a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.
“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.”
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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
“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.”
Next week: “Masks aside.” Come see.