In Russia’s imagination, they are a proud bulwark against an imaginary threat known as ‘fascism’ and honestly believe that Central and Eastern Europe are somehow the bulwark of this ideology which needs to be ‘de-Nazified’.
We should be familiar with these accusations. Countless non-government organisations (NGOs), media outlets, and academics profit from telling us that our home countries are tainted by ‘racism’ and ‘fascism’ and that our histories are nothing to be proud of.
Indeed, the entire mythology about fighting imagined ‘Nazis’ and ‘white supremacy’ has the same roots as Russia’s ‘anti-fascist’ mythology. It comes from Russia’s narrative about the second world war, which served to cover up the atrocities committed by the Red Army in the course of war and its aftermath when Communist regimes were being imposed on half of Europe. Whether it is Katyn, mass rapes, or deportations of whole ethnic groups based on suspicions of being ‘collaborators’, they were part of the litany of crimes associated with history’s biggest killer, communism.
Russia’s state-sponsored smear machine is strikingly similar to the smear machine linked to Antifa and ‘progressive’ NGOs which propagate these myths. Russia has ramped up dehumanising rhetoric about Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic states in recent weeks. They do not intend to stop this alleged de-Nazification campaign with Ukraine, which perhaps is the reason why most post-Soviet republics (except for Lukashenko’s Soviet time warp Belarus) support Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The existence of proud and independent nations in Central and Eastern Europe appears to be a problem for Russia and its cheerleaders.
It’s a zero-sum game, and the nations of the region understand it better than anyone else because they’ve been directly impacted by it. Western progressives repeat the lies ad infinitum about countries like Poland, which further emboldens Russian propagandists to make potentially lethal bombasts about these nations.
Russia certainly cannot be allowed to get away with this, and the consequences they should face for their aggression should not be light. As Michael Rubin pointed out, it might even be the opportunity to finally liberate the nations which are still under the rule of Moscow in the guise of the ‘Russian Federation’.
Lastly, genocide denialism should also be aggressively countered.
Russia continues to whitewash the crimes of the Soviet era, similar to genocide denialism promoted by Turkey and Serbia. The inability of these countries to deal honestly with their own history presents a major threat to peace and security in some of the world’s most historically volatile regions.
But most of all, education on the crimes of communism and countering pro-Soviet mythology is desperately needed throughout the world. It is Russia’s adherence to these lies, most of all the myth of ‘Nazi’ Central and Eastern Europe, which has had the most lethal consequences of all: making Russia believe it has a license to commit atrocities in its imagined sphere of influence under the cloak of ‘de-Nazification’.
David Votoupal can be found writing here.
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