Why the Kremlin Insists That It Must “De-Nazify” Ukraine

During a recent interview, the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov defended the invasion of Ukraine by invoking “Nazi elements” in that country. Confronted with the inconvenient fact that President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish, Lavrov claimed (falsely) that “Hitler also had Jewish blood,” before declaring that “the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews.” Peter Dickinson assesses Lavrov’s “very public descent into . . . anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” and what it suggests about the current state of the Putin regime.

It is now clear to all but the most credulous and partisan of observers that Russian tales of Ukrainian fascism are mere window dressing for Moscow’s war of imperial aggression. This was explicitly acknowledged in a recent article published by the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, which provided a step-by-step guide to the destruction of the Ukrainian state while explaining that “de-Nazification” actually means “de-Ukrainization.” Such twisted logic is entirely in line with Putin’s many public statements denying Ukraine’s right to exist and branding the country an “anti-Russia” that lacks historical legitimacy and can no longer be tolerated.

As Lavrov’s unhinged recent outburst indicates, Volodymyr Zelensky’s landslide victory in Ukraine’s spring 2019 presidential election was particularly painful for the Kremlin. As a Russian-speaking Jewish Ukrainian, Zelensky’s unprecedented popularity among Ukrainian voters rendered Russia’s whole “Nazi Ukraine” narrative ridiculous and forced Kremlin propagandists into all manner of bizarre mental gymnastics in order to maintain the fantasy of a fascist threat.

In reality, independent Ukraine has established itself . . . as an imperfect but vibrant democracy with a pluralistic political culture that is light years away from modern Russia’s own authoritarian model. Since 1991, the post-Soviet generation of Ukrainians have grown used to a highly competitive and often unruly democratic climate which bears no resemblance whatsoever to the fascist tyranny of Kremlin fairytales.

Read more at Atlantic Council

More about: Anti-Semitism, Vladimir Putin, Volodymyr Zelensky, War in Ukraine


Spain’s Anti-Israel Agenda

What interest does Madrid have in the creation of a Palestinian state? Elliott Abrams raised this question a few days ago, when discussing ongoing Spanish efforts to block the transfer of arms to Israel. He points to multiple opinion surveys suggesting that Spain is among Europe’s most anti-Semitic countries:

The point of including that information here is to explain the obvious: Spain’s anti-Israel extremism is not based in fancy international political analyses, but instead reflects both the extreme views of hard-left parties in the governing coalition and a very traditional Spanish anti-Semitism. Spain’s government lacks the moral standing to lecture the state of Israel on how to defend itself against terrorist murderers. Its effort to deprive Israel of the means of defense is deeply immoral. Every effort should be made to prevent these views from further infecting the politics and foreign policy of the European Union and its member states.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel, Palestinian statehood, Spain