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‘To vilify Ukraine, the Kremlin resorts to antisemitism’: US Dept of State

To justify the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Kremlin’s propaganda machine has been peddling a preposterous narrative of ‘denazifying’ Ukraine.

The claim may easily work on the target audience of Russian state media, the Russian people, whose brains have been polished cue-ball-smooth by 20 years of Putinist propaganda, but in accordance with the old rule “throw muck at the wall and see what sticks”, Russia hopes that at least some of its anti-Ukrainian propaganda will at least sow doubt in the more weak-minded individuals in the west, so they keep rolling with it.

The US has been by far the largest provider of monetary and military support to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24. The US Department of State has published an extensive rebuke of Moscow’s “Ukrainian Nazis” propaganda narrative on its website on July 11.

“One of the Kremlin’s most common disinformation narratives to justify its devastating war against the people of Ukraine is the lie that Russia is pursuing the ‘denazification’ of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has referred to Ukraine’s democratically elected government as a ‘gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis,’ while Russian state media and propagandists have repeatedly called for the ‘denazification’ of the entire population of Ukraine.”

The Department of State clearly identifies the primitive tactic for what it is. The Kremlin is “evoking Nazism and the horrors associated with World War II and the Holocaust” in order to “delegitimise and demonise Ukraine in the eyes of the Russian public and the world”. Furthermore, it attempts to portray itself as a successor to the vanquishers of Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Putin’s Russia is claiming to be the successor of the Soviet Union and its achievements. It conveniently ignores the fact that many Red Army soldiers who fought against Nazis were from other Soviet republics, including Ukraine. They are not mentioning a word about the horrifying atrocities perpetrated under such bloodthirsty monsters as the Soviet dictator Stalin. Although the crimes committed by the invaders in places like Bucha show that they are doing their best to keep up with him.

Numerous historians, including those of the Yad Vashem institute have condemned drawing parallels between Ukraine and Nazi Germany as completely unfounded, and also offensive to the “victims of Nazism and those who courageously fought against it.”

Russia’s revisionism on Zelenskyy’s origin

The claim of Ukraine being a Nazi state is even more preposterous, considering that the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is himself Jewish. And the supposedly Nazi Ukraine democratically elected him to serve as the head of state in 2019 by an overwhelming 73 percent of the vote. But, as the Department of State writes, “the Kremlin disseminates false narratives attempting to delegitimize his Jewishness. The Kremlin falsely claims the worst Nazis were actually Jews, and seeks to downplay the role of antisemitism in Nazi ideology.”

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Vladimir Solovyov, one of the most repugnant examples of Russian propaganda pundits, has claimed on his show that Zelenskyy is not really Jewish, or that he somehow betrayed his Jewishness. What makes this even more interesting, is that Vladimir Rudolfovich Solovyov is himself of Jewish origin. The Kremlin is discovering new rock bottoms of moral bankruptcy when it comes to Jew-baiting. Not only is it Jew-baiting, but it is baiting one Jew against another. Passing a moral judgement of the Kremlin rulers is easy enough. As for the judgement on the morals of Sasha Solovyov, may the readers decide for themselves.

But what is to be expected from propagandists of the Kremlin, if the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, is no better? When confronted by a Western journalist about the what is the logic behind accusing Zelenskyy, a Jew, of Nazism, Lavrov responded “with an antisemitic conspiratorial rant”, talking about how Adolf Hitler “had Jewish blood, too,” and adding that the “wise Jewish people say that the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews.”

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The Israeli government immediately reacted to this, demanding an apology for the “unforgivable, outrageous” remarks made by Lavrov. Kremlin’s reaction? Accusing Israel of making “anti-historical statements” and accusing Israel of supporting a “neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”

Russia. Accused. Israel. Of supporting. Nazis.

But no wonder, since the world created by Russian propaganda is a more bizarre one than what Alice saw on the other side of the looking glass. Back in 2019, Sergey Glazyev, now the Commissioner for Integration and Macroeconomics within the Eurasian Economic Commission, then an economic adviser to Putin, said that Zelenskyy is planning to replace to colonise eastern and southern parts of Ukraine with Israeli Jews to replace the local Russophone population.

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“There is no better way to understand the Kremlin’s propaganda and disinformation than to ‘peek behind the curtain’ and see what goes on inside the apparatus,” writes the Department of State. Indeed there is not. In early June, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) published what it identified as a report from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) on how the Kremlin wants to improve the “informational-propagandistic support” of its “special military operation” in Ukraine. TVP World has covered the subject in a separate article.

“President Putin and his disinformation and propaganda apparatus exploit the historical memory of the Soviet fight against Nazi Germany to fabricate a pretext for their unprovoked brutal war against Ukraine,” writes the US Department of State. And it also identifies another problem. Russia comparing Ukraine to Nazi Germany in order to justify its own savagery murkens the truth and in effect trivialises the memory of both those who died Holocaust and those who were trying to save them. And so, the statement by the Department of State concludes with this sentence:

“With antisemitism on the rise around the world, it is imperative for all to call out this particularly pernicious kind of Russian disinformation.”

The statement can be read in its entirety by following this link.

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