Sakharov, of creating “a false image of the Soviet Union as a terrorist state by speculating on the topic of political repression of the 20th century.” He added that the list of Stalin’s victims included “Nazi offenders with blood of Soviet citizens on their hands,” and accused Memorial of attempting “to rehabilitate traitors to the motherland and Nazi collaborators.”

The centrality of this national myth has important implications for Russian foreign policy, and for the attitude towards Ukrainians, in particular. An essential component is the neglect or relativization of Soviet aggression between the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact in August 1939 and the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. On September 17th, 1939, Soviet forces invaded Poland from the east, just 16 days after the Nazis invaded from the west, and the country was cleaved in two. Stalin justified this aggression by arguing that the Polish state had ceased to exist, and that the Soviet Union was therefore compelled to liberate its Ukrainian and Belarusian brothers from what he called Polish “bourgeois fascism.” 

Two and a half months later, the Soviet Union invaded Finland. As with the invasion of Poland, there was no formal declaration of war—instead, Stalin claimed that he was helping rescuing the Finnish people by installing communist expatriate Otto Kuusinen as head of a new socialist Finnish Democratic Republic. The Soviet Union would go on to mete out the same treatment to Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia. Soviet military bases were established in the three Baltic states, elections were rigged to exclude any candidate who was not a Stalinist, and the new puppet regimes then agreed the farcical “accession” of all three states to the USSR. Then, on June 28th, 1941, the Soviet Union invaded and occupied Bessarabia and Bukovina in order to liberate these regions from their Romanian “oppressor.” All these territories would remain part of the USSR until its collapse.

We are now watching this pattern of justification and aggression being repeated in Ukraine, and it is as cynical today as it was in 1939–40. Putin has claimed that Russia was “forced to invade Ukraine” and has refused to formally declare war, preferring instead to describe the attack as a “special military operation.” The plan seems to have been to capture Kyiv within days, decapitate the elected government there, and install a compliant regime that would do as it was told. This, it was hoped, would all occur before the Ukrainians or the wider world could organize any kind of response. That plan has been a catastrophic failure because it was based on the faulty assumptions of the Russian state myth.

In his lengthy programmatic essay, “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,” Putin denied the distinct identity of the Ukrainian nation. At first glance, this seems to be a classic Great Russian imperialist myth that has nothing to do with the legacy of the Soviet Union. However, closer inspection reveals a toxic combination of the Great Russian ideology and a Russian version of the Soviet myth of brotherhood and unity. Central to this myth was the fraternal struggle of all Soviet peoples against the Nazi occupier, according to which, opponents of Ukrainian-Russian fraternity are denied any autonomy or will—they are merely servants of the United States, “Anglo-Saxons,” Poland, the Vatican, and so on.

Although the Bolsheviks ostensibly organized the ethnic republics of the Soviet Union with an emphasis on the right to self-determination, a Ukrainian—or any other—national identity could only tolerably coexist within the Soviet supranational construct. Even though the USSR secured special seats at the UN for Ukraine and Belarus to strengthen its own position, self-determination only really existed on paper, and no one actually got to exercise that right. Today’s Russian elites may reproach the Bolsheviks for “inventing” the Ukrainian nation, but the Soviet elites never completely abandoned Great Russian ideology. Which is why even the Soviet Union’s final leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, a man considered a traitor in Russia today, privately asked US President Bush to prevent Ukraine’s independence. Ukraine, he claimed, was merely a Bolshevik invention that independence would doom to permanent ruin.

Putin is said to have suggested to Poland’s then-Prime Minister Donald Tusk that their two countries ought to divide Ukraine. But dismemberment of the nation is not an ideal outcome of this war for Russia’s elites, and only became an objective once it was clear that pro-Russian forces are unable to conquer the country. Putin maintains that Russia had nothing to do with the war in the east which he has been fomenting since 2014, and now seeks to incorporate the “people’s republics” in the Donbas region into Russia’s constitution through the Minsk Agreement for their own good. So long as Ukraine is pro-Russian, it not only exists, it is also a centuries-old fraternal nation. But the moment it starts to pursue an independent policy, it becomes fictional. 

A great and glorious empire is important to Russian imperialists, and it does not especially matter whether it is called the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union. This is why smaller nations, perceived as an essential part of Russia’s imperial space or its supposed “sphere of influence,” cannot be permitted to enjoy any real autonomy. And it is why Putin’s court singer Oleg Gazmanov appeared at the rally in support of the invasion at the Luzhniki Stadium and performed the song“Made in the USSR” (Сделан в СССР) which includes the lyric: “Ukraine and Crimea, Belarus and Moldova—this is my country.”

Performance and justification are remarkably similar, and require a similar dose of cynicism, lies, self-pity, and denial—and the horrifying consequences of Russia’s refusal to reckon with its Stalinist legacy are now on display in Ukraine. “All things considered,” complained Russian general Rustam Minnikayev last week, “we are now at war with the whole world, like we were in the Great Patriotic War. All of Europe, the whole world was against us, and it’s the same now. They never liked Russia.”

https://quillette.com/2022/04/26/putinism-and-the-stalinist-legacy/

The article fails to mention that the October Revolution failed because of the opposition of 21 foreign armies, leading to the Stalinist consolidation and degeneration; Stalinism and Communism are not synonymous.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There were 7 are no right-wing Nazi problems in Ukraine, so Putin attacked without reason. Or so they say. Somehow, the internet does not forget what the wetsern media, Amnesty International. Human Rights Watch and Co. were writing about Ukraine, the Donbass and right-wing people from 2014 till 2022 ...

 

Media Are Now Whitewashing Nazis They Had Previously Condemned

Recently the New York Times, like many other 'western' outlets, has changed its language when reporting about the fascist Ukrainian Asov Battalion.

What was once "a Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary organization" which even the FBI said is notorious for its “association with neo-Nazi ideology” was first relabeled as merely "far right" before it became a normal "unit in the Ukrainian military".

---

New Zealand Massacre Highlights Global Reach of White Extremism, Mar 15 2019

Scrawled on his rifle was a white nationalist credo popularized by the American domestic terrorist and neo-Nazi David Lane. On his flak jacket was a symbol commonly used by the Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary organization.
---

We Once Fought Jihadists. Now We Battle White Supremacists., Feb 11 2020

Defenders of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion, which the F.B.I. calls “a paramilitary unit” notorious for its “association with neo-Nazi ideology,” accuse us of being part of a Kremlin campaign to “demonize” the group.
---

Why Vladimir Putin Invokes Nazis to Justify His Invasion of Ukraine, Mar 17 2022

Facebook last week said it was making an exception to its anti-extremism policies to allow praise for Ukraine’s far-right Azov Battalion military unit, “strictly in the context of defending Ukraine, or in their role as part of the Ukraine National Guard.”
---

From Battered Mariupol Steel Plant, Fighters Share Desperate Videos to Push Out Story, Apr 29 2022

These scenes are from videos shared online in recent days by the Azov regiment, a unit in the Ukrainian military, which says they were taken in the mazelike bunkers beneath the sprawling Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.
---

It is not that Azov has de-radicalized over time. It has in fact grown more extreme.

Azov has infiltrated other organizations, especially some units of the Ukrainian regular military, the national guard, the police and the internal secret security organization SBU. Azov is by far not the only fascist (para-)military organization in Ukraine. There is the Aidar battalion, the Right Sector, the C-14 'youth' organization of the fascist Svoboda party as well as a dozen other such organization.

These groups are not only not prohibited as they should be but get encouraged and partially financed by the Ukrainian government.

The infiltration of the security services and government has dangerous consequences for the Ukrainian public.

Over the years many 'western' media have correctly reported about the Ukrainian fascists. Here is an incomplete collection (h/t Antispin😞

Next to those and many more media reports there are some detailed ones from various organization which document the war crimes Azov and groups like it have committed in Ukraine. In 2015 the Foundation for the Study of Democracy published a report about the War crimes of the armed forces and security forces of Ukraine: torture and inhumane treatment. In 2018 the Human Rights Platform "Uspishna Varta" wrote in a report about the Ministry of Internal Affairs and General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine:

The existence of paramilitary groups within a number of far-right parties and nationalist organizations, which is expressly prohibited by Article 37 of the Constitution of Ukraine, is of high concern. As a part of the party "National Corpus" (earlier – "Azov") the paramilitary division "National Druzhina" operates, which held a public march in the center of Kiev in February 2018. The activities of this organization are not only not suppressed by representatives of law enforcement bodies, but are openly encouraged by the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

28% of all violations of political rights and freedoms recorded by the human rights platform "Uspishna Varta" in April-August 2018 involved right-wing radical organizations, primarily C14, as well as "National Druzhina", "Bratstvo", "Right Sector", etc.

The OHCHR documented 22 cases of discrimination, hate speech, and/or violence directed at persons belonging to minorities or those holding alternative, special social, or political opinions between 16 February and 15 May. At the same time, in 21 cases violence was committed by members of ultra-right groups, who appear to have acted with impunity. The police and the State Prosecutor's office did not prevent acts of violence, did not properly characterize them as hate crimes, did not effectively investigate discriminatory crimes, and did not prosecute the perpetrators, which violates the right to equally not be discriminated against in view of the law and leads to an atmosphere of impunity and a lack of justice for victims.

All this is well know. Over the years 'western' media have warned of growing fascism in Ukraine. While fascist parties get few votes in Ukraine they are in fact very powerful. They own the streets, have the guns and kill politicians who do not do what Azov and other fascist groups say. They can act with impunity.

Amnesty International has documented some of the crimes committed by fascist groups in Ukraine:

Human Rights Watch has a long list of reports on Ukraine. While some blame eastern separatists and Russia many others point to violence from the fascist far-right.

Currently a main Azov unit is sitting in the basement of  the Azovstal metalworks in Mariupol surrounded by Russian troops. It claims to have civilian hostages and refuse to surrender. To whitewash them now just because they have gotten themselves into this situation, as the NYT obviously does, is not justified.

 

Source

Link to post
Share on other sites

56 minutes ago, der Berliner said:

There were 7 are no right-wing Nazi problems in Ukraine, so Putin attacked without reason. Or so they say. Somehow, the internet does not forget what the wetsern media, Amnesty International. Human Rights Watch and Co. were writing about Ukraine, the Donbass and right-wing people from 2014 till 2022 ...

 

Media Are Now Whitewashing Nazis They Had Previously Condemned

Recently the New York Times, like many other 'western' outlets, has changed its language when reporting about the fascist Ukrainian Asov Battalion.

What was once "a Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary organization" which even the FBI said is notorious for its “association with neo-Nazi ideology” was first relabeled as merely "far right" before it became a normal "unit in the Ukrainian military".

---

New Zealand Massacre Highlights Global Reach of White Extremism, Mar 15 2019

Scrawled on his rifle was a white nationalist credo popularized by the American domestic terrorist and neo-Nazi David Lane. On his flak jacket was a symbol commonly used by the Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary organization.
---

We Once Fought Jihadists. Now We Battle White Supremacists., Feb 11 2020

Defenders of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion, which the F.B.I. calls “a paramilitary unit” notorious for its “association with neo-Nazi ideology,” accuse us of being part of a Kremlin campaign to “demonize” the group.
---

Why Vladimir Putin Invokes Nazis to Justify His Invasion of Ukraine, Mar 17 2022

Facebook last week said it was making an exception to its anti-extremism policies to allow praise for Ukraine’s far-right Azov Battalion military unit, “strictly in the context of defending Ukraine, or in their role as part of the Ukraine National Guard.”
---

From Battered Mariupol Steel Plant, Fighters Share Desperate Videos to Push Out Story, Apr 29 2022

These scenes are from videos shared online in recent days by the Azov regiment, a unit in the Ukrainian military, which says they were taken in the mazelike bunkers beneath the sprawling Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.
---

It is not that Azov has de-radicalized over time. It has in fact grown more extreme.

Azov has infiltrated other organizations, especially some units of the Ukrainian regular military, the national guard, the police and the internal secret security organization SBU. Azov is by far not the only fascist (para-)military organization in Ukraine. There is the Aidar battalion, the Right Sector, the C-14 'youth' organization of the fascist Svoboda party as well as a dozen other such organization.

These groups are not only not prohibited as they should be but get encouraged and partially financed by the Ukrainian government.

The infiltration of the security services and government has dangerous consequences for the Ukrainian public.

Over the years many 'western' media have correctly reported about the Ukrainian fascists. Here is an incomplete collection (h/t Antispin😞

Next to those and many more media reports there are some detailed ones from various organization which document the war crimes Azov and groups like it have committed in Ukraine. In 2015 the Foundation for the Study of Democracy published a report about the War crimes of the armed forces and security forces of Ukraine: torture and inhumane treatment. In 2018 the Human Rights Platform "Uspishna Varta" wrote in a report about the Ministry of Internal Affairs and General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine:

The existence of paramilitary groups within a number of far-right parties and nationalist organizations, which is expressly prohibited by Article 37 of the Constitution of Ukraine, is of high concern. As a part of the party "National Corpus" (earlier – "Azov") the paramilitary division "National Druzhina" operates, which held a public march in the center of Kiev in February 2018. The activities of this organization are not only not suppressed by representatives of law enforcement bodies, but are openly encouraged by the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

28% of all violations of political rights and freedoms recorded by the human rights platform "Uspishna Varta" in April-August 2018 involved right-wing radical organizations, primarily C14, as well as "National Druzhina", "Bratstvo", "Right Sector", etc.

The OHCHR documented 22 cases of discrimination, hate speech, and/or violence directed at persons belonging to minorities or those holding alternative, special social, or political opinions between 16 February and 15 May. At the same time, in 21 cases violence was committed by members of ultra-right groups, who appear to have acted with impunity. The police and the State Prosecutor's office did not prevent acts of violence, did not properly characterize them as hate crimes, did not effectively investigate discriminatory crimes, and did not prosecute the perpetrators, which violates the right to equally not be discriminated against in view of the law and leads to an atmosphere of impunity and a lack of justice for victims.

All this is well know. Over the years 'western' media have warned of growing fascism in Ukraine. While fascist parties get few votes in Ukraine they are in fact very powerful. They own the streets, have the guns and kill politicians who do not do what Azov and other fascist groups say. They can act with impunity.

Amnesty International has documented some of the crimes committed by fascist groups in Ukraine:

Human Rights Watch has a long list of reports on Ukraine. While some blame eastern separatists and Russia many others point to violence from the fascist far-right.

Currently a main Azov unit is sitting in the basement of  the Azovstal metalworks in Mariupol surrounded by Russian troops. It claims to have civilian hostages and refuse to surrender. To whitewash them now just because they have gotten themselves into this situation, as the NYT obviously does, is not justified.

 

Source

It must have taken an army of propagandists to assemble and distribute that barrow load of apologist tosh. What are your own views?

Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Gonzo79 said:

Are Lenin and Communisim synonymous, in your opinion (genuine question)?

Inasmuch as Lenin was a genuine marxist IMO yes. He did appreciate the international dimension as critical to its success.

Link to post
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Bill said:

It must have taken an army of propagandists to assemble and distribute that barrow load of apologist tosh. What are your own views?

The Azov regiment is well-known among anyone who has kept a weather eye on international affairs. That is not propaganda; propaganda is my local Sainsburys announcing every 15 minutes that there is still time to contribute to the Ukraine appeal. Did they do this for Yemen? Or for the families of child victims shot by Israeli soldiers? (To take just 2 examples.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, alexscottislegend said:

The Azov regiment is well-known among anyone who has kept a weather eye on international affairs. That is not propaganda; propaganda is my local Sainsburys announcing every 15 minutes that there is still time to contribute to the Ukraine appeal. Did they do this for Yemen? Or for the families of child victims shot by Israeli soldiers? (To take just 2 examples.)

Neither did any supermarket collect for victims of the IRA or those killed by ISIS or South Sudan. The difference with Ukraine is that it is a) in Europe, b) seen with a global lens thanks to MSM and social media and c) Involves one of the worlds super powers. Nothing else will come close unless China invades Taiwan or North Korea attacks the South. It is all about perspective.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, alexscottislegend said:

The Azov regiment is well-known among anyone who has kept a weather eye on international affairs. That is not propaganda; propaganda is my local Sainsburys announcing every 15 minutes that there is still time to contribute to the Ukraine appeal. Did they do this for Yemen? Or for the families of child victims shot by Israeli soldiers? (To take just 2 examples.)

The apparent problem with Bill is, that he openly ignores that this information was not collected by any Kremlin paper gatherer, but comes straight from Western newspapers and news outlets. As I noted above, none is more blind than those not willing to see.

Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, ChelseaBoy said:

Neither did any supermarket collect for victims of the IRA or those killed by ISIS or South Sudan. The difference with Ukraine is that it is a) in Europe, b) seen with a global lens thanks to MSM and social media and c) Involves one of the worlds super powers. Nothing else will come close unless China invades Taiwan or North Korea attacks the South. It is all about perspective.  

And isn't that in itself a sad commentary on affairs? Innocent victims of all terrorist/war attacks deserve equal sympathy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.