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Oksana Bashuk Hepburn: Does America finally get it?

April 29, 2022 8:56 AM 3 min read
Civilians trapped under Russian attacks get evacuated in Mariupol (Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The visit by the United States’ Secretaries of State and Defense to Ukraine earlier this week was a meaningful show of support. They promised much needed new weapons — previously denied — and put forward a new American strategy in response to Russia’s unprovoked, brutal war. The U.S. means to “weaken” Russia’s ability to continue and repeat the harm it’s doing in Ukraine.

This is a vital recognition of Russia’s intentions to disrupt the world order beyond Ukraine.  It indicates that the U.S. handwringing about Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s motives for the horrific war — the longing for its historic past or guarantees for security — is over. America, now, understands the false construct he has used to justify the war and accepts that his brutality is about global expansionism is based on its false messianic notion that Russia is the “last rampart of the values of historical Europe”.  Putin calls for victory over western liberalism starting with the “eradication” of Ukraine because of its western tendencies which he calls “nazification.”

The U.S. acknowledgement that Russia needs to be weakened is its counter attack to Putin’s strike on global security operating since the end of WWII.  His war breached it. He has shifted to delivering his own ideology for a new world order starting with the bedlam in Ukraine.

The recently published ideology penned by two authors sets out why and how this is to be done.

In his RIA Novosti article "What should Russia do with Ukraine", Timofei Sergeitsev, calls for the annihilation of Ukraine by “denazifying” it. Dmitri Medvedev, Russia’s former president-puppet to Putin, now his far-right philosopher, says that Ukrainians suffer “deep Ukrainianism, to be equated with Nazism”.  To the ideologues a "nazi" is any human being who self-identifies as Ukrainian. Ukrainians are nazis because they fail to accept "the necessity to support Russia; exist only as Russians. They should suffer for believing that they exist as a separate people.”

For this “guilt” Ukrainians must be “punished”; exiled to "labor camps"; subjected to "re-education." Their children must be raised as Russian. The name "Ukraine" must disappear.

The responsibility for being nazis is not Ukraine’s alone. The authors claim that nazism is foreign based, linked to the west, especially the United States. They are “its source and its sponsor”. Nazism must be eradicated because it is a greater threat to Russia and global peace than Hitler’s Nazis”.

There’s more. Ukraine’s patriotism — nazism — is “fueled by anti-Russian venom”. It comes from “Western totalitarianism and its imposed programs aimed at the degradation and collapse of our civilization”. This makes Ukraine an “artificial anti-Russian construction subordinated to a foreign and hostile civilization, especially the United States.”

Timothy Snyder, the pre-eminent historian from Yale University and expert on the globe’s mass killings, considers these writings to be the most openly genocidal documents ever produced.  His response to these rants — The Genocide Playbook — explains that in the official Russia’s usage “Nazi” has nothing to do with WWII but everything to do with being Ukrainian. Denazification of Ukraine is Kremlin’s official policy of destruction the Ukrainian state and Ukrainians as a people.

To Russians, Snyder writes, Nazis, are humans who self-identify as Ukrainians.  For their love of Ukraine they need to be punished by extermination, genocide.

Snyder provides a clear definition. Genocide, “legally, it means actions that destroy a group in whole or in part combined with some intention to do so.”  Putin is committing genocide in Ukraine with both intent and act.   The published ideologies, Snyder writes, admit to the intent. Putin’s barbaric war is the act.

The extermination of Ukrainians is not a new concept for Russia.  The czars used it to support their policy that “there never was, is not, and never shall be a Ukraine”. Joseph Stalin programmed  Holodomor--the artificial famine that starved some 10 million — to be the “final solution” to Ukraine’s insubordination to Moscow’s russification.  He introduced the concept to create a Soviet human purged of national identity other than Russian.  It failed.  Now Putin means to finish the job.

In turn — throughout the 17th to 20th  centuries — Ukraine has attempted to break away from Kremlin’s rule. It went to proclaim independence after both world wars. The difference now is that there are allies in Europe which-- due to their own horrific experiences of living under Moscow’s yoke — support it while the mass media exposes Russia’s atrocities abhorrent to most. Above all, Ukraine now has America’s support at its back.  At the meeting of western defence ministers its Secretary of Defence said that Western allies are” prepared to move heaven and earth” to get Ukraine more weapons to fight Russia’s “unjust invasion”.

America’s move towards weakening Russia indicates a better understanding of its intent and threat. The policy is on the right track to end Russia’s dictatorial reshaping of the world order.  It has no place in the 21st century.  It must end with Ukraine’s victory supported in full by western democracies, especially its leader, the United States.

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