Suuurrrre looks that way. RIA Novosti, a state-owned Russian domestic media outlet, published a lengthy essay today about Russia’s attempts to “de-Nazify” Ukraine. Analyst Sergej Sumlenny first alerted Twitter users to this eye-popping essay:
THREAD: Russian state-owned propaganda outlet RIA published the new programmatic article with the title “What Russia must do with Ukraine”. The article reveals a detailed plan for a genocide, starting from full elimination of Ukrainian state. Details below. pic.twitter.com/Nf0cR59cBa
— Sergej Sumlenny (@sumlenny) April 4, 2022
When Vladimir Putin announced that as his chief war aim in invading, the argument was that the government in Kyiv had been taken over by a Nazi clique and that the people needed and would welcome liberation. Now the people are the problem, RIA Novosti declares, lumping them all together as Nazis (translation via Google):
The Nazis who took up arms should be destroyed to the maximum on the battlefield. No significant distinction should be made between the APU and the so-called national battalions, as well as the territorial defense that joined these two types of military formations. All of them are equally involved in extreme cruelty against the civilian population, equally guilty of the genocide of the Russian people, do not comply with the laws and customs of war. War criminals and active Nazis should be exemplarily and exponentially punished. There must be a total lustration [purification — Ed]. Any organizations that have associated themselves with the practice of Nazism have been liquidated and banned.
It’s no longer the Azov battalion to which Russia objects, but all forms of national defense. That essentially rejects any recognition of the Geneva conventions of warfare. But it gets even worse when it comes to non-combatants:
However, in addition to the top, a significant part of the masses, which are passive Nazis, accomplices of Nazism, are also guilty. They supported and indulged Nazi power. The just punishment of this part of the population is possible only as bearing the inevitable hardships of a just war against the Nazi system, carried out with the utmost care and discretion in relation to civilians. Further denazification of this mass of the population consists in re-education, which is achieved by ideological repression (suppression) of Nazi attitudes and strict censorship: not only in the political sphere, but also necessarily in the sphere of culture and education. It was through culture and education that a deep mass nazification of the population was prepared and carried out, secured by the promise of dividends from the victory of the Nazi regime overRussia , Nazi propaganda, internal violence and terror, as well as an eight-year war with the people of Donbass who rebelled against Ukrainian Nazism. …
Denazification will inevitably also be a de-Ukrainization – a rejection of the large-scale artificial inflation of the ethnic component of self-identification of the population of the territories of historical Little Russia and New Russia, begun by the Soviet authorities. Being an instrument of the communist superpower, after its fall, artificial ethnocentrism did not remain ownerless. In this official capacity, he passed under the authority of another superpower (the power standing over the states) — the superpower of the West. It must be returned to its natural boundaries and deprived of political functionality.
That’s a recipe for complete obliteration of the Ukrainian people. Oddly, it also serves as a rebuttal to earlier Russian claims that Ukrainians were being held hostage by a tiny clique of Nazis and that Putin had a duty to come to the defense of fellow Slavs. RIA Novosti now acknowledges that the Volodymyr Zelensky government is legitimate — elected by the Ukrainian people of their own will. That’s in fact the new basis for this genocide manifesto — not just some need to excise the ruling class to restore order in their neighboring republic.
That would certainly explain all of the war crimes now being exposed by Putin’s withdrawals. Indeed, this essay acts as a defense of those crimes.
How long will this genocide take? “[I]n no way less than one generation,” the essay declares:
Denazification can only be carried out by the winner, which implies (1) his absolute control over the denazification process and (2) the power to ensure such control. In this respect, a denazified country cannot be sovereign. The denazifying state – Russia – cannot proceed from a liberal approach with regard to denazification. The ideology of the denazifier cannot be disputed by the guilty party subjected to denazification. Russia’s recognition of the need to denazify Ukraine means the recognition of the impossibility of the Crimean scenario for Ukraine as a whole. However, this scenario was impossible in 2014 and in the rebellious Donbass. Only eight years of resistance to Nazi violence and terror led to internal cohesion and a conscious unambiguous mass refusal to maintain any unity and connection with Ukraine,
The terms of denazification can in no way be less than one generation, which must be born, grow up and reach maturity under the conditions of denazification. The nazification of Ukraine continued for more than 30 years, beginning at least in 1989, when Ukrainian nationalism received legal and legitimate forms of political expression and led the movement for “independence” towards Nazism.
That spells a return to Sovietification, to coin a countering term, along the lines we saw in eastern Europe for more than forty years. And for that matter in Ukraine for much longer, which also experienced a major genocide along the way (the Holodomor). How well did that succeed? It didn’t; it made the former Soviet-occupied countries more eager to unite with the West and to distance themselves from Moscow despite two generations of Kremlin “denazification.”
At the very least, though, this represents a very clear change in Russia’s public aims about the war, domestically as well as internationally. This manifesto from RIA Novosti leaves Putin no wiggle room on declaring victory by simply firming up positions in Luhansk and Donetsk. It raises the stakes impossibly high, not just for Putin but for Russians altogether. It’s a call for greater mobilization in a war that has already chewed up a large portion of Putin’s effective military forces. How many more sons will Russians sacrifice on the pyre of Putin’s dreams of empire?
And just how much longer will Russians — oligarchs and the rank and file — blithely go along with the genocide of fellow Slavs next door?