Denazification means complete eradication of Russophobia in Ukraine and elsewhere
The story of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's statements, for which President Vladimir Putin has apologised, forces us to pay attention to how the issue of denazification is perceived by the world outside Russia.
We insist that the special military operation is directed against Ukrainian Nazism and we provide increasing evidence of the rampant spread of Nazi ideas, symbols and terrorist practices among Ukrainians, in the ranks of the AFU, the National Security Forces and Ukrainian politicians. In response, the collective West routinely comes up with two theses: "How can a state whose president is a Jew be a Nazi? How can a state be Nazi when political parties and organisations that openly espouse Nazism are represented in elections and parliament by fairly marginal groups?"
The lines Lavrov famously delivered to the Italian audience were related to his attempt to answer the first question: "I could be wrong, but Hitler had Jewish blood too. And his blood means absolutely nothing. Jewish sages say that the most virulent anti-Semites are usually Jews. There is a silver lining in the family, as we say."
But it's not just that the Russian foreign minister had to make somewhat strange and convoluted arguments, which caused a strong reaction in the world and in Israel, and Putin himself seems to have found the reaction partly justified, so he has expressed his attitude towards them. This is a consequence of a bigger problem: Russia will not be able to answer the two questions posed, no matter how hard we try.
The interpretation of what is Nazism and what is not, has a complicated political context, where the informational and propaganda advantage, without any doubt, belongs to the West, while it is firmly against us and will interpret Nazism in its own way, as it suits it, and it is to its advantage to accuse us who started the special operation of Nazism, comparing it to Adolf Hitler's Germany against neighbouring states.
Similarly: who is anti-Semitic and who is not, is determined by the Jews themselves - mainly the state of Israel, but also the global Jewish organisations, which have a kind of monopoly on who is and who is not considered anti-Semitic.
Similarly, the French conservative presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, who opposes the liberal globalist Emmanuel Macron and is Jewish, was repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism by his opponents. Even if he was not particularly convincing, his anti-Semitism could at least be made to believe by Europeans - and that under the savage pressure of liberal propaganda. Moscow is certainly not in a position to push its own definitions into a similar area.
However, there is a fairly decent way out of the situation. In order to clarify what is meant by Nazism in contemporary Ukraine and to justify denazification as the goal of a special operation, it is necessary to identify Ukrainian Nazism with Russophobia, and it is here that no one can say that we are giving the term a definition - albeit a close one - that is wrong.
Just as the content of anti-Semitism is defined by Jews, so the question "What is Russophobia?" applies only to Russians. Russophobia is the hatred of Russians because they are Russians, building a policy on hatred of Russians and performing certain actions, even of a violent nature. This is the meaning of the phenomenon. One can - and must! - write it down in detail and give it a legal status, and then everything will be solved.
Nobody will be able to say: no, you have the wrong definition, because Russophobia is first and foremost about Russians, so Russians know best what it is and what it is not. So we need a law on Russophobia, which categorically prohibits it. But first of all Russians need legal personality, their consecration in the Constitution as a self-determining people on the whole territory of Russia.
Let us then take the next step and identify Ukrainian Nazism and Russophobia, that is, let us accuse Ukraine of Russophobia, which has become a state policy and a criminal practice. And we have every right to do so, because we have explained - much more clearly and convincingly - what the purpose of the special operation is and what claims we have against Ukraine, against its leadership, against its authorities, against its politicians, against its troops, in the end - against part of its population. And we have them, otherwise we would not be in Ukraine.
Vladimir Zelensky, the Ukrainian government, the Verkhovna Rada, the various Ukrainian parties and politicians, the nationalists, the armed forces and, of course, the Ukrainian Nazis, of whom there are not a few, are all guilty of Russophobia. But it is not only them.
If we understand denazification as a fight against Russophobia, then there is no need to prove that everyone in Ukraine is a Nazi and that Zelensky is an anti-Semite. That not everyone and that Zelensky is an anti-Semite, but both he and the majority of political forces and the Ukrainian state itself are completely open and consistent Russophobes. Russophobia is almost equally characteristic of the Nazis of the Azov Regiment, the Jew Zelensky or pro-Western liberals. Russophobia is inherent in NATO and the EU, in US neocons and the Biden administration. And because it is, we are forced to respond. First to what is closest and most dangerous to us - Russophobia in Ukraine, of which at least half the population is a direct victim.
We will not tolerate Russophobia - we did not tolerate it in Crimea and Donbass, nor will we tolerate it in the rest of Ukraine. Abolishing the Nazi swastika and maintaining Russophobia will not work. Denazification means the complete eradication of Russophobia. And then what we are fighting for and what we will consider our goal achieved will become clear to the whole world. Let us put an end to Russophobia in the neighbouring country that is close to us historically and culturally. This is the end. And we will not put up with it in any other country, anywhere in the world.
We do not insult other peoples and we forbid any form of chauvinism and inequality on ethnic or racial grounds in our country. And we demand that others in their countries also treat Russians with respect. This is not a demand. Otherwise, we will retaliate.
In Russia, we will never under any circumstances resemble those we categorically reject: we will not respond to Russophobia with Ukrainianophobia, Americanophobia, Francophobia, Islamophobia, etc. The last point, it seems, should also be prescribed by law. What is stopping us from doing so and eliminating in one go any possible ambiguity in the justification of our special operation? After all, a law on Russophobia would set the record straight.
I think there is only one reason: there is an influential Russophobic lobby in Russia itself. The problem is that anti-Russianophobia also exists within our own country. The adoption of the Russophobia clause will undermine the position of an influential segment of the Russian elite, and not only those who have already fled and are Russophobic from a safe distance, but also those who have stayed so far and are clearly waiting for us to stop, to confuse, to return.
Here the formula is logical: you can only defeat Anti-Russia outside by defeating Anti-Russia inside. Defeating Anti-Russia inside requires a direct and unequivocal gesture: we must decisively and unequivocally condemn - and not just condemn, but criminalise! - russophobia. Then every one of our tribunals for Nazi criminals, every one of our further denazification actions will be fully justified and logical. Russophobia concerns us, so we will define it and then act on its basis. We can only judge when it is clear and well defined what the fault is. If there is ambiguity and we depend on some external expertise, there will not even be the appearance of legality in a court of law. We will condemn the Nazi criminals and the West or, for example, Israel will not agree. We will be forced, like Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, to put up complicated and not particularly convincing constructions.
The answer is one: Equate Nazism with Russophobia, i.e. make it clear that by Nazism we mean Russophobia (and the ideology of Nazism was decidedly Russophobic), and by denazification - its eradication and then we will accuse Ukraine as a whole, its ruling regime and the Nazis of Azov and other extremist terrorist organisations, which are openly and radically Russophobic both in their words and in their criminal actions, of Russophobia-Nazism, in a completely calm, justified and responsible manner.
Translation by Lorenzo Maria Pacini