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

Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security