Palestine in Europe
The neo-Nazi Azov Battalion is rebrandoning1 itself by dropping their logo, adapted from the logo of Waffen-SS units. This has elicited much mirth in the anti-war blogosphere.
It is funny, but there’s a deeper significance to this, apart from a bunch of unsavory characters trying to pull a fast one: the presence of extremism in Ukraine. It ain’t going anywhere. It will get worse. It has deep roots in Ukrainian history and Ukrainian society.
Let’s take a look at two prominent names in the Ukraine picture, one an actual Ukrainian, the other, a Ukrainian-American spokesman.
At the beginning of the Russian/Ukraine war, one Gennady Druzenko, who allegedly runs a mobile hospital, said that he had given the order to castrate Russian prisoners of war:
because in his lovely language, they are “cockroaches”:
This was never reported on in the major mainstream media. You’d think it would be. Calling people “cockroaches” is what led to the Rwandan genocide, no? And that castration business… I think it’s against the Geneva Accords.
He said a bunch of other ugly stuff, well worth paying attention to. He really thinks that Ukraine has the capacity to bring down Belarus and “liberate” southern Russia.
In other words, Druzenko is both delusional and sadistic.
This was on Ukraine’s state-run television channel.
I did a search for the name Druzenko in the NY Times database and found only four articles about his wife,
Eva Svitlana, who coordinates emergency evacuations of wounded soldiers and civilians from the battle zones.” Quite the humanitarian, isn’t she? Don’t you think that the paper of record should mention that her husband called for castrating Russian POWs on Ukrainian state television?
A quick google search of Druzenko shows that he’s not a neo-Nazi, he’s a fully invested member of NGO world. The Wilson Center still has his picture on their website. The Wilson Center! You cannot get more connected than that.
On Druzenko’s Facebook page (which I won’t link to, but it’s easily found) he hastily apologized for his remarks with a cheery “Never mind! I got a bit carried away!” Several commenters responded that he had nothing to apologize for.
I hope that the International Red Cross investigates his medical unit. They certainly have ample grounds to do so.
Then there is Askold Lozynsky, “Attorney and Former President, Ukrainian World Congress.” He is a complete apologist for the fascist, pro-Nazi OUN. He thinks that Jews were primarily responsible for the so-called “Holodomor.”2
Bluntly: he’s a fanatic Ukrainian nationalist and an anti-Semite.
His videos, which I fervently hope YouTube does NOT take down, are on something called UkeTube. It’s a fascinating channel. There’s a lot of stuff about Jews. In fact, may I say that UkeTube seems to be obsessed with Jews?
Here is how they roll:
There are several videos on UkeTube featuring Jarrod Tanny, a legitimate academic, who wrote a fine book about old Odessa, a once heavily Jewish city in the Russian Empire. It had a raffish reputation. This is no secret: my mother, whose mother was born in Odessa, told me all about it.
I sincerely doubt that UkeTube interviewed Professor Tanny. They found interviews with him somewhere and put them on their channel sub rosa, with the caveat: “This video was not sponsored.” I wonder if they are in violation of copyright. They’ve already been sanctioned once and somehow convinced YouTube to reinstate them.
They named one of the videos “Jews Play Large Role In The Global Prostitution Trade” — maybe that’s a joke in Ukrainian. Note the present tense.
The full title of Professor Tanny’s book, City of Rogues and Schnorrers: The Myth of Old Odessa, should tell you something. It’s about a “myth,” OK? And use of the Yiddish word “schnorrer,” (meaning: beggar) indicates something, don’t you think? To me it conveys an affection for the subject.
The incendiary titles they give the videos about Jews reveals their agenda: Ukraine, the pure ethnos of peasant girls wearing sunflower tiaras and brave Cossack men was corrupted by the evil Jews, which corruption left it open to erasure by the Muscovites.
The sad fact is that I think UkeTube, Druzenko, and Lozynsky speak for the silent majority of Ukrainians.
An extremist anti-Jewish (and anti-Polish, Russian, Hungarian, anything) is the core of the Ukrainian nationalist world view.
They are not tattooed neo-Nazis.
How on earth the US got entangled, or entangled itself, in this tar pit is a subject for future historians to puzzle out, but here we are.
A commenter on Gilbert Doctorow’s website made the following perceptive observation:
“Russia’s calculation has to be that the west’s sole interest in the Ukraine, is to create an anti-Russia.”
And what more perfect way to do it than engage with Ukrainian nationalists? Is there an echo, a rhyme, with the post-WW2 virtual exoneration of Germany? In the immediate post-war era, Eisenhower gave strict orders to treat Germany as a defeated nation. Look it up in The Bitter Road to Freedom. But that didn’t last. With big bad communism looming all over the world, after a couple of years and a few show trials, it was back to business as usual. Germany and the US, buddies, allies.
Isn’t this the same? Admittedly, Stalin was a bastard, the Soviet Union was a menace - the question was, how to deal with it - containment, or war? There were very few actual supporters of the Soviet Union in the west. Even the New Left of the 60s thought they were uncool. Did we really have to sweep the crimes of Nazi Germany under the carpet to oppose the Soviet Union? It was popular culture that brought out the repressed truth.
This is different. There is no natural enmity between Russia and America. We’ve had good relations with Russia since 1826!
What about “Putler?” I contend that “Putler” is a creation of the Western media, the same guys who never asked one question during the various semi-genocidal crapfests and shitshows the US has pulled since Vietnam.
The Blob is playing a deadly, dangerous game by engaging with these fanatics. I am not referring to the frank, open neo-Nazis and their logo changes. I’m referring to the clean-cut guys with law degrees and NGO credentials.
They talk about castrating Russians. They blame “the Jews” for Ukraine’s self-created misfortunes.
They are the moderates.
The entire Western mainstream media has gone to bat for them.
There’s a lot of talk in the antiwar crowd that NATOstan is consciously trying to create a European Afghanistan.
Gonzalo Lira, Douglas MacGregor, and Larry Johnson have dismissed this as fantasy for various reasons. It is fantasy, but since when did rationality ever constrain the Blob? Look at all the crazy things they’ve done!
But this is a side issue—the Blob doesn’t have to create an Afghanistan, it already has a Palestine on its payroll.
From the beginning of this conflict, I’ve been struck by the similarities to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Ukraine, like Palestine, is a borderland with an unfixed, fluctuating, contrived identity. The Ukrainian identity (formerly Rusyn, Ruthenian, etc.) was formulated by intellectuals (Russian-educated intellectuals, LOL!) in the nineteenth century. The Ukrainian identity is entirely based on being anti-Russia. There are other aspects, but that’s the core.
I used to dismiss the reality of Palestinian nationhood. I don’t know what happened—the wisdom of age perhaps—but I finally came to the conclusion that it’s not for me to decide for others what their identity is. I can’t control what’s between someone else’s ears. It doesn’t matter whether their “nation” was born in 1255 or 1872 or 1958. If it’s real to them, it’s real.
The Russians dismiss the reality of a Ukrainian identity separate and distinct from the Russian identity, to their own detriment. That’s why the first phase of the “Special Military Operation” was a fiasco. It was based on the misconception that the Ukraine government was a fictitious entity with zero roots in the Ukrainian people, who do not exist as a people. There are grains of truth in that, but it’s essentially wrong.
Larry Johnson seems to have fallen for the Russian line. On his website he’s repeatedly dismissed the reality of Ukrainian nationalism and at 31:13 in this interview he says: “There won’t be a Ukraine in five years.”
I respectfully disagree. There may or may not be a rump Ukraine, but there will be Ukrainians. And if you think they are angry, aggrieved, anti-Russian, anti-Semitic, and seething with perceived wrongs now, wait.
And who’s going to pay for it? China, you say, because USG is just printing monopoly money? Yeah, them. And the American taxpayer.
And let’s not talk about the terrorism the Ukrainians are capable of. Imagine a combination of the PLO and the IRA on steroids.
You ain’t seen nothing yet.
Not a typo.
There was famine of 1932-1933 that killed people all over the Soviet Union. There is no evidence that it was a planned genocide of the Ukrainian people. More about this in due course.