Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Ukrainians Use Nazi Symbols the Way Soviet Prisoners Did – to Show Contempt for Moscow Rulers, Sidelnikov-Orishak Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 28 – It has long been a staple of Russian propaganda that Ukraine has become a fascist state, but beyond asserting this obvious falsehood, Russian writers even on Kremlin-controlled outlets have not spoken much about why this is the case. Now, one of them, Mikhel Sidelnikov-Orishak has.

            The Svobodnaya pressa commentator argues that Ukrainians have played up Ukrainians who cooperated with the Germans during World War II and even on occasion used Nazi-like symbols in much the same way that inmates of Soviet prisons and camps tattooed Nazi symbols on themselves (

            According to Sidelnikov-Orishak, the prisoners did so to show their contempt for the Soviet system and its values rather than because they accepted Nazism or fascism. Now, Ukrainians have done the same thing, using such symbols to mark their break with the Soviet past and to “irritate Russia as much as possible.”

            That analogy alone, of course, calls into question Kremlin demands for “the de-Nazification” of Ukraine because it suggests that what the Ukrainians are doing is a form of épater les bourgeois rather than a committed political choice other than not having anything to do with Russia.

            But then Sidelnikov-Orishak makes an even more remarkable comment. He suggests that what Ukrainians have done is perhaps understandable because “the Russian Federation ha snot been able to offer Ukraine an attractive future, an exciting form of joint management, and values that could support a common existence.”

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