Criminalizing History

This past week, historical interpretations of the Second World War have again been making headlines in Russia. Parliamentary deputy Elena Yampolskaya demanded legislation to prohibit writings which claim that Nazism and Soviet communism were morally equivalent. President Vladimir Putin agreed. Russia, he said, should have laws like those in other countries which prohibit denial of the Armenian genocide. Meanwhile, a regional Russian court declared the murder by German troops of 2,000 Russians in north-west Russia during the war to have been genocide. This was a first. The ‘g’ word had never previously been applied to Russian victims.

All this is a reaction to efforts by some in Europe and North America to paint the Soviet Union as equally guilty for the Second World War as Nazi Germany, in the hope thereby of discrediting modern Russia. I discuss all this in my latest article on RT, which you can read here. I won’t therefore repeat everything I said there, but I feel that it’s worth expanding on my conclusion, to explain my position more fully.

At the end of my RT article, I note that Russians are rightly sensitive about the memory of the Second World War, but that legal prohibition of certain historical interpretations is not the right way of dealing with the problem. Let me explain this a bit more.

A good place to start is the example Putin used – laws prohibiting genocide denial. I’m against such laws. If the law is specific – i.e. it prohibits denial of a specific genocide – then one has to ask why this particular historical event has been singled out and others have not been included. As I have argued before, the answer is inevitably political. Such legislation is often not really interested in historical truth, but in targeting a given nation whom a particular group wants targeted. When Ukrainian-Canadians, for instance, request that the Canadian parliament recognize the Soviet deportation of the Crimean Tatars as genocide, it’s obviously a political act, designed to worsen Russian-Canadian relations. It’s got nothing to do with history. I don’t see that this is productive.

The second problem is one of definition. What is genocide? And who determines whether a given case fits the definition? Many Ukrainians claim that the famine which struck Ukraine (and other parts of the Soviet Union, notably Kazakhstan) in 1932-33 was an act of genocide. Should we therefore ban Holodomor genocide denial?? I’d say not. The use of the term genocide in that instance is highly debated. Some historians agree with the label, but others insist that it is inappropriate. Do we really want to leave it to politicians to adjudicate historical disputes, determine which cases are genocide and which are not, and then punish those who disagree with them? As a historian, my answer is quite categorically ‘no’.

Do I think that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were equally guilty for the Second World War, and committed equally reprehensible crimes? As I’ve said before, no, I don’t. But does that mean that the Soviet Union was guilt free? No, also. Were Nazism and communism morally equivalent? Overall, I’d say not, but I do think that there is some value in considering similarities (as well as differences) and putting them both within some common context of a collapse of liberal institutions, an era of radical extremism, and so on. Legislation of the sort proposed by Putin and Yampolskaya would put a stop to quite legitimate historical discussion.

As usual, there is a domestic political element to all this. On Wednesday night, the Russian political talk show ‘Evening with Vladimir Solovyov’ devoted a considerable amount of time to this issue, with one of the guests being Ms Yampolskaya herself. After she had reiterated her reasons for legislation to regulate historical discussion, the political analyst Sergei Mikheev had his say. Mikheev has joined Zakhar Prilepin’s new nationalist ‘For Truth’ party, and his comments give a bit of a flavour of how the Russian right thinks.

The problem, said Mikheev, was that the people who say this stuff equating communism and Nazism have a ‘roof’ – i.e. somebody in power is protecting them and allowing them to get away with it. A certain radio station was mentioned, without being named, but it’s pretty obvious that Mikheev had in mind the liberal Ekho Moskvy radio. Something needs to be done, Mikheev implied.

Host Vladimir Solovyov then named some names – Dmitry Bykov, for instance. Bykov praised Soviet general Andrei Vlasov, who joined the Germans and raised an anti-Soviet army. Yet newspapers still publish him. Why? Who’s protecting him? Film director Karen Shakhnazarov had an idea – it was the ‘comprador intelligentsia’ who were to blame.

This is where one begins to get a little worried. For legislation liked that proposed by Yampoloskaya could end up being used to reckon with political enemies, especially among Russia’s few remaining liberals. You can see how this could play out. Somebody on Ekho Moskvy says something which somebody interprets as contrary to the new law on historical interpretation. Ekho Moskvy then gets slapped with a big fine or closed down (unless of course, its ‘roof’ somehow protects it). And so, the room for debate in Russia gets even smaller than before. And that, perhaps, is the purpose. The legislation isn’t really about history. It’s about grinding Russian liberals even further into the dust.

You might say that the liberals deserve it, for adopting an idiotic and, it must be said, incredibly unpopular position on the topic of historical memory. But I say, let them suffer for it at the ballot box, as they surely will. There’s no reason to chuck the law book at them.

Basically, when it comes down to it, as a historian I think that these matters are best left to historians and to readers of history to decide. It’s not for politicians to provide cast-iron interpretations of historical events which all must legally accept, in fear of punishment if they do not. I guess that you could accuse me of narrow professional self-interest, seeking as I do to protect my profession from state interference. Well, so be it. I don’t want the state telling me what I can and cannot write. And I don’t think anybody else should want that either.

35 thoughts on “Criminalizing History”

  1. Why follow the experience in Germany where any mention of doubt about the extent or even the history of the Holocaust is a crime an punishable accordingly.
    Any stifling of even the most idiotic arguments often voiced based on spurious or unreliable evidence (read the Jewish Mr. Unz on his Unz Report on the holocaust ) only helps to further conspiracy theorists by proving someone is out to get them.
    Let their theories be discussed.
    If there is enough evidence that they are wrong, have misinterpreted oder insufficiently analysed data, present the data/evidence with the properly drawn conclusions and if they persist in spite of it – let them wear their tinfoil hat proudly.
    To me the only forbidden speech is to call for and incite violence to any identifiable group or individuals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “…only helps to further conspiracy theorists by proving someone is out to get them.”

      True dat. On the other hand, people interested in conspiracy theories are usually a small minority.

      When alternative theories are marginalized, the narrative approved by the establishment becomes axiomatic, common sense. What marxists call “the dominant ideology”.

      Of course there are usually better ways to achieve this than criminalizing heresy, but that’s details. As Mr Putin once told Frau Merkel: no matter how you do at the wedding night, the result is the same.

      Like

    2. PM, I have to admit that I don’t quite understand what ghosts Ron is chasing. It might be his own very Jewish dibbuk trying to pull him back into the wilderness of fata morgana of Judeo-Bolshevism somewhere on the peak of the bell curves with fellow superior intelligence warriors.

      Meaning, sometimes it feels there is a flicker of deeply felt sympathy but then, admittedly there may be also ill-advised Schadenfreude watching the Dibbuk escape him while Ron mistakes a wind-mill for his lovingly hated dibbuk. In those instances I prefer to laugh my ass off with the Dibbuk with or without Ames. … None of us has any problems to grant him the label of superior intelligence.

      In a nutshell without a deeper grasp of his soul, it feels all in all he is just a fascinating nerd trying to explode his IQ of 241 to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 …. or the equivalence in bits and bites in search of hidden textual hands behind curtains.

      ********
      Mik, in case you didn’t notice already you might be interested that Alastair Crooke’s article on Strategic Culture already picked up on ambassador, M. K. Bhadrakumar’s quotes take on the Kramp-Karrenbauer interview. A curious choice for the office indeed, not the ambassador’s selection, both ladies AKK and van der Leyen.

      You may not know that the Kosovo/a War was a turning point for Germany, war wise. Or, if you like, concerning intervention. My best friend at the time told me in his own irreverent visually oriented way, Scharping, then in charge of the ladies’ office, walks as if he had shit in his trousers. Thus, I couldn’t help but see it that way.

      He tried to polish his image in rather silly PR ways which completely failed, then he disappeared from the political scene.

      Not so our then Green Foreign Minister Fischer at the time. He was highly courted in the US university circles after he left office.

      Like

  2. I would like to point out that genocide acknowledgement or denial is, at its core, a historical matter. It may be, and often is shanghaied for political needs, and the definition of genocide is far from set in stone, but still.

    On the other hand, *morally* equating Nazizm and Soviet Communism is, as stated, a matter of morality. Political in its core, though based in history.

    It’s not exactly the same, though I’m against regulating both.

    Like

  3. I dunno. A country that is less than 30y.o., not defined by ethnicity, confronted with hyperactive hostility of the West, and with the mass-media not yet tightly controlled by the establishment?

    Depends on how much you value stability. You know, the color revolutions, all those modern (post-modern?) technologies of creating chaos. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You are completely correct. “Hey buddy, if things are clear as you say, then you should welcome every chance to show their merit against those who hold baseless and offensive opinions”. Shutting down debate or consideration just makes for a perpetual regime of laziness and stupidity.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Michael, maybe since I am German, who knows, this leaves me with mixed feelings. (see below)

        Concerning your link: My (…) emphasis would be on the fact that conspiracy entrepreneur and no doubt early Trump supporter popped up as first victim on top. Notice standard selection seems to be best. Maybe best is not always the best for me?

        Like

      2. “Notice standard selection seems to be best. Maybe best is not always the best for me?”

        *****

        So there’s no misunderstanding, who specifically?

        Like

      3. Slightly less easy to access, but here we go:

        Sort by Best
        Where’sWisdom
        1 day ago
        It started with Alex Jones just a little over a year ago and now the New York Post. Many people warned that this would happen. Social media should not have the right to censor free speech.
        It is ridicules how people in this age lobby against free speech, If you don’t like to hear what someone says on a media platform look at something else that agrees with you. This discussion is one of the most childish of our time. The way social media platforms ban people with alternate views upon things that do not align with the mainstream view is staggering and foolish. We now know how the Iraq war where total lies, fabricated by governments to build consensus to war. Many happenings around us are in grey zones until final evidence proves otherwise. There are already laws which control violence and sexually offensive content among other thing to stop harmful content. To ban someone with a political view or someone that sees things from another perspective is madness. If Einstein himself lived in these times his views would most certainly be repressed on social media. It is a dangerous path towards totalitarianism that is in the making. Political party’s blame social media as an excuse for there own shortcomings when things do not go their way. To them, I say grow up and take responsibility for your policies and visions for the future. It might be good if you would listen to the needs of the people you represent.
        Free speech for all within the boundary of the law.

        **********
        Basically I do not care much about surfaces and/or as a result judgment on surfaces. Otherwise I wouldn’t have responded.

        Like

      4. Relating to the desire to have an open situation for intelligently presented diverse views, academic/intellectual Michael Lind, exhibits a twisted opposition to McCarthyism:

        https://nationalinterest.org/feature/have-america%E2%80%99s-russia-watchers-been-getting-it-wrong-171500

        Excerpt –

        “In deed, writing in the National Interest on Monday, Michael Lind offered a tart assessment of America’s perceptions of Russia: ‘If Trump, in spite of his unpopularity, is re-elected, then much of the trans-Atlantic establishment will attribute the result to the machinations of the all-powerful, diabolical Vladimir Putin. One reason to hope for a Biden victory (there are not many) is the possibility that it will bring an end to the hysterical neo-McCarthyism that has gripped America’s foreign policy, academic and media establishments for the past four years’.“

        ****

        If anything, a Biden victory rewards the very neo-McCarthyism mentioned by Lind. Some Democratic Party leaning media and academic elites, as well as Adam Schiff, Kamala Harris, Evelyn Farkas and Biden himself, have been at the forefront in caricaturing people, including Tony Bobulinski and yours truly, with negative inaccuracies.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thanks Michael, I’ll take a look at that, some things to do first.

        Not least since: It feels Michael Lind drew my attention ages ago, one of the few sticking out in the larger in the early post 9/11 US media consensus for this curious nitwit onlooker/’furreigner’ from the other side of the big ocean. 😉

        McCarthism, also called cancel culture? Jonathan Turley posted some rather glaring examples on his blog, people getting fired for innocently speaking their mind.

        Like

      6. Moon,

        On a subject you raise, I know a retired police executive who has taught criminal justice at some colleges. One of the schools asked him to teach a course entitled white privilege in law enforcement. He declined, saying he could teach a course entitled race relations in law enforcement. Shortly thereafter, the school sent him a note, saying that given the situation in the US, the admin thought it wise to not have an ex-law enforcement person teaching at this time.

        Mind you, this guy has a 4.8 out of a 5 student rating.

        Somewhat related, is how this guy (written about below) has advanced:

        https://www.unz.com/akarlin/affirmative-action-kremlinology/

        The Atlantic Council has propped him, along with Alexandra Chalupa having lauded him (in a Tweet of hers) as a worthy Ukraine expert:

        https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/expert/terrell-jermaine-starr/

        With hyperbole intended, if anyone has been discriminated against and is closest to being put in a concentration camp, it’s someone like yours truly.

        Like

      7. Not sure, if I found the correct reply button. But here we go

        Michael Lind, exhibits a twisted opposition to McCarthyism:

        I wasn’t sure if that Lind was the same that caught my attention at the time I responded, meaning not she we are talking about the same Lind. Are there others in the larger business?

        What exactly is the twist in his opposition to what exactly?

        Like

  5. *Sigh*

    “Should we therefore ban Holodomor genocide denial??”

    All of your idle musings, Professor, rest upon a false premise. There is no “WE” here. Therefore, there are no “Universal Values” to apply or appeal to. If you didn’t notice, we (real we, not imaginary) are all living in the capitalist countries right now. Capitalism is by definition amoral. Capitalism inevitably comes hand in hand with the nationalism. Trying to be “nice” and “accommodating” to your neighbours (fellow capitalist nations) will inevitably be seen as a sign of weakness.

    Just one example. During the “accursed socialism” Poland produced two screen adaptations of the staple, prime exhibits of the Polish national(ist) literature of Henryk Sienkiewicz – “Pan Wolodyjowski” (1969) and “Potop/Deluge” (1974), parts 3 and 2 of his so-called “Wolodyjowski Trilogy”. The first book of the trilogy, “Ogniem i mieczem/By fire and sword” saw the light only in the “free”, capitalist and, predictably, rabidly nationalist Poland in 1999. Why only then? Well, maaaaaaybe because “Pan Wolodyjowski” was about PLC’s general dysfunctional state and war with the Ottoman Empire, while the “Deluge” was about the Swedish invasion of 1655 and Polish resistance to it. “By fire and sword”, OTOH, is all about Bohdan Khmielnitsky’s rebellion in 1648 and onward. Only “free and independent” (and monomaniacally nationalist) Poland of late 1990s could finally put to the screen Sienkiewicz’s portrayals of the Ukrainians as sufficiently subhuman bydlo, daring to ruin his dear and beloved Rzeczpospolita. Screen adaptation of 1999 goes above and beyond its duty of remaining „faithful to the source material” (Ukrainian cossacks drinking gorylka from the chamber-pot included).

    Thankfully, this shot in the national-cultural war didn’t remain unanswered for long. Russian cinematograph, this anemic cesspit of pretentiousness, graft and Russophobia, SUDDENLY birthed a “historical-adventure movie” (c) “1612” (2007), about one episode pertaining the Polish intervention in the latter period of the Times of Troubles. Last time Russian/Soviet cinematograph touched upon this time period was in 1939 with “Minin and Pozharsky” film, that could be seen as a spiritual sibling to Eisenstein’s “Alexander Nevsky” (1938). I won’t dwell upon the zeitgeist, permeating late 1930s or late 2000s, as well as the reasons, why “1612” director Vladimir Khotinenko, by his own words, conceived the idea of the movie 25 years prior he had an opportunity to finally film it.

    And how can we leave unmentioned Ukro-Russian adaptation of N.V. Gogol’s “Taras Bulba” (2009). WikiDorkia article in it’s “Controversies” segment, breathlessly points out, that:

    “The film was also cautiously watched in Poland, where its possible anti-Polish character was widely discussed and its propagandist elements examined. This was enhanced by the fact that the filmmakers added some scenes depicting Polish brutality to the original plot by Gogol. The cover of the US DVD edition (titled The Conqueror) has the tagline “Between Fire and the Sword Lies a Hero”, a possible underhand reference to Polish historical fiction book and film With Fire and Sword (Polish: Ogniem i mieczem)”

    In short – in the nationalist department everything is fine in the region of the former SU/Warsaw pact republics.

    “Do we really want to leave it to politicians to adjudicate historical disputes, determine which cases are genocide and which are not, and then punish those who disagree with them? As a historian, my answer is quite categorically ‘no’.”

    How do you plan to stop them, dem politicians, hmm?

    There are no “we”, Professor. Only “us” and “them”. Don’t like it? Do something about capitalism first. Otherwise all your “humanistic” constructions will be brittle and lacking any foundation. Until then history, pathetic protestations notwithstanding, will be weaponized like everything else.

    “Mikheev has joined Zakhar Prilepin’s new nationalist ‘For Truth’ party”

    In what way is it “nationalist”?

    “Film director Karen Shakhnazarov had an idea – it was the ‘comprador intelligentsia’ who were to blame.

    This is where one begins to get a little worried.”

    I take it you, being Westerner, are on the side of the comprador intelligentsia and in Russia?

    “And so, the room for debate in Russia gets even smaller than before.”

    Why are you worried, Professor? Russia would merely step in the global trends. If anything, “cancel culture” is the new Universal Value, because it is already enshrined in the mainstream consensus of the Liberal West. 😉

    “I guess that you could accuse me of narrow professional self-interest.”

    I do.

    “Well, so be it. I don’t want the state telling me what I can and cannot write”

    What about non-state actors doing the same?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s who defines the “We” you refer to. I see layers of burned out, one-time ‘anti-capitalist’ progressives that have degenerated into the mere liberals, the less than social-democrats. Which is not saying much. And this sort-of ideological current does itself and is labelled otherwise as The Left. This are the Woke hypocrits, the new McCartheyites. And their targets are not the conservatives, the right etc. No, this lot wants to shut up and down voice to their left. So they can better claim the political space. They fear being outflanked by more consistent revolutionaries. Except that there aren’t many of them left. Perhaps excepting yourself.

      Consider outfits like Countercurrents or Jacobin. Which are just the left wing of the Democratic Party. Lula or Moreno who after two terms in power casually allow themselves to overthrown they have done such a weak job of building a base. Even the Trotskyists seem like stunned ducks bowing down before the juggernaught of medical fascism.

      So, who is this “We”?

      Like

      1. Jacobin has some definite issues. One of their contributors accused me of being Nazi and threatened to contact the editors where my commentary has appeared.

        In no uncertain terms, I told him to bring it on.

        Like

      2. That comment was long on description, but short on prescription, Mr. McMaster. But I will answer your last question, no matter how rhetorical it is. There is no use seeking convoluted academical definition of the “We”. Who are/is this “We” each and everyone determines subconsciously, via dialectic relationship with the envirnment one has been brought to and ihabits.

        Dear Professor does not mention, that his new bete noir Mikheyev have called Dmitry Bykov (Zilbeltrud) gushing paen to Vlasov and attacks on the Soviet people during the GPW “a spiritual pederasty”. It’s obvious, that for Dmitry Bykov (Zilbeltrud) “we” does not include the absolute majority of the modern Russians, neither his ancestors, who’d end up as lampshade hangings, soap or fertilizer, should his “hero” win. OTOH, Professor’s subconscious definition of “We” (the liberals) includes people like Dmitry Bykov (Zilbeltrud) – and also excludes the absolute majority of the modern Russians and their ancestors.

        Liberals, both our domestic and foreign, are very loud to cry “oppression!” even before anything starts. But they are very quiet and never condemning their own, even when they engage in the acts of ontological terrorism against the common culture of the society they inhabit. Call it whatever you like, “censure”, “cancel culture”, “oppression by the Bloody Regime/Ignorant masses”. People, who deliberately position themselves as incorrigible outsiders, are merely dealing with the consequences of living within a civil society.

        What was the term you like so much, Professor? Oh, yes – “the Blowback”

        Like

  6. UPD, while we are all waiting for Professor to allow (or not allow) my initial comment to break through his moderation.

    “Do I think that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were equally guilty for the Second World War, and committed equally reprehensible crimes? As I’ve said before, no, I don’t. But does that mean that the Soviet Union was guilt free? No, also. Were Nazism and communism morally equivalent? Overall, I’d say not, but I do think that there is some value in considering similarities (as well as differences) and putting them both within some common context of a collapse of liberal institutions, an era of radical extremism, and so on. “

    Translation:

    There is some value in considering similarities (as well as differences) of the deplorable behavior of both the wolves (who steal and eat sheep) and wolfhounds (who guard the sheep and fight off the wolves) and putting it within common context of a person doing this “innocent” comparison enormous love of cats and hatred of all things canine.

    “You might say that the liberals deserve it, for adopting an idiotic and, it must be said, incredibly unpopular position on the topic of historical memory. But I say, let them suffer for it at the ballot box, as they surely will. There’s no reason to chuck the law book at them.”

    Here you are (once again) wrong, Professor. One cannot live in a society and remain independent from a society. The civil society (aka the society of the citizens) exhibits itself not only during the elections – it exhivits itself constantly. By discussing, evaluating, passing judgement and acting upon it, the society remains a society, while developing and maintaining the set of “Common Values” ™.

    Thus (public) censuring Radio Ekho Moskvy, or the “poet” Dmitry Bykov (Zilbeltrud) would be an exercise of the Civic Virtue ™.

    Like

  7. I like this a lot, Paul. Thanks.

    All this is a reaction to efforts by some in Europe and North America to paint the Soviet Union as equally guilty for the Second World War as Nazi Germany, in the hope thereby of discrediting modern Russia. I discuss all this in my latest article on RT, which you can read here.

    That is absolute nonsense of course. Russia isn’t guilty, quite the opposite. Unfortunately I am no historian and more familiar with the mythical side of the Nazi endeavor: Judeo-Bolshevism.

    ***************
    Babbling alert: Harmony. I once met the mother of a then close friend. At one point in the conversation she called Willi Brandt a traitor of the fatherland (1980/81?). I was shocked and a little surprised, thus I tried to ask her why she wanted to put that label on him. Her response was, as often happened on such occasions felt highly surrealist: Our family always appreciated one thing above all – harmony.

    Further, babbling alert: A close friend of mine as late student of history and journalism in Free University Berlin was personally invited into Nolte’s doctoral seminar, which curiously enough, I sneaked into some uninvited, took place in Nolte’s private settings.

    **********
    I was challenged in the early post 9/11 online universe about German laws. Since you are familiar with the German Historikerstreit I am sure you are familiar with those too.

    Like

  8. The vast majority of countries have various blasphemy laws both religious and secular, a point made by Khamenei recently on Twitter, who trolled Macron by pointing out that France criminalizes Holocaust revisionism while promoting Mohammed caricatures. Certainly I don’t endorse the former, but he certainly has a point (feel free to google Hebdo/Siné for a fuller perspective on French freedom of speech). Sometimes the theologies clash directly, with Armenian Genocide denial being illegal in a few countries while claiming it happened is illegal in Turkey.

    But in the large picture, probably Russia’s criminalization of Nazism-Soviet relativism is one of the less harmful blasphemy laws. It’s not like most of the people doing said comparisons are doing it out of any love for Russia, most of them are just pursuing an anti-Russian geopolitical agenda.

    My own take was that there was, after all, a key difference. Whereas the Nazis focused on killing and enslaving foreigners, commies prefer doing that to “their” own people. This has the benefit of being true, implicitly pro-Russian, and not even formally falling afoul of that law.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My own take was that there was, after all, a key difference.

      May not completely work on the micro level* but surely works on a more abstract macro level. Meaning, basically I agree.

      * …

      Like

  9. I am glad that Russia has opened the archives to the war years, so historians should have a field day pouring through all the new facts and drawing whatever conclusions.

    While I am not generally in favor of criminalizing historical opinions and I do not want anything to hinder the work of historians; at the same time, I am much in favor of angry “tit for tat” type of reactions coming out of Russia. If somebody punches one in the face, then one has not only the right, but the duty, to punch back. Russia, in this case, is only reacting, as you note, to the rampant pro-Nazi B.S. of the Balts and Banderites and others, who have the full support of the American Empire in their revisionism.

    I would also invoke the “Santayana” factor: If these pro-Nazi revisionists are allowed to do their thing without rebuke, then it will be so much easier for them to launch a new war against Russia. Which is actually their goal all along. The propaganda war and defamation preceding the next invasion. That’s my impression, what they are doing. So, it’s not just a dry historical debate.
    I also invoke the “Nuremberg” factor: Some of these matters were long ago decided in court, and it is not healthy to try to overturn, just to please the belligerence of the new Idiocracies who have rooted themselves in various nations.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yalensis’s comment raises an important issue: those who promote Nazi-Soviet equivalence and revisionism do so from a particular ideological stance, and have an agenda that has two aims: one is to rally support among the Western publics for a future invasion of Russia; and the other is to soften up Russians, especially younger Russians, and weaken their support for the current government in Moscow. One has to ask where these people and organisations get their ideas from to raise Nazi-Soviet moral equivalence in the first place.

      It probably would be far better for Moscow to investigate where the likes of Ekho Moskvy and Dmitri Bykov get their support and funding from, and apply the appropriate penalties if they are breaching laws that state that they should declare themselves to be foreign-funded NGOs. The Russian govt needs to investigate those pushing such notions, why they keep repeating them, and expose them and their backers.

      Like

      1. Ditto to that! If Bykov and his ilk are illegally receiving foreign funding for their Denialist propaganda, then it makes more sense, and is cleaner, to prosecute them for that rather than invoking historical blasphemy laws.
        Or even if can’t prosecute, then certainly expose their B.S. through education and counter-propaganda.
        The main ideological problem is that it is tricky and requires a supple mind (if not complete grasp of Hegelian dialectics) to think objectively about the USSR, with all the “issues” of the Stalin era, while still recognizing that it was a legitimate, and not a criminal, state; not to mention the victim of German aggression. As recognized by all world bodies, including the Nuremburg Tribunals and the United Nations.
        Plus, a Victor nation to boot, and got to sit on the Security Council. So, put that in your pipe, Ekho Moskvy.

        Like

  10. Germany is at the heart of this revisionism – they seek to assert themselves in the world and dragging Russia down is part of the process to do this .

    They rule Europe and want to be open about their power.

    Look how negative Germany is towards Russia – they are even excluding them from war remembrance events only including Ukraine and Belarus. – that is political

    Germany stands by and says nothing about Nazi in Ukraine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Germany is at the heart of this revisionism

      I would appreciate a more thorough clarification, basically considering good vs bad revisionisms more generally, and Germany being the source of this one, ideally what type of revisionism it is precisely in <bthis case versus possibly (i may misunderstand) legitimate revisionisms in others.

      Like

      1. Dear Moon

        This is what I was referring to

        //////I have copied and pasted this statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry in response to actions of Germany .

        27 October 202017:19

        “Comment by the Information and Press Department on the resolution adopted by the German Bundestag on October 9, 2020 ‘Strengthening the memory of the victims in the German war of extermination and recognising the victims of National Socialism that have been previously neglected’”

        1835-27-09-2020
        en-GB1 ru-RU1

        On October 9, 2020, the German Bundestag adopted the resolution, “Strengthening the memory of the victims in the German war of extermination and recognising the victims of National Socialism that have so far been neglected or omitted,” drafted by the ruling coalition of CDU/CSU and SPD. This document contains a decision by the German parliament to establish a new history and remembrance centre devoted to the Nazi crimes against humanity during World War II. The German Government has been tasked with preparing a concept and plan for carrying out this project.

        Being one of the 15 republics of the former USSR, and as a successor state to the Soviet Union, a country that lost almost 27 million people to Nazi German aggression, Russia invariably welcomes any effort to preserve the historical memory of the inhuman atrocities perpetrated during the total war of extermination unleashed by Adolf Hitler for the sake of wining “expansion space” for the Germans in the east and cleansing this space from Slavic peoples, who were referred to as “subhuman.” According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, during the Great Patriotic War, the population of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic alone declined from 111 million to 97.6 million people. At the beginning of 1941, there were over 14 million children under 4 years old in RSFSR, but in early 1946 this figure stood at 6.8 million. Almost a million people died during the horrible siege of Leningrad, mostly from hunger caused by the encirclement of our northern capital by the German Wehrmacht. The memory of the unprecedented crimes perpetrated by Nazi Germany has to be preserved and passed on to future generations. We appreciate the steps taken in this direction by officials in Berlin. We will eagerly follow the project to create a history and remembrance centre. Russia is ready to share historical content and research for exhibitions and events.

        In this regard, we have carefully read the resolution adopted by the Bundestag and would like to point out a number of important provisions. The resolution states that the centre will focus on the Polish, Ukrainian and Belarusian “cultures of memory” on World War II. It doesn’t say a word about the Russian “culture of memory.” In the context of the thematic goals of the centre this approach (as you are aware, this is about the “total war” lead by Nazi Germany on the Eastern front) is more than a little surprising from the point of view of historical science, especially if we take into account the fact that the people behind the document recognise the irrefutable fact that millions of Soviet citizens were killed, maimed and deported and that thousands of towns and villages were destroyed during the war on the territory of today’s Russia, as well as Ukraine and Belarus. Obviously, the reasons for such selectivity may in this case be purely political.

        The “Ukrainian culture of memory” on WWII highlighted in the resolution begs the question: what exactly does this mean? Does the future German historical and memorial centre plan to represent the Ukrainian ultranationalists’ “culture of memory” promoted by Kiev today, which glorifies SS division Galicia and leaders of the Nazi henchmen Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych? Or, will the centre, contrary to the Ukrainian state policy of glorifying Nazi criminals, present the history of the Great Patriotic War as seen by residents of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, Mariupol, Dnepr, Zaporozhye and thousands of other Ukrainian towns and villages who share our vision?

        One way or another, the Bundestag’s initiative touches on a sensitive matter, which, if handled without the proper tact, could deal a major blow to the still unfinished process of post-war reconciliation of the peoples of Europe. We hope that the German government understands this. This future centre must not become a platform for rivalry between national interpretations of the history of the war, some of which might be more preferable to Berlin for fleeting reasons. This will inevitably open up the deep historical wounds in the European nations that suffered greatly from Nazism.

        We cannot help but express our deep regret and indignation at the fact that the resolution portrays the 1939 Soviet-German non-aggression pact as a factor that “played a major part” in starting WWII. This deliberately exaggerated and false thesis is fully consistent with the European Parliament’s controversial resolution of September 19, 2019 titled “Importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe.” Historical insinuations and manipulations on this matter that are aimed at equating the Soviet Union with the Third Reich when it comes to unleashing the war in the eyes of the Western public, are not new and are particularly cynical in this year of the 75th anniversary of Victory and liberation of Europe from Nazism.

        In deliberately casting a veil on the reasons and conditions that forced Moscow to conclude this agreement in order to postpone the inevitable clash with Hitler’s Wehrmacht (the Munich Agreement, non-aggression pacts between Germany and England and Germany and France, the Anschluss of Austria, the appeasement of Nazi Germany, foreign policy “maneuvering” of the pre-war Polish government and much more), certain political forces in Germany would clearly not mind making our country at least partially responsible for the heavy historical burden on Germany as the sole instigator of the bloodiest conflict in human history. Their motives and actions are quite clear. We hope that this future historical and memorial centre will not be used for these purposes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “In deliberately casting a veil on the reasons and conditions that forced Moscow to conclude this agreement in order to postpone the inevitable clash with Hitler’s Wehrmacht (the Munich Agreement, non-aggression pacts between Germany and England and Germany and France, the Anschluss of Austria, the appeasement of Nazi Germany, foreign policy “maneuvering” of the pre-war Polish government and much more), “

        They should have also mentioned Hitler’s partition of Czechoslovakia and the Polish role in that.

        Like

      3. Thanks, ok, now I understand.

        Maybe it is worth noting in this context, that the whole enterprise is originally based on the suggestion of the then director of the
        German-Russian Museum in Berlin-Karlshorst Dr. Peter Jahn, whose call was then supported by other scholars.

        The museum:
        https://www.museum-karlshorst.de/

        The call that went out via the website of the initiative which is still online, via Google translate. You can now of course insist this hardly covers matters. But then maybe you look up the maps from 1939 ff. There is absolutely no doubt that the Soviet Union had by far the most victims.

        The call
        Call for a place to remember the
        victims of the Nazi habitat policy in Eastern Europe

        For twenty years it has become clear to an increasingly broader public in the Federal Republic that in addition to the millions of Jewish victims who were at the center of the Nazi murder policy, millions more in Eastern Europe were victims of the Nazi extermination policy. These inhabitants of Poland and the Soviet Union were declared as “racially inferior” Slavs, in accordance with National Socialist ideology, to a mass without rights that were to be killed millions of times or expelled to the east. Racism and the ideology of living space determined warfare and occupation.

        As early as 1939, members of the Polish educated class were sent to concentration camps or shot. In 1941, the war planning for the Soviet Union expressly stipulated that “tens of millions” should starve to death. This plan was first implemented on the Soviet prisoners of war – two out of three million prisoners died in the first year of the war. Tens of thousands of them were singled out and, according to the guidelines of the “Commissar Order”, shot right behind the front or murdered in the concentration camps. More than three million prisoners did not survive the war.

        800,000 Leningraders died of starvation as a result of the German blockade. The planning had envisaged the death of all three million inhabitants of the city. In Poland and the Soviet Union, hundreds of villages and their inhabitants were destroyed if there was any sign of resistance. In the Soviet Union, hundreds of thousands were starved to death in systematically looted “balding zones”. During the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, more than a hundred thousand unarmed residents were shot at random and 600,000 people were deported.

        All this was concealed in the confrontation of the Cold War or relativized as side effects of a hard and cruel war. The knowledge that the mass murder of millions of people had been planned and carried out with forethought remained suppressed. In the Federal Republic of Germany, these victims were largely excluded from the memory of the crimes of National Socialism.

        Let us remember them! Let’s create a place of remembrance for these millions where monuments commemorate other victims of National Socialism, in the Berlin Tiergarten. The memorial to the Red Army soldiers who fell in the fight against Nazi rule from 1945, which has remained alien to us to this day, is to be supplemented in a meaningful way. Opposite, on the other side of Straße des 17. Juni, let’s build a place to commemorate and commemorate these many millions of victims of National Socialism.

        Support this call!
        Let us refer the political authorities to their historical responsibility.

        Support this call with their signatures:

        Action Reconciliation for Peace Services eV ., Berlin

        Egon Bahr , Berlin

        Dr. Klaus Bednarz , TV journalist and author, 1977-82 Moscow correspondent for ARD, Berlin

        Prof. Dr. Lothar Bisky , MdE, Potsdam

        Prof. Dr. Peter Brandt , historian, Hagen-Berlin

        Volker Braun , writer, Berlin

        Dr. André Brie , Member of the State Parliament. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

        Prof. Dr. Michael Brie , MdE, Potsdam

        Prof. Dr. Stefanie Endlich , art journalist and exhibition organizer, Berlin

        Dr. Gernot Erler , Member of the Bundestag Freiburg-Berlin

        Prof. Dr. Hajo Funke , political scientist, Berlin

        Dr. Gregor Gysi , Member of the Bundestag, Berlin

        PD Dr. Siegfried Heimann , historian-political scientist, Berlin

        Dr. Peter Jahn , 1995-2006 director of the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst

        Stephan Kramer , General Secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Berlin

        Prof. Dr. Gabriele Krone-Schmalz , TV journalist and author, 1987-91 Moscow correspondent for ARD

        Walter Momper , 1989-1991 Governing Mayor and 2001-2011 President of the Berlin House of Representatives

        Prof. Dr. Günter Morsch , Director of the Brandenburg Memorials Foundation, Oranienburg

        Jens Nagel , head of the Ehrenhain-Zeithain Memorial

        Prof. Dr. Hans Ottomeyer , 2000-2011 General Director / President of the German Historical Museum, Berlin

        Eberhard Radczuweit , board member of the KONTAKTE-KOHTAKTbI eV, Berlin

        Prof. Lea Rosh , Berlin

        Prof. Dr. Stefanie Schüler-Springorum , Director of the Center for Research on Antisemitism, Berlin

        Dirk Sager , journalist, 1990-2004 head of ZDF-Studio Moscow, Potsdam

        Dr. Hilde Schramm , Berlin

        Prof. Dr. Peter Steinbach , historian, Mannheim / Berlin

        Lala Süßkind , 2008-2012 chairman of the Jewish community in Berlin

        Rosemarie Tietze , literary translator, Munich

        Prof. Dr. Johannes Tuchel , Director of the German Resistance Memorial Center, Berlin

        Prof. Dr. Wolf Wagner , political scientist, Berlin

        Prof. Dr. Wolfram Wette , historian, Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg

        Prof. Dr. Michael Wildt , historian, Humboldt University Berlin

        March 2013

        I’ll see if I can get closer to the chronology. Apparently it was part of the CDU/SPD coalition treaty to make such a Museum reality. This is only the start and it is really, really hard to imagine that Russia will not get memory space.

        Will take time. We’ll see.

        Like

    2. “Germany stands by and says nothing about Nazi in Ukraine”

      Don’t forget that the so called “Entnazifizierung” was a smoke screen to hide that the biggest supporters of Nazism, the Flicks, Krupps, Quandts, Thyssen, Oetkers, Boss, Stinnes etc…while prosecuting the lower Ranks of the NSDAP, while the higher ups had used the various ratlines supplied by the catholic church and various US secret and not so secret services.
      So there were many Nazis left hiding in industry, finance, politics and science throughout the Cold War period.

      Read that here:
      https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/10/30/berlin-newest-drang-nach-osten-started-in-1990s-with-serbs/

      “It has taken Germany almost three decades to feel that it has gained sufficiently high “moral ground” from which it could feel confident enough to launch its brazen, evidence-free campaign of accusing Russia of responsibility for whatever really happened to Alexey Navalny. Along the way, let us not forget, Germany not only openly supported the Euromaidan coup but joined the Western chorus of anti-Russian condemnation and sanctions-mongering in connection with Ukraine as well as with another highly suspect “the Russians did it” poisoning ploy, involving Sergey Skripal and his daughter – who seem to have been conveniently “disappeared” after the affair had served its propaganda purpose.”

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s