What the headlines aren't telling us is that if not for Russia's intervention, the newly independent DPR and LPR would at this point likely be getting crushed by the belligerent regime Washington has installed within Ukraine. Not only that, but the ethnic Russians within the Donbass region would be subjected to an even more severe genocide than they already have been. This was essentially articulated last month by a DPR pro-independence activist, who said that "We can't live in the same country as the Nazis. We can't forgive all that we experienced through the years. How can I live in one country with those who killed my loved ones?"
They weren't just talking about the Nazis of the World War II era, who ethnically cleansed Ukraine's Jews, Romas, and Slavs with the assistance of treasonous collaborators from within the country. They were referring to Ukraine's Nazis of today, who not only have gained enough paramilitary strength to replicate the Holocaust's atrocities throughout the last eight years, but have influenced the corrupt Kiev regime enough to have those Nazi collaborators become glorified by Ukraine's highest levels of government. The wound they're referring to couldn't be more fresh.
It's not just generational trauma, it's a new layer of trauma that the imperialists and their fascist proxies in Ukraine have recently added onto Ukraine's people.
Since the 2014 coup, Ukraine's governments-even that of the Jewish Zelensky-have been enabling the fascist militias as a warfare strategy. It hasn't mattered to them how much collateral damage (which in this case means genocide) has come from this, because fundamentally they agree with the goals of the neo-Nazis.
This is apparent not only from their outlawing negative statements about the Nazi collaborators, but from their desire to use ethnic cleansing to seize the land from the Russian communities which have been fighting for their independence. In other words, a modern Lebensraum, where land gets stolen for the sake of the supposedly superior nation. The original post-coup regime expressed the intent of forcibly relocating the Donbass population into "filtration" camps should Ukraine subdue the separatist zones, and given Zelensky's actions, there's every reason to believe he has similar goals.
The extreme corruption and neoliberal shock policies that Zelensky has furthered have driven Ukraine into increasing destabilization, which has provided more opportunities for the fascist militias to gain control through filling power vacuums within pockets of a failed state. At the same time as this inderect enabling of the neo-Nazis, war crimes against the disfavored ethnicities have continued under Zelensky, consistent with the Ukrainian National Guard's spree of atrocities following the coup and the mass grave that Ukraine created within Donbass in 2014. There's been both incidental and direct advancement of Nazism's genocidal goals on the part of the government.
If we were to measure Ukraine's actions during the Donbass war through the same lens that we measure the actions of the Third Reich during World War II, we would see numerous Holocaust parallels, including one between the Ukrainian Army's racist atrocities and the Holocaust by Bullet. In both cases, there have been pogroms, massacres of civilians, torture, and persecution of dissidents, setting the precedents for racist policies as explained by the famous "first they came for the communists" Holocaust poem. The main difference between these two genocides is that the one perpetrated by fascist Ukraine hasn't prominently involved concentration camps, which would absolutely be happening if the Kiev regime were to gain control over the fates of the Donbass people.
The concentration camps have so far only been part of what the fascists intend to carry out, but that Russia has prevented them from doing.
What they also have in common is that Russia has been the protector for those targeted by the Nazis. As the USSR was overwhelmingly the contributor to the liberation of those under the Third Reich, Russia has defended the ethnic Russians, Jews, Romas, Africans, and other persecuted groups within Ukraine to the greatest extent that it's so far been reasonably able. (Though it did hold back on this by not immediately intervening to the extent it has now following the 2014 coup.)
Despite the reports from NATO's propagandists, who seize upon even dubious reports that Russia has committed war crimes, Russia has acted as the humanitarian-at least in relative terms. The threatened peoples within the independent republics are only part of those who are being helped by Russia's intervention. For the communities that have been living in fear of the regime and its paramilitaries, and of the dissidents who've been imprisoned, this intervention is a rescue. Whatever abuses that can be accurately attributed to Russia are happening in the context of this net good.
Since Putin is doing essentially what Stalin did throughout the Soviet involvement in Poland and Germany, the campaign to portray Putin as unambiguously evil naturally repeats the narratives which have demonized the USSR's involvement in World War II. These narratives have depended on portraying Stalin as a moral equivalent to Hitler, or on portraying Stalin as the only one of the two who did anything wrong (a Holocaust denialist position that should be nonexistent, but that has growing prominence due to Washington's backing of the Ukrainian neo-Nazis). Anti-communists have partly propagated these narratives through Holocaust revisionist arguments like the "double genocide" theory, which claims the USSR was to blame for part of the Holocaust throughout its involvement in Poland. But it's mainly stemmed from the "Holodomor," the fabricated account of Stalin having deliberately starved Ukraine which was created by Goebbels and then popularized by William Randolph Hearst.
It's this mythology about a historical Russian persecution against Ukrainians that's animated Ukraine's extreme right, an attempt to justify Hitler's plans for conquering Ukraine under a humanitarian guise, that's been propagated by the Kiev regime. It's what gives a sense of logic to the idea that Russia's current goals within Ukraine are imperialist (Russia lacks the strength of capital to function as an imperialist power), and that the Kiev regime should be defended. The Ukrainians promoting it are ironically acting as apologists for the Reich that colonized them, buying into the Reich's claims about merely wanting to liberate them from the supposed Soviet oppressor. With the return of Nazism and its anti-communist cultural hegemony to Ukraine, the Reich in a way lives on within one of its colonies, propped up by the imperialists who pretend to be opposed to Hitler's goals.
Under the regime, challenging this narrative is illegal by default, since the Communist Party was outlawed after the coup and it's now effectively illegal to be a socialist within the country. So the distortions of the fascists are allowed to fill the void of censored information, giving the "victim and demon" view of Ukraine and Russia a sense of untouchability. The fascists seek to erase all evidence that those at the center of their nationalist mythology were genocide perpetrators, and ultimately to erase all evidence of the Holocaust itself-as well as of the new genocide that they themselves have just committed. Atrocity denial happens in real time, starting as soon as the crimes have been carried out. And like the original Nazis did, the new Nazis in Ukraine are seeking to conceal the inhumane nature of their Lebensraum project.
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Rainer Shea is writing articles that counter the propaganda of the capitalist/imperialist power establishment, and that help move us towards a socialist revolution. Donate to me on Patreon here: