Biden Was Right: De-Ukrainization is Genocide

tags: Ukraine, genocide

Francine Hirsch is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg.

Russian leaders began by calling Ukraine’s leaders “Nazis” to cover up their plan for a predatory war of aggression. Now they are calling for genocide. President Biden was right to sound the alarm about genocide. The world must act.

On the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin ramped up a disinformation campaign designed to challenge the country’s right to exist. He described Ukraine as an “artificial creation of the Bolsheviks” and called its leaders “Nazis.” On Feb. 24, Putin announced that he had launched a “special military operation” to “de-Nazify” Ukraine. Last week, while the world was learning horrifying details about the Russian military’s rape, torture and murder of civilians, this talk of “de-Nazification” morphed in the Russian state media into a chilling call for “de-Ukrainization.” 

De-Ukrainization is genocide. The world must act.

An article published by RIA-Novosti on April 5 repeated Putin’s claim that “Ukrainians are an artificial anti-Russian construct.” It proclaimed that “Ukraine’s political elite must be eliminated.” And it declared that ordinary Ukrainians are “passive Nazis” who “must experience all the horrors of war and absorb the experience as a historical lesson and atonement for their guilt.” Explaining that “De-Nazification will inevitably also be a de-Ukrainization,” the article issued an ominous call for “total purification.” 

This is not the first time such vile ideas have been expressed in the Russian media. There was a spate of articles and videos in 2016 and 2017 espousing “de-Ukrainization.” Economist and pundit Mikhail Khazin called for the transformation of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy into “agricultural hinterland stripped of industry and armed forces,” with “excess population” deported to Russia’s Far East. He further suggested “several million” Ukrainians would “need to be” either “terminated” or “expelled.”

Read entire article at The Hill