Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, just days after issuing blatant nuclear threats, now engages in the classic anti-Semitic trope of blaming Nazism on the Jews. Speaking to Italian TV, Lavrov responded to a reminder that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish thusly: “When they say ‘What sort of nazification is this if we are Jews,’ well I think that Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it means nothing. For a long time now we’ve been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves.”
This trope has been heard much on the radical right in the West in recent years. Trying to launder their Nazi-nostalgia with pseudo-anti-fascist rhetoric about the “jack-booted thugs” of US federal agencies (when Democrats are in power), they are faced with an obvious cognitive dilemma. How do they square it?
By applying Hitler’s own ideology and propaganda techniques to Hitler himself.
In Hitler’s world, everything bad was the creation of evil Jews in high places, like the much-hyped notorious Rothschilds. So, as we’ve noted, if Hitler was bad he must have been either the creation of Jews, placed in power by the Rothschilds or Elders of Zion or whatever—or, going one better, was a Jew himself.
All of this seizes on the popular rumor in Germany that Hitler’s grandmother was impregnated by a Rothschild baron for whom she worked as a maid. The more sophisticated propagandists will cite a book by a US intelligence analyst, Walter Langer, who looked into this theory after the war and in 1972 published his findings under the title The Mind of Adolf Hitler. If you go to the library and read the book for yourself, you’ll find that Langer ultimately decided the rumor was insubstantial.
But Russia is now taking this fascist pseudo-anti-fascism to truly Orwellian levels. Russian state media have issued what has been dubbed a “blueprint for genocide” in Ukraine—openly calling for disolution of the Ukrainian state and “punishment” of the civil population, in the perversely paradoxical name of “de-nazification.” Russian state media voices have also called for the “total annihilation” of Ukraine.
This thinking is being effectuated on the ground in Ukraine through mass murder of the populace. More mass graves are being discovered daily. It with reason that Ukraine has formally accused Russia of “genocide”—and called for the United Nations and world community to similarly recognize the actions of the Russian military in Ukraine as genocide of the Ukrainian people.
And all of this as Russia is preparing for massive military parades on May 9, commemorating the Soviet Union’s 1945 victory over Nazi Germany. Photos circulating on social media show a dress rehearsal in Saint Petersburg, with paramilitary troops marching in black or camo uniforms with red-and-white armbands sporting black insignia. Does this sound familiar? Not even attempting to hide the Nazi aesthetic to match the exterminationist rhetoric and campaign of massacre.
You almost have to admire the chutzpah.
Photo via Twitter