Ukrainian genocide?! (pt. 3)

a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.  


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“For our children”

Echoes of QAnon

Last week, I said that “It’s in plain sight and it’s hidden” i.e., Putin’s criminal aggression and his gaslighting. I also previewed: 

“. . . if one steps back, it becomes obvious that Putin has gone to war with Western values.”


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Reading the “Russian genocide handbook”

In this week’s installment, part 3, we’re going to examine Timofey Sergeytsev’s article in RIA Novosti a bit more closely, “What should Russia do with Ukraine?” Yale historian Timothy Snyder has called Sergeytsev’s article the “Russian genocide handbook.” Let’s see why.

The title alone is a pretty clear indication of the Russian superiority-dominant position presumed in Putin’s perspective. Putin must have quickly realized after his ill-advised invasion that the Ukrainian people don’t really believe that it’s his, or Russia’s, prerogative to “do” anything “with Ukraine.” Ukraine is a sovereign nation, a neighbor, not a colony or vassal-state of Russia. 


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Exploiting existing divisions

Typical of a totalitarian autocrat, Putin identified a fault line in the Ukrainian people. Sergeytsev immediately signals this by invoking a name that represents a polarizing issue in Ukraine. Sergeytsev writes in the first paragraph:

“Nazi, Bandera Ukraine, the enemy of Russia and the West’s tool for the destruction of Russia, we do not need.”

and later:

“The Bandera elite must be eliminated, its re-education is impossible.”

Stepan Bandera (1909-1959) is a controversial political figure in Ukraine who represents a fascist to some and a hero to others. “A fascist” because he “was a Ukrainian politician, Nazi-collaborator and theorist of the militant wing of the far-right Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.” “A hero” because he never wavered in his advocacy for an independent Ukraine. Putin appropriated this Bandera history to fashion his own special way of defining Nazism/neo-nazism in Ukraine.



Root issue

Sergeytsev reveals that Russia has a soft-power problem with Ukraine:

“The peculiarity of modern nazified Ukraine is in amorphousness and ambivalence, which allow Nazism to be disguised as a desire for ‘independence’ and a ‘European’ (Western, pro-American) path of ‘development’ . . . “

So, Ukraine’s strong desire to be independent/sovereign is the evidence to Putin that Ukraine has experienced mass nazification. After 1989 [end of cold war and subsequent collapse of the U.S.S.R.] is thought to be the chief period for Ukrainian nazification. Of course, to Putin, the separatist Russian-speakers fighting in the Donbas are rebelling against Ukrainian Nazism. To Putin, all Ukrainian armed forces are nazified — i.e., an example of Putin’s overreach in projecting a problematic part (e.g., Azov Battalion) onto the whole.


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So, ‘Ukrainian nazification’ is Putin’s way of saying the Ukrainian people have been lured away, contaminated and ruined by a foreign ideology (i.e., Western soft power, e.g., values of independent national sovereignty, personal freedom, and democracy). Sergeytsev writes:

“Denazification is necessary when a significant part of the people – most likely the majority – has been mastered and drawn into the Nazi regime in its politics.”

Putin’s vision casts the majority of Ukrainians as Nazis. And, Sergeytsev writes:

“There must be a total lustration.”

Putin’s ‘denazification’ is a purge and purify scheme. The “Nazis” — that is, a majority of the people — must be purged from Ukraine so Russian society may be purified. This pattern marks a totalitarian autocracy. 

An interesting quote from Alexander Dugin:
“In our own community, in a similar way, the chief enemy of the Russian nation are liberal Russians and not the representatives of other groups.”
Putin’s “lustration” language regarding Ukraine alerted attentive Russians to the very real possibility that the purge and purify campaign was bound to visit a Russian community near them, probably sooner rather than later. This is a dark side to “hidden in plain sight.”
A NY Times article, “Spurred by Putin, Russians Turn on One Another Over the War,” indicates that Putin’s gaslighting is already taking a toll on Russian society. 
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Russian polls

As to reports of Putin’s popularity increasing in Russia because of the war, we recall the signaling dimension of propaganda. That is, one function that propaganda provides is in shaping the sphere of acceptable discourse; propaganda helps create a society’s political Overton Window. Masha Geesen explained this dynamic recently on GPS: “A place where people feel like it’s a matter of survival to mirror back to the State what the State says to them.” If the State says Putin’s war is good, well, then — especially in a heightened purge and purify climate.
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Timothy Snyder has called Sergeytsev’s article the Russian genocide handbook.” So, Putin’s July 2021 denial of Ukraine’s existence in writing was an ideological enactment of genocide. Putin’s present purge and purify “denazification” scheme for Ukraine is a premeditated genocide (and it’s documented by Putin and Sergeytsev). 
[Ukrainian genocide?! (part 1), (part 2), and (part 3) were written the week of April 4-10.]
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Next week: “Masks aside.” Come see.

Your thoughts? 



2 thoughts on “Ukrainian genocide?! (pt. 3)

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