Voices from Russia

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The Ukraine’s Descent into Fascism and How the West Turns a Blind Eye

00 Slava Ukrainy! 25.08.14

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We decided to publish this article in full, since it’s by far the best description we know of the rise of fascism in the Ukraine. The author, who’s a top American scholar, shows that Ukrainian fascism isn’t the fringe phenomenon that western governments and media say it is, but that it’s central to Ukrainian politics and is the key to understanding the Ukrainian  political crisis and the way that crisis is evolving as the situation in the country worsens. He shows by drawing on the latest academic scholarship that the fascism currently loose in the Ukraine is fascism in its classic form, identical to the fascism of that existed in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, and that like that fascism, it disguises its racist and genocidal agenda behind slogans of anti-communism. He describes how the racist hatred that drives Ukrainian fascism focuses on Russia and Russians and expresses itself with the same genocidal language against Russians that fascists of the 1930s and 1940s used against Slavs and Jews. The author shows that western governments and media, their judgement already clouded by their hostility to Russia, have allowed themselves to be beguiled by Ukrainian fascism’s anti-communist slogans and insincere “Europeanism” so that they turn a blind eye both to its reality and to its actions, with potentially disastrous results as the situation in the Ukraine worsens.

Russia-Insider

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How does one interpret recent marches of Ukrainian nationalists in two main Ukrainian cities, Kharkov and Kiev? To an outsider, these marches look like Nazi bacchanalia intended to intimidate both local population and the government. Indeed, the marchers demanded the status of national heroes for the wartime Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) notorious for its violent extermination of thousands of Jews and Poles. Yet, one would wait in vain for the Western media to mention the N-word. BBC coyly reported, “Nationalists demanded that MPs pass a law to recognise a World War Two nationalist group which opposed Soviet forces”. The BBC presented the UPA, an organisation responsible for the murder of thousands, as “opposition to Soviet forces”. The BBC’s squeamishness is very typical of western coverage of Ukrainian violence. As long as any group challenges the evils of Stalin’s Bolshevism, one ignores their Nazi collaboration. It is this privileging of anti-communism at the expense of anything else that enables the press to insist, “There are no Nazis in the Ukraine… it’s all the invention of Kremlin propaganda”.

The western media, never squeamish about pointing a finger at Russian nationalism, or to decry Russia’s covert and overt attempts to interfere in the Ukraine, becomes surprisingly timid when describing the Ukraine’s turmoil. Of course, it’d admit the growing pains of the Ukraine’s pro-Western democratic turn, including the activity of violent groups or parties, like Right Sector, that flaunt Nazi paraphernalia and expound bizarre and racist notions. However, they quickly modify this acknowledgement with an insistence on the marginal nature of these groups. Nonetheless, they’re not marginal, rather, these groups are the tip of the ultra-nationalist iceberg that’s going to crush the modern Ukraine. The nature of this iceberg is simple… the Ukraine is rushing headlong to create a modern-day fascist society. It might try to disguise itself as a pro-European liberal democracy, as a country eager to resist Russian control or Soviet legacy, but a very menacing reality lays behind this double dose of Ukrainian spin and Western Cold War narrative. It includes pervasive rhetoric focusing on the myth of a heroic Ukraine that we must restore, honour its champions, and vanquish its enemies. It also includes a forced imposition of such a myth upon the whole Ukrainian population, resulting in a series of violent actions of genocidal character, be it the 2 May massacre in Odessa, or the relentless shelling of civilians in the [Novorossiya].

What remains hidden in plain view in recent Ukrainian politics is a highly-recognisable pattern shared by numerous fascist regimes. A school of current historians of fascism (Emilio Gentile, Roger Griffin, George Mause, Stanley Payne, and Robert Paxton) established generic features of the fascist phenomenon. Fascism for these scholars doesn’t necessarily imply its Nazi variant with anti-Semitism, yellow stars, and concentration camps. Primarily, it’s a cultural phenomenon, a “cultural revolution in a nationalist key” (Comparative Fascist Studies, Routledge, 2010: 114) as the result of which society embarks on a new mythic course. It “sacralises an earthly entity… the nation” (Gentile in Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, 2004: 18); it re-imagines its past and articulates a utopian future that remains out of reach only because some group serves as an obstacle. It also targets and utilises the inexperience and alienation of youth by providing it with the sense of belonging, direction, and “destructive emotions against a hallucinatory enemy” (Griffin, Radical Right, 1999: 298). According to Payne’s A History of Fascism, 1914-1945, London, 1997: 487-95), in order for a country to embark on a fascist course, it has to show a series of cultural, political, social, economic, and international elements. A majority of these elements are fully deployed in the Ukraine… it has a pre-existing strong current of nationalism, it’s a comparatively new state, it has a political system that approximates liberal democracy but existed only for a single generation, it’s in economic crisis of dislocation or underdevelopment, it has a politically neutralised military, and a fragmented or polarised party system, along with status humiliation (loss of the Crimea) and an apparent danger from the left (cf. [Union of People’s Republics of Novorossiya]).

In other words, the cultural, political, and social pre-conditions of fascism are already crystallised in the Ukraine. In particular, we emphasise the following… the political vision that drives violent youth organisations like the Right Sector and being embraced by more and more Ukrainians is a myth of a strong unified Ukraine located both in the past and in the future. It includes the embrace of mythic champions of that vision, such as UPA leaders Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevich, which is supposed to inspire the Ukraine toward its glorious future, whilst it demonises enemies, in particular, Russians, who prevent the Ukraine from reaching this mythical paradise. During the last twenty years, the organisation of education in the Ukraine, in particular, the teaching of history, drove home this simplistic mythology.

The civil war in [Novorossiya], coupled with the loss of the Crimea, only exaggerated Ukrainian utopian thinking. The mythic enemy (Russia) has shown its claws, highlighting the urgent need for the unified force of so-called svidomye… a new and important Ukrainian term, describing in-crowd of politically conscious nationalists. Today, these svidomye are the backbone of the Right Sector and other paramilitary groups like the so-called National Guard, which are behind the most gruesome violence emanating from the Ukraine. Condoned by the media, politicians, and the army, these svidomye encounter little resistance. Furthermore, just a few days ago, the leader of National Guard, Stepan Poltorak, became the Ukrainian Minister of Defence, signifying the fact that ultra-nationalists are in control of the army, and not the other way around.

The current Ukrainian ideologues are well aware that the West would hardly tolerate purely-ethnic hatred, so they either deny the violence inflicted upon the population not willing to share their utopian visions, or… when that becomes impossible… do their best to obfuscate it. In fact, Kiev found a very successful strategy of disguising its Russophobia as Sovietophobia, a brilliant move that guarantees the immediate support of Baltic and East Europeans countries, let alone the Cold Warriors of the West. Needless to say, practically all fascist movements of the twentieth century presented their genocidal violence as a political struggle against communism, bolshevism, or sovietism. The mainstream press, however, happy to detect rudiments of neo-Nazism in Russia, fails to recognise in Ukrainian rhetoric of anti-sovietism a camouflaged version of Nazi “Judeo-Bolshevism”.

Therefore, whilst on the surface Ukrainian radicals attack Lenin sculptures, Stalin’s politics, and left-wing parties, what seethes underneath is hatred of all things Russian. How else can one explain this ardour against Lenin or Stalin, whom nobody in Eastern Europe or Russia takes particularly seriously nowadays? Yet, equating Stalin’s brutal agrarian politics with genocide against Ukrainians enables these ideologues to promote the myths of Ukrainian victimhood at the hands of its hated neighbour. Thus, we learn, as reported by Dmitri Kolesnik, that “Oleg Odnorozhenko, deputy commander of the Azov Battalion, defines the Ukrainian war as a conflict of ‘people with a European identity fighting with Sovietness’”, The very juxtaposition of such disparate concepts as “European” and “Soviet”, skilfully implies that things Soviet are non-European and barbaric. Thus, the fight with Soviets becomes a civilisational and not a genocidal project. Just a few days ago, a Rada People’s Deputy, Tamara Farion, in a speech commemorating the heroism of UPA, declared that “the ideals of World War II Ukrainian nationalists who resisted Moscow should become universal for the Ukraine… that we should execute everyone in the Ukraine who lacks Ukrainian spirit… and that we must erase Moscow, for remaining an irredeemable black hole in European security”. Relying on western publications and translations, the western public can’t perceive the depth of venom and hostility that pervades Ukrainian political discourse, be it through the media, blogs, FB postings, or YouTube videos. Aleksei Sakhnin, a Russian political dissident arrested by Putin, and, obviously, no fan of “Kremlin propaganda”, was shocked by what he saw during his recent visit to the Ukraine. For him, the Ukrainian situation resembled a powder keg ready to explode. The animosity that emanates from the Ukraine is so strong, that it even expanded abroad, as can be witness by the attack on a photograph exhibition at a Chelsea gallery in New York City.

The legitimising of fascism, its entering of the mainstream under the pretext of a war with Stalinism and its Soviet legacy, made it the main ideology in the Ukraine, resulting in what Ukrainian journalist, Dmitri Manuilsky called “legitimisation of the fascist discourse”. In fact, such legitimisation came into being under an earlier Ukrainian president, Viktor Yushchenko, with  his radical attempts to re-introduce nationalistic myths into the Ukrainian psyche. This cultural shift generated a very articulate condemnation as early as 2008, when Ukrainian historians Georgi Kryuchkov and Dmitri Tabachnik published in Kharkov a collection of essays entitled Fascism in the Ukraine: Threat or Reality? Whether Ukrainian mythic nationalism will result in some major genocide is unclear, but one can hardly doubt that the fascist discourse that took hold of the Ukraine during the last 20 years will only get worse, fuelled by a depressed economy, destroyed industrial powerhouses in the east, and a local currency in freefall.  Furthermore, the Ukrainian government is clearly dysfunctional; common people demand blood, there are fights in the Rada, there are fights outside, there are lynching crowds who attack and beat up politicians. The interior minister, Arseny Avakov, appealed to the crowd through Facebook on 30 September and asked them not to resort to lynching since it can ruin the Ukrainian reputation “in Europe and even in America”. To which some members of his audience replied that since the MVDU proved to be ineffective in dealing with the “pro-Russian” side, they had to resort to violence instead.

However, Avakov shouldn’t worry about American reaction to Ukrainian lawlessness. Beguiled by the skilful spinning by Ukrainians of their genocidal hatred in political terms, American politicians prefer to concentrate on Russia and the need to challenge it. Thus, despite numerous reports of rising ethnic tensions, despite the evidence of disturbing invocations of Nazism (see articles by Alec Luhn, Max Blumenthal, or Stephen Cohen), the White House refuses to modify its policy. In his recent speech at Harvard, Joe Biden insisted on the already-familiar narrative that the events in the Ukraine have to do with the American need to challenge Russia, whilst ignoring Ukrainian realities. For Biden’s Cold War mindset, sanctioning Russia into obedience appears to be the only goal… “But again, it was America’s leadership and the President of the USA insisting, oft-times almost having to embarrass Europe to stand up and take economic hits to impose costs. The results have been… the Russian economy teetering on the brink of recession… Putin has to make a choice. These asymmetrical advances on another country cannot be tolerated”. In short, the Ukraine be damned, as long as we make Russia back off.

Biden demonstrates here a rather consistent pattern of American foreign policy… the fixation on a historical rival at the expense of current mayhem. For example, think of Cambodia. When the Vietnamese army decided to put an end to Khmer Rouge violence and invaded the country, the USA continued to condemn Vietnam and supported the Khmer Rouge régime. In the words of the historian Pierre Ryckmans, also known by his pen name of Simon Leys, “After the fall of Saigon in 1975, Kissinger asked the Foreign Affairs Minister of Thailand to convey to Pol Pot the friendly wishes of the American people, adding for his interlocutor’s benefit, ‘Of course, these people are murderous thugs, but this shouldn’t affect our good relations’. The administration of Jimmy Carter… under the influence of Brzezinski, and notwithstanding the rhetorical emphasis which the president himself placed on human rights… pursued essentially the same line”.

This description of a myopic American policy aimed at containing an imaginary enemy whilst ignoring an unfolding genocide seems to apply to the current Ukrainian crisis as well. There’s an improbable alliance created to contain an imaginary Russian threat; there’s an American president, whose “rhetorical emphasis on human rights” brings him… as in the case of Jimmy Carter… the Nobel Peace Prize, who disregards these very human rights to follow the pronouncements of the ubiquitous Brzezinski and other ideologues. Of course, historical analogies hardly prove anything, so one hopes that the Ukraine will fall short of the genocidal record set by Cambodia. Nevertheless, it’s clear that the Ukraine looks more and more like a country ready to devour itself, while its western cheerleaders, continue lecturing the world on the need to contain Russia, while ignoring the Ebola of fascism that has so thoroughly infected the Ukraine.

22 October 2014

Vladimir Golstein

Associate Professor of Slavic Languages

Brown University (Providence RI USA)

Russia-Insider

http://russia-insider.com/en/ukraine_opinion/2014/11/06/01-03-06pm/ukraines_descent_fascism_and_how_west_turns_blind_eye

Editor:

I have observed self-described “Ukrainians” for decades. My conclusion is that so-called “Ukrainian” organisations in the diaspora are purveyors of hatred and fascism. No, not all who belong to such groups and “churches” are fascists and violent. However, no one stands up against the fascists and the haters. NO ONE. I want to emphasise that. These groups spout hatred such as “The Ukraine for Ukrainians only”… trust me, if Russians were to say, “Russia for Russians only”, the outcry (especially from “Ukrainians”) would be LOUD. I have seen the face of utter evil… it’s called “UKRAINIAN”… that’s my conclusion after decades of experience with self-described “Ukrainians”. I’ve never met a group so supine in the face of wickedness… NEVER. If you remain silent… you cover yourself with guilt. Speak up or be damned… evil is afoot and we all must fight it. ALL OF US… including self-described “Ukrainians”. Which side ARE you on?

BMD

The Religious Roots of Russia’s Mistrust towards the West

aleksandr-nevsky-2007-rf

Right-Believing Grand Prince St Aleksandr Nevsky stopped the absorption of Russia into Catholic Europe and thus saved the Russian Orthodox faith

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There’s something in the Russian collective memory that causes Russian mistrust towards the West. Does this mistrust have religious roots? I don’t disagree completely with some of the points made in the article Anti-Western Sentiment as the Basis for Russian Unity, heavily criticised by fellow RI contributor Eric Kraus. Russian identity has a deeper anti-Western sentiment than implied by the recent rise of anti-Western sentiment among Russians, primarily caused by what they perceive as American and NATO aggression. So what is one of the main causes of Russia’s historical mistrust towards the West? For centuries, the Vatican tried to convert Russian Orthodox Christians to Catholicism. They succeeded in doing so with Orthodox Christians in the Western Ukraine and in parts of the Western Balkans. Even today, Vatican zealotry is alive and well. The Vatican is trying to achieve a “church union with Orthodox Christians”, of course under the primacy of the Pope. Russians saw foreign invaders… the Vatican, together with Swedish and Polish forces, Napoleon, Hitler, and NATO… as violent symbols of Western civilisation.

However, Russian identity didn’t gel as a reaction or historical reflex to Western expansionism. In its nature, Russian culture isn’t anti-Western or based on antagonism towards foreign civilisations or concepts.Many Russians would argue that Russian identity belongs to a different civilisational “code” as a successor of the great traditions and civilisation of New Rome. That’s the reason the Russian Empire was for centuries considered the Third Rome. Orthodox civilisation differs from its Western counterpart in terms of values, tradition, religion, and so on. Just read Samuel Huntington’s A Clash of Civilisations. Huntington posits that people’s cultural and religious identities would be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. Many would argue that this is exactly what’s happening in today’s world. Most of the recent conflicts have either religious or cultural causes. In addition, bloody civil wars in the Balkans, and now in the Ukraine, had a strong religious and civilisational dimension to them.

Let’s not forget that many American and European Christian conservatives support Putin because of his Christian vision and pro-family values. Maybe, could this be a reaction to their own governments’ openly anti-Christian and anti-family approach to social issues?

7 November 2014

Danmir Marinović

Russia-Insider

http://russia-insider.com/en/culture_christianity_society/2014/11/07/09-33-37am/religious_roots_russias_mistrust_towards_west

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00 russia 01. Viktor Vasnetsov. Three Bogatyrs. 1898

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Here’s what Mr Marinović wrote to an interlocutor in the commboxes:

I was referring to the Vatican, not to ordinary Catholic believers. There’s a big difference between good ordinary Catholics on one side and the corrupted Vatican and “infallible” Pope on the other. Click here for an excellent article about Vatican and Russia. As Dostoyevsky pointed up, “Papism is more dangerous than atheism, since it presents to us a profane and desecrated Christ usurping the earthly throne”, the Pope took the sword and added, “lies, intrigue, deception, fanaticism, and villainy”. Papism is dangerous precisely because it offers a counterfeit Christ.

You obviously deceive yourself when you claim that the Popes didn’t want to subordinate Orthodox for centuries. Yes, they didn’t ask for the Latin Mass, but they did ask us to admit the primacy of the Pope and to consider him “infallible in matters of faith”, which is blasphemy. As far as the power-hungry Vatican is concerned, you can worship God as you want, as long as you subordinate yourself to the Pope. The Pope replaced Christ; he’s the God in the Vatican church. There’s no place for Christ next to the Pope; you just need to adore the Pope and you’ll be saved. In regard to theological and other important differences between Catholics and the Orthodox Church, please, click here, here, and here.

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If you’d like to learn more what Catholic clergy did to “their Christian brothers”, to Orthodox Christians, in the Second World War, please, look at this documentary. Moreover, this documentary only relates the Vatican’s misdeeds in World War II; I’m not even mentioning any other tragic historical events related to the Vatican and Orthodox Christians. THE VATICAN’S HOLOCAUST isn’t a misnomer, an accusation, and even less a speculation. It’s a historical fact. Rabid nationalism and religious dogmatism were its two main ingredients. During the existence of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) as an independent Catholic State, over 700,000 men, women and children perished. Many were executed, tortured, died of starvation, buried alive, or were burned to death. Thousands were forced to become Catholic. Catholic padres ran concentration camps; Catholic priests were officers of the military that committed such atrocities. 700,000 in a total population of a few million, proportionally, would be as if a Catholic militia exterminated one-third of the American population.

The Ustaša slaughtered Serbs, Jews, and the Roma were in their villages after unspeakable tortures or burned alive in their churches. Those they didn’t murder, they expelled to Serbia proper after despoiling them of all their property or forcibly converting to the Roman Catholic faith by Franciscan and Roman Catholic clergy. Many suffered as slave labourers. The remaining people went to concentration camps where the majority perished. From gold and money stolen from these people, the Vatican enabled Nazis to escape to Argentina, on the so-called “ratlines”. Pope John Paul ll declared war criminal Alojzije Viktor Stepinac beatified in 1998.

I’d add that a good place to find some more intel on this is here, scroll down to “Dmitri Anatolyevich at the Radonezh Orthodox Gymnazia in Moscow”, then, scroll past the Vasnetsov painting and under the image of D A Belyukin, read that. There’s a lot of good stuff in that post… D A Belyukin is a People’s Painter of Russia, an Orthodox activist, a Russian patriot, and a world-class painter. Here’s the main quote:

Dmitri Anatolyevich asked, “Did you know that Prince Aleksandr Nevsky had a dilemma? He could go to war against the Horde or against the enemies from the West. Why do you think that he chose to face the latter threat?” The students replied, “Because they wanted to force Russia to convert to their faith!” Dmitri Anatolyevich replied, “The answer’s correct, harsh as it is. That is, the Tatars were content with tribute, they didn’t infringe upon the Faith, and they didn’t notice that Igumen Sergei of Radonezh had started to stir up the depths of the Russian land. The Westerners, on the other hand, wanted to bring their crusades to Russia, which, in many respects, the current popes carry out both covertly and openly. Therefore, it’s even more necessary for all of us to protect Orthodoxy as the mainstay and foundation of the unity of the nation”.

I also posted this… here’s the main quote:

It’s a frightening snapshot of the mindset of the Tea Party. They’re nothing but nativist Know-Nothings. It’s why we as Orthodox Christians can have nothing to do with them. They’re American Sectarians through-and-through. Their defining ideology is “Dominion Theology”, which states that the Bible (in its distorted and bowdlerised Proddie recension) trumps all civil law. Orthodox can’t have anything to do with that… our theology speaks of the symphonia of Church and State, each in its proper sphere, each with its own proper laws.

Many American Orthodox have succumbed to the siren song of American Sectarianism. After all, there are MILLIONS of them and only about a million Orthodox all told, of all “flavours”, in the USA. We must recognise that sectarianism is the greatest enemy to Our Lord Christ that exists in our country. Atheism doesn’t even come close to them… secularism is a pale opponent in comparison. A Russian priest wrote to me, “Sectarians use the name of Christ, but they aren’t of Him or in Him. They aren’t Christians, they’re of Satan”.

Orthodoxy isn’t defined “against” anything or anyone… it has its own positive dynamic. It stands alone… it’d exist even if there wasn’t a West or a Vatican or a Protestantism. We don’t define ourselves in comparison with anyone else. We are what we are… they are what they are… that’s what sober normal people think, any road. The same is true of Russian and Holy Rus… we aren’t Russian because we’re “not Westerners”… we’re Russians as Holy Rus is the successor of New Rome… we owe NOTHING to the West, and certainly not to drooling Anglo American toddler “conservatives” or “liberals” (both are two sides of a perverted neoliberal ideology that’s satanic to the bone). Russia has its own inner logic, wisdom, civilisation, faith, and folkways. We wish to live in peace with all people of good will… however… all those who march on Russia will be put to death! As it was, as it is, as it ever shall be!

One last thing… Samuel K Huntington did NOT originate the idea of “civilisational blocs”… that goes back to S M Solovyov in the 19th century (he was the father of the famous religious thinker V S Solovyov). Sergei Mikhailovich was one of the greatest Russian historians, but how many Westerners are even aware of his existence?

BMD

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