Putin, Ukraine and the absurd excuse of “denazification”

Putin said he wanted to “denazify” Ukraine: words that sound out of time and out of place, in the face of a nation that has elected a Russian-speaking Jewish president and where there are over 160 Jewish communities. “Don’t believe the propaganda, Putin wants to destroy us because we don’t want to go back to the USSR”

Putin stated, in no uncertain terms, that he intends to “denazify” Ukraine, recalling the tragedies of the Second World War, when the arrival of German panzers in the country was greeted “with joy” by most of the citizens and was followed by massacres unimaginable against the Jews.

But the words of the Russian president today sound out of time and out of place.

Ukraine elected president three years ago Volodymyr Zelensky: a Russian-speaking Jewwhich he collected over 70% of the popular vote.

In the country 160 Jewish communities exist today, whose rabbis (many who arrived from abroad) said they did not want to leave. Not only: there are also Jews among the volunteers who have worn the Ukrainian uniform and are now on the front line to defend what they consider their country.

So, does it make sense to speak of “denazification”?

The chief rabbi of Kiev, Meir Stambler, in an interview with the «Jewish Chronicle» said bluntly: «The Jews of Ukraine will fight alongside their neighbors against the Russian invasion. It is true, this country is steeped in our blood and our history here is complex and painful. But the last few years have been good, we have an excellent relationship with our fellow citizens and we share the sufferings of this absurd invasion: side by side ».

Social media, starting with Twitter, are full of messages of Jewish solidarity with Ukraine and criticism of the Kremlin leader’s “out of this world” claims. The American Jewish Committee says it is “in solidarity with Ukraine, we condemn in no uncertain terms the invasion wanted by Putin”.

Yair Rosenberg, reporter for “The Atlantic”, known as “Putin wants to denazify a country whose president is Jewish as is the former prime minister: like so many bigots, he calls the Jews Nazis and transforms the victims of Nazism into their oppressors“.

Certainly Ukraine is a complex country and there is no shortage of problems, as Avi Yemini, also a reporter, notes: «We must focus on the facts: did the Russians invade because Ukraine is a Nazi? No. Is there a problem of extremism in Ukraine? Yes, but this is not the reason that explains what is happening ». A Kiev artist, Mustrat, writes: “Just for your information, there is not a single Nazi deputy in our parliament, while we have elected a Jewish president. Don’t believe the propaganda. Putin wants to destroy us because we don’t want to go back to the USSR and because we are a young democracy“.

A few days ago, before it all fell apart, Stand with Us, an organization that fights anti-Jewish hatred around the world, praised the vote by which the Kiev Parliament approved a specific law that punishes anti-Semitism, “a extraordinary and significant step to combat the discrimination of bigots ».


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