Putin’s attacks showcase fascist beliefs


Graphic courtesy of Canva.

Elliot Munson, Former Culture Editor

This previously ran in our April 2022 print issue.

As much as Putin may decry the Ukraine and its people as a Nazi nation, a threat to Russia’s security, and as a genocider of Russian peoples, the label facist — and indeed, Nazi — falls upon his shoulders.

Russia’s system of laws during the former KGB agent’s rise to power allowed for two consecutive terms of six years–12 in total. Putin has been in power for 22. Admittedly, four of these years relied on a puppet figure, Dmitry Medvedev, but Putin is no stranger to puppets,  either. This is how Russia’s influence had been expanded over the years, with Alexander Lukashenko, the self-described dictator of Belarus, even claiming he was promised a rank in the Russian military, despite being the leader of a “foreign” country. 

All of this, from “election” overreach, if you even want to call whatever happens in Russia an election, to expansionist wars and puppet governments color Putin’s self-portrait with the same red blood of his predecessor Stalin. But the real, concrete proof that will cement Putin’s star on Moscow’s walk of dictators only surfaced during the invasion of Ukraine.

Putin sees Russian citizens who stand against the invasion of the Ukraine as traitors to the nation, saying their goal is to “destroy Russia,” just as Hitler decreed that Jewish people had the same motive in Germany almost 90 years ago. 

This isn’t to say that Putin is the next Hitler — despite his personal aspirations, the world would not stand for another such atrocity as the Holocaust. The 14,000 people he has had arrested since the beginning of the war is significant, and more than enough to earn his place in the rogues’ gallery of future history books, but it pales in comparison to the millions Stalin had killed through systematic starvation and gulags.

And yet, despite Putin’s personal shortcomings in reaching the infamy of his Soviet predecessor, he has and continues to try his hardest to restore Russia — and its leader — to the positions they once held on the world stage. This brings to the forefront one of the most worrying factors about the future for the Ukraine and all her peoples – genocide. The “denazification” of the Ukraine was one of the primary justifications Putin used to provide reason for Russian tanks rolling through the Donbas. This is despite the fact that Zelensky, president of the Ukraine, is Jewish, and that a Holocaust memorial was one of the first buildings in Kyiv to have Russian ordance fall on it. 

RIA Novosti, a source of Russian propaganda, accidentally said the quiet part out loud. While Timofey Sergeytsev didn’t actually use the word genocide, at least not in regard to Russia’s actions, he did his very best to make it clear that Russia wanted to purge Ukraine of Ukranians. After first calling for the death of all alleged Nazis and Nazi sympathizers, Sergeytsev then continues on to detail just who this includes everything from “a significant part of the masses” to “most likely the majority.” Sergeytsev also wants to make sure no distinction is given between the formal Ukrainian military and the civilian volunteers when they go up against the wall after a Russian victory. 

Sergeytsev, taking all of his hatred for the Ukrainian people and channeling it into love for Russian history, also advocates for “re-education,” “ideological suppression,” and “strict censorship,” the poster-children of Soviet injustices to Soviet citizens. He also takes a page out of Putin’s book and looks back to the good ol’ days of gulags and kleptocratic socialism, claiming that Nazism began inUkraine, not when it was occupied by literal Nazis, but instead when it began to gain independance from the USSR. 

The lies of the Russian media, and the lies of Putin himself, are awful in themselves, but it is the truths that are worse — the truths that Russia has committed war crimes, that they massacred civilians in Bucha, and that Putin is attempting to do exactly what Nazi Germany tried to do a century before him.