Staunton, Jan. 8 – One of the most disturbing aspects of Vladimir Putin’s refusal to accept the existence of a Ukrainian nation is that it has led his propagandists to engage in loose talk about “abolishing” Ukrainians as a nation. And that in turn has led some Russians to call for doing the same to Jews, Georgians and many others, Ilya Shablinsky says.
No one should be surprised, the member of the Moscow Helsinki Group and professor at the Free University says, because that fits in with the psychology of “the layer of the population’s consciousness that the political regime is currently seeking to influence” (severreal.org/a/post-rossiya-i-prava-cheloveka/32189172.html).
According to Shablinsky, there are obvious parallels between what Putin is doing now and what Hitler did in Germany 80 years ago. Russia today has “a nationalistic dictatorship, its opponents are behind bars, any criticism of the powers leads to criminal prosecution, and the political system is designed to present the dictatorship as a democracy.”
In this system, he continues, “the ideology is imperial nationalism which sometimes turns into ethnic nationalism.” And Pastor Niemoeller warned, when the regime signals that it wants to destroy one nation, some will pick up on that and call for the destruction of others, leaving no one to defend anyone.
That is something Western leaders should keep in mind lest any failure to ensure that Ukraine wins almost certainly will to the kind of outcomes the world has seen before in Nazi Germany and had to fight a world war to defeat.