What Russia Should Do with Ukraine

2022 Russian news article

"What Russia Should Do with Ukraine" (Russian: Что Россия должна сделать с Украиной, romanized: Chto Rossiya dolzhna sdelat' s Ukrainoy),[a][1] is an op-ed article written by Timofey Sergeytsev [uk] and published by the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti.[2] The article calls for the full destruction of Ukraine as a state and it also calls for the full destruction of the Ukrainian national identity in accordance with Russia's aim to accomplish the "denazification" of the latter.[3][4] The article contrasts the views that Russian president Vladimir Putin expressed in the speech announcing the invasion, where he stated there were no plans to occupy Ukraine, and the Ukrainian people's right to self-determination would not be infringed upon.

It was published on 3 April 2022 in the context of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine,[2] on the same day as the bodies of dozens of civilians were discovered after the retreat of Russian forces from Ukrainian city of Bucha.[3][5][6]

The article caused international criticism and outrage[3][7][8] and has been condemned as evidence of genocidal intent.[9][10][11]

Content

The article advocates for "brutal censorship" of the Ukrainian culture, large-scale "de-ukrainization" of Ukrainians on the territories occupied by Russia in the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.[4][12][8]

The author insists that Ukraine's ethnocentrism is an artificial perversion,[13] that Ukraine's existence is "impossible" as a nation-state,[12] and that the word "Ukraine" itself cannot be allowed to exist.[3][4] According to the author, Ukraine should be dismantled and replaced with several states under direct control by Russia.[14] He adds that the "ethnic component of self-identification" of Ukraine would also be rejected after its occupation by Russia.[12]

The author claims that "most likely the majority" of Ukrainian civilians are "Nazis" (without knowing it),[12] thus, who "technically" cannot be punished as war criminals, but can be subjected to "denazification".[15] While Sergeytsev notes that there are no Nazi parties, symbols, racist laws, or other evidence of actual Nazism, he counters that by asserting that "Ukrainian Nazism is unique due to its amorphism and ambiguity", which is, per Timothy Snyder, equivalent to a "special Russian definition of Nazism".[5] The author asserts that Banderites are actually marginal to "Ukro-nazism", and that the real menace is Pro-Europeanism.

He claims that Ukrainians must "assimilate the experience" of the war "as a historical lesson and atonement for [their] guilt". After the war, forced labor, imprisonment and the death penalty would be used as punishment. After that, the population would be "integrated" into "Russian civilization".[12] The author describes the planned actions as a "decolonization" of Ukraine.[13][14]

According to Anton Shekhovtsov, writing in Haaretz, the article is an expanded version of a 2016 article by Russian columnist Alexander Zhuchkovsky, who is linked to Russian Imperial Movement. In that article, Zhuchkovsky called for the dehumanization of Ukrainians, saying "It is natural and right, as we are fighting not against people but against enemies, [...] not against people but against Ukrainians."[16]

Author

The author of the text, Timofey Sergeytsev [uk], advised Victor Pinchuk projects from 1998 to 2000, including Pinchuk's 1998 parliamentary election campaign in Ukraine, and was a member of the Board of Directors of Interpipe Group.[17]

He was born in 1963.[18] He studied at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1980, where he was a student of Georgy Shchedrovitsky.[19][20]

In 1999, he worked for the presidential campaign of then incumbent Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma. In September 2004, he was a consultant to Viktor Yanukovych. In 2010, he worked with Arseniy Yatsenyuk.[17] During Russia’s 2012 presidential elections, he worked as a consultant for Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and his party Right Cause.[21] In 2012, Sergeitsev co-produced the Russian feature film Match which was criticized for Ukrainophobia.[22] In 2014, it was banned on the territory of Ukraine as propaganda.[23][24]

According to Der Tagesspiegel, Sergeitsev supports the (since 2015) pro-Putin political party "Civic Platform" financed by one of the oligarchs from Putin's inner circle.[4] According to Euractiv, Sergeitsev is "one of the ideologists of modern Russian fascism".[25]

Reactions

Domestic reaction

Dmitry Medvedev, the current deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia, as well as former president of Russia between 2008 and 2012 and former prime minister of Russia between 2012 and 2020, reiterated the main points of the article a few days after its publication. According to Medvedev, "a passionate segment of Ukrainian society has been praying to the Third Reich",[26] Ukraine is a Nazi state like the Third Reich that must be "denazified" and "eradicated", and the result will be a collapse of Ukraine as a state.[27] Medvedev claims that the collapse is a path towards "open Eurasia from Lisbon to Vladivostok".[27] Medvedev has continued this rhetoric, posting lengthy diatribes against Ukraine aimed at domestic audiences. For example, in his "On Fakes and True History", he claimed that "the very essence of Ukrainianness, fed by anti-Russian venom and lies about its identity, is one big sham.... Ukrainian identity does not exist and never has."[28]

On April 26 of 2022, Putin's national security adviser Nikolai Patrushev said that "the Americans by using their proteges in Kyiv decided to create an antipode of our country, cynically choosing Ukraine for this, trying to divide an essentially single nation" and that "the result of the policy of the West and the Kyiv regime under its control can only be the disintegration of Ukraine into several states".[29]

Russian opposition politician Leonid Gozman, former co-chairman of Right Cause, called Sergeytsev a "scumbag".[21] Andrei Kolesnikov, a political analyst at Carnegie Moscow Center, said that consultants like Sergeytsev can be used to create strategies for authorities but they "don’t have any serious influence on anything".[21]

International reactions

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the article is proof of the Russian Federation's plans to carry out a genocide of Ukrainian citizens.[10] He noted that in order to denote the genocide of Ukrainians in the article the terms "de-Ukrainisation" and "de-Europeanization" were used. In his opinion, this is a part of the evidence for a future tribunal against Russian war crimes in Ukraine.[9][30]

According to a representative of Ukraine at Russian-Ukrainian peace negotiations Mykhailo Podoliak, the article is an official call for mass murders of Ukrainians because of their ethnicity, and will be considered as such by international criminal courts.[11] The Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine Oleksandr Tkachenko commented:[9]

Cynically, the author speaks about Ukrainian Nazism. When we see exactly the opposite: Russia is mass murdering Ukrainians because of their national identity. What should I call it? I will answer straight away: it is genocide of the Ukrainian people by Russia.

The head of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs called the article "ordinary fascism".[31] Former Canadian ambassador to Ukraine Roman Waschuk said that "It's essentially a rhetorical 'licence to kill' Ukrainians."[3]

Slavoj Žižek called the article "mad ravings" and noted that "Western imperial powers' brutal exploitation of the Global South is a truth that must never be forgotten. But it is strange to hear such talk from Russia, with its long history of such behavior... Now, we are told that Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Ukraine will be "decolonized" by way of... Russian colonization. Territories will be liberated against the will of their people (who will have to be re-educated or otherwise dissolved)" and that "if a new world war is to be avoided, it will be through a "hot peace," with massive military investments sustaining a fragile new balance of power."[32]

Legal

In Germany in April, Bundestag deputy Thomas Heilmann has filed a lawsuit with the Berlin prosecutor against the author of the article. According to Heilmann, the article may be a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.[33]

In Ukraine in May, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office opened a pre-trial investigation in the case.[34]

The death penalty is forbidden under both Russian and Ukrainian law, as of June 2022[update].[35] On the 8th of July 2022, a month after it sentenced three prisoners of war to death, the DPR lifted a moratorium on the death penalty.[36]

Criticism

According to Mika Aaltola, director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, the article showed Russian war propaganda "developing in a worrying direction".[37]

According to Latvian-based Russian media Meduza, the article is "essentially a blueprint for the genocide" of Ukrainians.[13]

According to Oxford expert on Russian affairs Samuel Ramani, the article "represents mainstream Kremlin thinking".[26]

The American historian Timothy Snyder wrote that the text "advocates the elimination of the Ukrainian people as such".[38] He later noted that it uses a special definition of the word "Nazi": "a Nazi is a Ukrainian who refuses to admit being a Russian". In his opinion, the article reveals the genocidal intent of Russia.[5]

Slavoj Žižek wrote: "So, Russia plans to do with Ukraine what Bertolt Brecht describes in his 1953 poem "The Solution": dissolve the people and elect another. By reading Sergeytsev's mad ravings alongside Putin's claim that Lenin invented Ukraine, we can discern the current Russian position. Ukraine has two fathers: Lenin, who invented it, and Hitler, who inspired today's “ukronazis” to actualize Lenin's invention... Now, we are told that Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Ukraine will be “decolonized” by way of... Russian colonization. Territories will be liberated against the will of their people (who will have to be re-educated or otherwise dissolved). If a new world war is to be avoided, it will be through a “hot peace,” with massive military investments sustaining a fragile new balance of power. The fragility of the situation stems not just from conflicting economic interests but also from conflicting interpretations of reality, which is not just about settling facts. But simply trying to prove that Russian claims are false misses the point made by Aleksandr Dugin, Putin's court philosopher: “Post-modernity shows that every so-called truth is a matter of believing. So we have our special Russian truth that you need to accept.” Faith, it seems, overrides knowledge. According to the “special Russian truth,” Russia's soldiers left behind no corpses of brutalized civilians in Bucha and other Ukrainian cities and towns; Western propagandists supposedly staged those atrocities. Given these circumstances, Westerners must stop proposing that Zelensky meet with Putin to negotiate a peace settlement... Any eventual negotiations will have to be conducted by lower-level bureaucrats. Putin and his inner circle are criminals who must be ignored as much as possible".[32]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Alternatively, rendered in question format, "What Should Russia Do with Ukraine?"

References

  1. ^ Ball, Tom. "Russia's vision for renaming Ukraine includes executing rebels". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Ukraine 'to be renamed' after war". The Australian. 5 April 2022. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e Brown, Chris (5 April 2022). "A Kremlin paper justifies erasing the Ukrainian identity, as Russia is accused of war crimes". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d Reuter, Benjamin; Stolz, Christopher (4 April 2022). "Russische Nachrichtenagentur ruft zur Vernichtung der Ukraine auf" [Russian news agency calls for annihilation of Ukraine]. Der Tagesspiegel Online (in German) – via Tagesspiegel.
  5. ^ a b c Snyder, Timothy (8 April 2022). "Russia's genocide handbook - The evidence of atrocity and of intent mounts". Thinking about... - Opening the future by understanding the past. Substack. Archived from the original on 11 April 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  6. ^ Снайдер, Тімоті (10 April 2022). "Російський посібник з геноциду" [Russian manual on genocide] (in Ukrainian). NV.ua. Archived from the original on 10 April 2022. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  7. ^ Ball, Tom. "Russia's vision for renaming Ukraine includes executing rebels". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  8. ^ a b Samantha, Lock; Clayton, Abené; Oladipo, Gloria; Chao-Fong, Léonie; Belam, Martin (5 April 2022). "Zelenskiy says more than 300 people killed and tortured in Bucha – as it happened". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  9. ^ a b c Котубей, Олеся (4 April 2022). "На державному російському сайті вийшла стаття "Що Росія має зробити з Україною"". Суспільне | Новини (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  10. ^ a b "Article 'What Russia should do with Ukraine' is evidence for future tribunal - Zelensky". Interfax-Ukraine. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  11. ^ a b "В ОП напомнили России о международных судах из-за статьи о "перевоспитании" украинцев" [The Presidential Office reminded Russia of international courts because of the article on the "re-education" of Ukrainians]. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian).
  12. ^ a b c d e "Russian state media: 'Ukronazism' greater threat to world than Hitler". The Jerusalem Post.
  13. ^ a b c "Russia's war against Ukraine Daily updates as Moscow's full-scale invasion enters its second month". Meduza.
  14. ^ a b NACHRICHTEN, n-tv. "Russische Nachrichtenagentur ruft zum Völkermord auf" [Russian news agency calls for genocide]. n-tv.de (in German).
  15. ^ "Killings in Ukraine amount to genocide, Holocaust expert says". The Independent. 4 April 2022.
  16. ^ "The Shocking Inspiration for Putin's Atrocities in Ukraine". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  17. ^ a b "Державне інформагентство РФ опублікувало текст з обґрунтуванням геноциду в Україні". LB.ua. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  18. ^ "Биография Тимофей Сергейцева. Политолог Тимофей Сергейцев. Тимофей Сергейцев биография - Свободная Пресса". svpressa.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  19. ^ "Тимофей Сергейцев. Биография" [Timofey Sergeytsev. Biography]. Peoples.ru (in Russian).
  20. ^ "Тимофей Сергейцев". ЛитРес (in Russian). Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  21. ^ a b c "Who Is the Author of Russia's 'Blueprint for Genocide' Essay?". The Moscow Times. 7 April 2022.
  22. ^ "KinoKultura".
  23. ^ Body, Some (4 April 2022). "Колумнист РИА "Новости" призвал к "деукраинизации" и репрессиям против украинцев. В соцсетях статью посчитали нацистской — Интернет на TJ". TJ. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  24. ^ "Заборонити слово Україна та репресувати ціле покоління – розкрито плани кремлівських нацистів, які здивували б Гітлера" [Banning the word Ukraine and repressing an entire generation - plans of Kremlin Nazis to surprise Hitler]. www.segodnya.ua (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  25. ^ Rukomeda, Roman (6 April 2022). "'The whole world can observe the clash of civilization and anticivilization'". www.euractiv.com.
  26. ^ a b "'Genocide masterplan': Experts alarmed after Kremlin intellectual calls for 'cleansed' Ukraine". news.yahoo.com.
  27. ^ a b "Wie soll der Krieg in der Ukraine enden? Dieser russische Text lässt Böses erahnen" [How should the war in Ukraine end? This Russian text foreshadows evil]. watson.ch (in Swiss German).
  28. ^ "Medvedev escalates anti-Ukrainian rhetoric". OSW Centre for Eastern Studies. 5 April 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  29. ^ "Патрушев: Запад создал империю лжи, предполагающую уничтожение России". 26 April 2022.
  30. ^ "Zelenskyy on RIA Novosti article: One piece of evidence for a future tribunal". Ukrayinska Pravda. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  31. ^ Цензор.НЕТ. "Звичайний фашизм, - глава МЗС Латвії щодо статті "Що Росія має зробити з Україною"" [Ordinary fascism - Latvian Foreign Minister on the article "What Russia should do with Ukraine"]. Цензор.НЕТ (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  32. ^ a b "War in a World that Stands for Nothing | by Slavoj Žižek". 18 April 2022.
  33. ^ Лебедева, Ольга (8 April 2022). "Немецкий депутат подал иск на автора статьи о денацификации Украины в РИА "Новости"" [A German MP filed a lawsuit against the author of an article about the denazification of Ukraine in RIA Novosti]. Deutsche Welle (in Russian).
  34. ^ "Ukraine presses charges against author of Russia's manifesto calling for genocide of Ukrainians". Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  35. ^ "IBA and IBAHRI strongly condemn the illegal 'trial' and sentencing to death of Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Brahim Saaudun". www.ibanet.org. Retrieved 16 June 2022.
  36. ^ "Ukraine: Russia-backed separatists lift death penalty moratorium". www.aljazeera.com.
  37. ^ "Venäjän propaganda viestii kansanmurhaa - "huolestuttavaa, kammottavaa"" [Russian propaganda signals genocide - "worrying, creepy"]. Verkkouutiset (in Finnish). 4 April 2022. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  38. ^ Snyder, Timothy [@TimothyDSnyder] (5 April 2022). "An article in the official state Russian news agency RIA Novosti..." (Tweet) – via Twitter. An article in the official state Russian news agency RIA Novosti advocates the elimination of the Ukrainian people as such. The text is so despicable that I’m not going to link to it. Will write about it later.

External links

  • 'A chance for revenge': The rise and fall of ‘methodology,’ the school of thought that produced the idea of the 'Russian world' - article by Meduza with short biography of Sergeytsev
  • Sergeytsev, Timofey (3 April 2022). "Что Россия должна сделать с Украиной" [What Russia should do with Ukraine]. RIA Novosti (in Russian). Rossiya Segodnya. Archived from the original on 3 April 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
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