This clearinghouse topic exists to discuss Vladimir Putin’s views of Ukrainian and Russian history and how they relate to current events. Please note that comments containing spurious claims about history from either the Russian or Ukrainian sides of the conflict may be re-directed here for further discussion. There is also a separate topic to counter fallacious arguments here.
The events of history are of course open to interpretation. Revisionist history is a legitimate historiographical approach in that context. Unfortunately, since the 1980s that term has been sullied by right-wing charlatans like David Irving as well as neo-Nazis to further their toxic agendas. The current right-wing autocrat of All the Russias has decided to join in that sorry tradition of pretzel arguments and lies as he tries to justify his invasion of a sovereign nation-state
I’ll start things rolling below by examining some of Putin’s claims in that instance.
First, though, some reality-based definitions we’ll be hearing a lot from the Putin regime and its apologists and Useful Idiots and tankies:
“Ukraine” is the sovereign nation-state formed in 1991 by popular and non-violent assent by the people of the former Ukrainian SSR after the fall of the Soviet Union. It currently ranks 86/167 on The Economist’s Democracy Index. In regard to this invasion we are not currently discussing any of its other forms, including the Soviet client state or the medieval kingdom that pre-dated Russia.
“Russia” or “The Russian Federation” is a sovereign nation-state formed after the fall of the Soviet Union. It currently ranks 124/167 on The Economist’s Democracy Index. Except where warrented (e.g. as the nation-state invading another or tampering with anothers’ elections), Russia and its people should not be conflated directly with the autocratic regime of Putin, Many Russians consider his attempt to re-construct the old Tsarist or Soviet empires along the lines of the geopolitical ideology of Aleksandr Dugin and his ilk to be ill advised. Nor should Ukraine as defined above be conflated with Russia.
“Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DNR”) and "Luhansk People’s Republic (“LNR”) are bogus terms created by ethnic Russian rebels and their patron state (the Russian Republic) to describe what is actually the eastern region known as “Donbas” of the sovereign nation-state of Ukraine.
“Fascism” refers to a generic right-wing sado-populist ultra-nationalist ideology, commonly associated with Nazi Germany but present (and unfortunately currently resurgent) in many countries. Umberto Eco provides a serviceable list of its characteristics in his classic essay. Ukraine has its fascist fringe groups that enjoy little legitimate political power in civil society. The same goes for Russia, although Putin has evinced a greater willingness to ally with such groups when politically expedient and certainly employs many of fascism’s methods, which were essentially the same ones his former employer the KGB used to promote authoritarian communism of the Soviet Union. In the current war, we may see Ukrainian fascists fighting Russian fascists and vice-versa – it is the nature of fascism that there is no aspiration to their own version of the Socialist Internationale.
“Genocide” refers to the deliberate and systematic state-sponsored murder of ethnic, religious, or racial groups. Currently, there is no convincing evidence that Putin’s claims of a Ukrainian genocide of ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s Donbas region are factual. Please do not throw this term around as casually as Putin or American white supremacists do, as doing so diminishes the gravity of actual genocides with real murdered victims.
“Peacekeeping” is a term generally associated with United Nations missions in which military troops from disinterested third-party countries are sent to conflict zones to maintain truces and reduce violent incidents from combatant parties. “Peacekeeping” is not a legitimate description of troops being sent in to carry out an expansionist mission for an aspiring empire.
“NATO” is a defensive military treaty organisation created by the U.S. after the Second World War to counter the expansionist tendencies of the USSR during the Cold War era. Membership conveyed the promise of support resulting from the dictum that “an attack on one member is an attack on all members”. In the post-Soviet period it has welcomed members from now independent former SSR and Warsaw Pact nation-states. Putin characterises this as an attack on Russia, which says more about his intentions than it does about NATO’s. NATO is not to be confused with the more amorphous term “the West”, despite the Putin regime’s tendency to do so in a derogatory fashion.
As in the “And Whatabout Your Black People…?” topic, let me take another opportunity to extend to any new comrades from Russia’s “content farms” a heartfelt
[disclaimer: this topic does not necessarily represent the views of Boing Boing’s Authors, Publisher or Moderators but rather those of members of the BBS community]