Russian ‘denazification’ goes full Nazi


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.”

The statement has prompted the requisite protests from Israel, which may perhaps now rethink its shameful accommodation of the Putin regime. (BBC News, Reuters)

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

  1. Nazi-nostalgist Russian armbands go viral

    Apparently we were not the only ones to notice the Nazi-like armbands used by parading military troops in Russia, with the images now going viral on social media. Skepticism that the armbands are actually Nazi-inspired is provided by (of all places) Radio Free Europe, which writes that “many of the photos that caused an outcry online are several years old, and photographic archives show that Russia has employed the same armbands since at least 2012.” But we will point out that the photo seen above in this post is indeed from a rehearsal march for the upcoming Victory Day celebration—from a week or so ago, not a decade. Additionally, while we are all for rigor in dating and contextualizing photos, we aren’t sure how meaningful it is that some of the shots are a decade old. It isn’t like Russia went fascist overnight. 

  2. Timothy Snyder: ‘Russia is fascist’

    Historian Timothy Snyder calls it straight in a New York Times op-ed today, entitled with refreshing frankness: “We Should Say It. Russia Is Fascist.” He has this to say about the phenomenon we call fascist pseudo-anti-fascism:

    Fascists calling other people “fascists” is fascism taken to its illogical extreme as a cult of unreason. It is a final point where hate speech inverts reality and propaganda is pure insistence. It is the apogee of will over thought. Calling others fascists while being a fascist is the essential Putinist practice. Jason Stanley, an American philosopher, calls it “undermining propaganda.” I have called it “schizofascism.” The Ukrainians have the most elegant formulation. They call it “ruscism.”

  3. Further details on ‘blueprint for genocide’

    The Ukraine Crisis Media Center provides further gems from the “blueprint for genocide” document apparently published April 3 by RIA Novosti, by commentator Timofei Sergeitsev (Timofey Sergeytsev):

    Ukronazism carries not less, but a greater threat to the world and Russia than German Nazism of the Hitlerite version….The name “Ukraine” apparently cannot be retained as the title of any fully denazified state….It must be returned to its natural boundaries and deprived of political functionality….Ukraine, as history has shown, is impossible as a nation-state, and attempts to “build” one naturally lead to Nazism. Ukrainism is an artificial anti-Russian construction that does not have its own civilizational content….

  4. More Russian nuclear threats

    Russian state TV personality Vladimir Solovyov has warned that if NATO keeps supporting Ukraine in President Vladimir Putin’s war, there will be a “massive nuclear strike” that will see only “mutants” survive. (Newsweek)

  5. Jeffrey Sachs guest on Russia war propaganda program

    The Promoting Enduring Peace blog notes that back on March 9, the supposed “anti-war” (sic!) mouthpiece Jeffrey Sachs appeared on “Solovyov Live,” Russian state televsion program of Vladimir Solovyov, serial advocate of nuclear strikes. They amicably chatted about how the West provoked the Ukraine war (of course), and Sachs (of course) did not challenge his host at all.

    “Anti-war,” huh?