The Russian authorities sometimes use the term “Nazi” to refer to the current leaders of Ukraine
For Moscow, the fall of the president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, in February 2014, was the result of a “coup” orchestrated by “Pravi Séktor”, the Ukrainian extreme right, whom, together with the supporters of the historical leader of the Ukrainian nationalism, Stepan Bandera, described as “Nazis” because of the latter’s links with the Hitler regime. So the annexation of Crimea, in March 2014, and the war that broke out a month later in eastern Ukraine, in the Kremlin are seen as “logical consequences” of that allegedly fascist-inspired coup.
From then on, and to this day, the Russian authorities sometimes use the term “Nazi” to refer to the current leaders of Ukraine, whom they accuse of not complying with the Minsk peace agreement, signed in February 2015. with the aim of ending the war in the Ukrainian secessionist provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk, for refusing to negotiate with the rebel leaders.
There are analysts who consider that the legitimate cult of “Victory” over Nazi Germany in World War II has been intensified and magnified by President Vladimir Putin in recent years with the intention of not only warning about the dangers of fascism, but also also to remember that the Soviet Union, the allied country that had the most deaths in the war (27 million), was on the right side of history and, incidentally, demonizing the current Ukrainian leadership.
However, this approach raises blisters in countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, as well as a huge fear that something similar to the partition that took place in Ukraine seven years ago could happen to them again. The four states already suffered in their own skin in the past the treatment that the communist dictator, Iósif Stalin, dispensed to the countries that he considered his “area of influence”.
Hence, within the European Union forces emerged determined to make it clear that, if it was indeed true that the USSR’s contribution to Hitler’s defeat was fundamental, it is also true that the Red Army committed atrocities and that, after occupying half of Europe, installed Stalinist dictatorships. Even before the war, Stalin was thoroughly engaged with Poland, Finland, and the three Baltic republics thanks to the agreement sealed with Berlin, the controversial Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.
It was signed on August 23, 1939 by the USSR Foreign Minister, Viacheslav Molotov, and his counterpart from Hitler Germany, Joachim von Ribbentrop, in the presence of Stalin. It was a mutual non-aggression pact, but the real substance was the secret protocols it contained. They stipulated a distribution of their respective “areas of influence.” Poland was thus split in half, the west for Germany and the east for the Soviet Union. The communist dictator also obtained a free pass to incorporate Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Bessarabia (present-day Moldova) into his sphere of interests. And he acted.
The complicity of the Hitler and Stalin regimes at that time and the subsequent development of events is what has served for Tallinn, Riga, Vilna and, especially Warsaw, to promote a story tending to equate Nazism and Stalinism, to underline that both dictatorships were, more or less, equally disastrous. This idea, already reflected in “Life and Destiny”, the masterpiece of the Soviet writer Vasili Grossman, has been expressed by the Russian opposition and by some media critical of the Kremlin.
The support for such a formulation was given by the European Parliament in a resolution approved on September 19, 2019 equating communism with Nazism. ‘The European Parliament puts Hitler’s Germany and the Soviet Union on the same level. This is, of course, completely insane “was Putin’s reaction. Last January, the Kremlin’s website reported that the top Russian leader had commissioned Parliament to pass a law preventing “equating” the misdeeds of Nazi Germany with the “liberating” role of the Soviet Union.
The bill was presented in the Duma (Lower House) on May 5, on the eve of Putin’s pre-parade speech on Red Square on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of the Victory. He once again denounced the attempts of the West to “rewrite history” by putting winners and losers on the same moral plane.
After being approved in the Duma and the Federation Council (Upper House) the new law was signed and promulgated by Putin this past Thursday. The norm prohibits “equating the aims, decisions and actions of the Soviet leadership with those of Nazi Germany.” Nor can “the decisive role of the Soviet people in the defeat of fascism be denied.” Another provision must establish the sanctions that will be imposed on those who violate the law. Historians fear their work will be restricted, and even Grossman’s novel “Life and Fate” could add to the list of banned books.