Putin’s Phantom Pogromstags: Russia, anti-Semitism, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, pogroms
Amelia M. Glaser, associate professor of Russian literature at the University of California, San Diego, is the author of Jews and Ukrainians in Russia’s Literary Borderlands: From the Shtetl Fair to the Petersburg Bookshop.
Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, and his government have been deft at using the history of Ukrainian anti-Semitism to their advantage. At his first news conference after moving his troops into Crimea, Mr. Putin described right-wing fanatics in Kiev wearing armbands with swastikalike symbols, warning that, in upcoming elections, “like a Jack-in-the-box, some nationalist-type or semifascist element ... or some kind of anti-Semite could pop out.”
His foreign minister, Sergei V. Lavrov, has repeatedly tried to discredit the revolution that toppled Ukraine’s pro-Russian president last month by calling it a “pogrom.” The Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly I. Churkin, likened the demonstrators to the Ukrainian fascists who collaborated with the Nazis against the Soviet Union during World War II.
This is more than merely a cynical ploy. In invoking Ukraine’s history of anti-Semitism, Mr. Putin and his deputies are not so much trying to appeal to the at least 70,000 Jews there today as to the millions of Russian speakers (many Jews among them) who have watched with ambivalence the toppling of statues of Lenin — still a symbol for older Ukrainians of the triumph of communist internationalism over Nazism. They are also proposing a high-stakes bet: If the true fascist nature of Ukraine’s new leaders emerges, naïve Westerners, including President Obama, will find themselves on the wrong side of history....
comments powered by Disqus
- Shipwreck Found Under World Trade Center Traced Back To Colonial Era Philadelphia
- Bob Dallek in the NYT gives a rave review of John Dean's history of Watergate cover-up
- Ex-President George W. Bush Authors Book About His Father
- Tears, and Anger, as Militants Destroy Iraq City’s Relics
- Europe notes 100th anniversary of World War I
- History Professor: Convicted Cop Killer Mumia Should Be Celebrated Like Martin Luther King Jr. in Schools
- Robert Drew, Cinema Verite Documentarian, Dies at 90
- Rick Perlstein: “Ronald Reagan absolved America almost in a priestly role not to have to contend with sin. The consequences are all around us today”
- History wars are raging in East Asia
- Round 2: It's Benny Morris vs. Martin Kramer ... Was there a massacre in 1948 in Lydda?