I know I haven’t been around for a while, but work has me traveling lately, and I didn’t take my laptop, because I’m too lazy to lug it around. I have been gone for nearly two weeks, and I’m happy to report that the boys did not burn the house down while I was gone. As instructed…
They follow directions well.
But I digress…
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know of Moscow’s shenanigans in eastern Ukraine. You know the numerous Russian NGOs, “charities” and officials who have been funneling not just money, but military materiel to the separatists in eastern Ukraine, and have been engaging in a massive propaganda campaign to promote their “Novorossiya” concept.
To be sure, there’s no “Novorossiya” in Ukraine, but the Russian propaganda machine has been nothing if not effective. The Russian czarist-era name for southeastern Ukraine has resurfaced again in recent weeks, indicating Moscow’s toward the area.
The first time Mr. Putin used the term, pro-Russian militants were advancing at a rapid clip across Ukraine’s southeast and drumming up local support by suggesting the Donetsk and Luhansk regions would follow Crimea’s lead in joining Russia. Many rebels and locals interpreted Mr. Putin’s description of their region as Novorossiya as tacit support for that aim.
Now the controversial term has reappeared at a telling time. Since late last week, Mr. Putin has been making his most public show of support for the rebels since the conflict began, describing the militants as charitable protectors of locals.
Putin has been flirting with this “Novorossiya” concept for a few months now, in order to stir the Russian nationalist sentiments at a time when Russia is becoming more and more isolated from the rest of the world, pounded by EU, Canadian and U.S. sanctions and condemned by the West for its conscious, deliberate efforts to destabilize eastern Ukraine.
And this flirtation with nationalism isn’t just a harmless cheerleading for patriots to unite behind their nation and wrap themselves in the flag. It’s a dangerous, racist ideology, tinged with implications of ethnic cleansing and religious fundamentalism.
Take, for example, Alexander Dugin. Dugin is a racist scumbag, who serves as an adviser to State Duma speaker (and key member of the ruling United Russia party) Sergei Naryshkin, and who has been a huge proponent of restoration of the Russian Empire through partitioning of the former Soviet republics, such as Georgia and Ukraine, and unification – by force if necessary – with Russian-speaking territories in those sovereign countries, especially Eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
Dugin is not some extremist, ignored by the Kremlin. He’s an academic and an adviser to the Speaker of the State Duma. He’s also head of the Eurasian Youth Union (Евразийский союз молодёжи or ESM) that is allied with extremist organizations such as the National Bolshevik Front (also linked to Dugin, coincidentally – move along, nothing to see here), and whose flag looks somewhat… familiar!
If you don’t see elements of Nazism and the former Soviet Union in this flag, I can’t help you.
More recently, Dugin has been spewing this purist ideology on social media.
“There never was … a Ukrainian ethnicity, a Ukrainian nation, a Ukrainian civilization. Just western Russian lands,” he wrote in February. (Never mind Kievan Rus, which Dugin conveniently ignores while tossing around his froth-flecked extremism). Hey, whatever. Genocide… ethnic cleansing… The crazy is deep in this one, and yet, Kremlin ideologues seem to have pushed Dugin’s rhetoric to the mainstream.
And then there’s our friend Dmitry Rogozin. This douche rocket is the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia in charge of the Russian defense industries and a former Russian ambassador to NATO. He’s also a nationalist prick, who has been screeching all kinds of unsavory fascist rhetoric of late.
On 14 September Lenta.ru published an article about Ukraine’s DEFMIN considering returning Ukraine to nuclear power status if needed aid doesn’t come from the West in this conflict with Russia. Rogozin tweeted the story, along with the following (loosely translated by me) “I’ve already heard about monkeys with grenades. But monkeys dreaming about nuclear grenades, that’s the first time I’m hearing about those.”
So apparently, Ukrainians are a bunch of monkeys, according to one of Russia’s Deputy Premiers. Nice. Hell, if a highly-placed government official in the United States said something similar about, say… Mexico… or another one of our neighbors, I’m thinking the screeches of “RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISM!” would be long and loud.
But in this case, a bunch of Russian nationalists didn’t just retweet the insult, but also proceeded to take the racist rhetoric further by implying something similar about our own leadership here in the United States.
This is not just puerile rhetoric meant to insult an adversary with whom there’s a disagreement. What I’m seeing in Russia is a dangerous flirtation with a very unsavory ideology. While Russian-funded and controlled RT media keeps drooling about racism in America, and gleefully and opportunistically using every instance of what they perceive to be “racism” to condemn American society, they pointedly ignore comments by the Russian leadership that clearly point to something much more profoundly insidious than a white cop shooting a black guy in Missouri. They also claim they’re fighting against fascism in Ukraine, while – again – pointedly ignoring their own fascist tendencies.
The fact that Dugin and his band of fascist fucks are moving into the mainstream with the blessings of the Russian leadership speaks volumes. Dugin has been calling for increased Russian aggression against its neighbors for years, in his frothing zeal to bring ethnic Russians back into the fold. And now, it appears Putin has found a good way to whip up nationalist sentiments in Russia by allowing Dugin to function and spew unhindered.
It’s a great way to whip up support during a time of economic slowdown, inflation, and increased misery. Focus on the greatness of the nation! Focus on the awesomeness of being Russian! We will bring back the glorious Mother Russia – with your help – because you are Russian and great! And we will restore Russia to her glory!
What a damn shame and embarrassment!