Saturday, August 20, 2022

Only Those Russians who Actively Resist will Escape Collective Guilt for Putin’s Crimes, Leibgrad Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 24 – Like in the case of Nazi Germany, only the few who actively resist the Putin regime will escape collective guilt for its crimes inside the country and abroad, according to Sergey Leibgrad, a Samara poet and journalist who has concluded that he can no longer live in Russia and has emigrated to Israel.

            Almost everyone else, even those who are critical of what the fascist Putin is doing like himself, will feel a sense of collective guilt, just as Germans who may not have been happy about Hitler but did not take specific actions against his regime did after his regime was defeated and overthrown (

            Those who believe that they can support some of what Putin is doing but avoid responsibility for other steps he is taking are deceiving themselves, Leibgrad says. The Kremlin leader in fact uses their support in one area in, such as annexing Ukraine’s Crimea, to impose more repression or launch aggression elsewhere.

            In Russia, he says, “fascism began with the First Chechen War,” and it began with people feeling that what they were doing was in fact about freedom and liberal ideals. But then what followed after 2000 showed how wrong they were and that they were “in a proto-criminal, fascist, and terrorist state of a dictatorial type.”

            Consequently, as far as collective responsibility is concerned,” Leibgrad says, it exists and there is nothing one can do about it. “Collective responsibility will be exactly what it was for Nazi Germany and for Japan. It is inevitable like a diagnosis or radiation and concerns everyone, the guilty and the not guilty.”

            Those who are not prepared to sacrifice themselves or collaborate have no choice but to leave, he continues. The poet says he is not optimistic that Russia will change enough anytime soon to allow him to return.

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