Staunton, Mar. 19 – Since 2014, Moscow officials and propagandists have talked about “de-Nazifying” Ukraine, sometimes more vocally and sometimes less so; but they have provided few details as to what they think that process might involve. Now, Maksim Vilkov, a pro-Russian historian in the Donbass has; and it is profoundly disturbing.
He suggests in an interview with Aleksandr Nosovich, editor of the pro-Moscow RuBaltic portal, that Russia has a good model – the way in which it “de-Nazified” East Germany after World War II – and should apply the same methods in Ukraine that it applied there (rubaltic.ru/article/politika-i-obshchestvo/20220322-istorik-rossiya-dolzhna-primenit-dlya-ukrainy-opyt-denatsifikatsii-gdr/).
According to Vilkov, that means that Moscow should exclude from political life all those who took decisions which the Russian government defines as Nazi-like either by arresting them or forcing them into emigration and prevent the reemergence of Nazism by taking tight control over Ukraine’s media and educational system as the Soviets did in the DDR.
Leaving aside the absurdity of suggestions Ukraine requires “de-Nazification” and the fact that the Soviet occupation involved much else, including the removal of the industrial base of the DDR to the USSR, the introduction of police state measures, and the imposition of a Stalinist communism, there are reasons to think Vilkov may reflect opinion in Moscow.
Vladimir Putin who served in the DDR when that country’s communist regime collapsed leading to its reunification with the Federal Republic of Germany has always had a special place in his heart for the regime there; and so both Ukrainians and the international community must recognize now that if he won there, he would do there what the Soviets did in the DDR.
That is yet another and compelling reason to defeat Putin’s aggression.