The evidence of atrocity and of intent mounts
Truly disturbing. Snyder is well qualified in the area of genocides in central Europe so when he says he is unable to find precedent for this kind of publication by a state actor, it resonates. Likewise he has in previous works documented how the worlds worst atrocities in Central Europe took place within a geographic region that was rendered stateless by virtue of first the Russian occupation followed by the Nazis. Innocent people are trapped inside a black hole of evil. I am coming to the view that one way or another the Russian State needs to be confronted by a greater force and this cannot be left to the heroic efforts of a people who are likely to be defeated in the end.
After reading the "handbook", I feel beyond disturbed. This can't be left in the nether regions of the internet. It has to be front page, letter to the editor, whatever means necessary to inform.
The publication of the 'genocide' handbook', an inconceivable act of 21st c barbarity, is sufficient evidence to bring charges of 'crimes against humanity' against Putin and his cabal of monsters.
I hope others are reading "the handbook". Tragically LePen is within striking distance of Macron (no matter how you feel about him) which means there is extreme danger where the French election is concerned. I was listening to a podcast with Dr. Snyder yesterday with an MSNBC reporter/commentator, and he described the situation we are enduring like being inside a hall of mirrors, where no one can be sure of what they are seeing or who is doing the projecting. We must all keep our eyes on the truth of the current situation and the times. I do that best by doing the necessary reading of Dr. Snyder's books among other books and authors he has recommended. Then at least I have a context with which to understand if I'm getting a news report that appears to be less than truthful or complete. I have always considered myself if not a pacifist at least someone seeking a just peace. But in this situation when one party is willing to kill and destroy an entire population and their nation, there is no real way to negotiate. I wonder when NATO will realize that the leadership of the Baltic nations are correct in their assessments of Putin and that to think the current war can be kept within the borders of Ukraine produces a false sense of security. While the Russians are "regrouping" for more destruction there should be an attempt to attack their war machine and supply lines. I hope the sanctions eventually cause the war machine to grind to a halt, but the danger is that Putin's war will go on far too long. If Putin can figure it out, he'll hit a NATO base. He wants a wider war because it makes him more of a "hero". And he's looking for a victory to "celebrate" May 9. No one should want him able to celebrate that date ever again, given that Stalin and HItler signed a non-aggression pact which caused untold agony for millions. Fortunately at the time Finland defeated the Russian invaders.
After overcoming my horror, I shared this with the president, my congressional representative, and my state's senators. Everyone please do the same.
As an international lawyer who cut my teeth on the atrocities committed in the Balkans and the Rwandan genocide and the criminal tribunals created to address them, I concur with every word of Prof Snyder's analysis. I read both RIA pieces and my first thought for both was "genocidal intent". These pieces will be introduced in courts of law - hopefully sooner rather than later - but in the meantime should serve to remove any hesitation policy makers still have to engage in countering Russia's war with meaningful action.
As a retired diplomat and analyst of language use in political discourse, I also share Prof Snyder's concern about Russia's weaponization of language to create space for fascist ideology. We see this daily here in North America, too, where words like "freedom" and "patriotism" have come to be imbued with meanings that, when their use is analyzed, turn out to be the polar opposite: the first move of a successful propaganda operation is to deprive your opponents of the words they need to oppose you.
How can Putin's Russia remain in the UN Security Council? Kick their regime out. Stop buying their oil and gas. Seized and frozen Russian assets should be funneled into a reparations account for the Ukrainian people.
Professor Snyder: are you able to offer an opinion as to what proportion of Russians believe (live within) the mytho-history that underlies this document? Not the immediate propaganda of the invasion of Ukraine, but the myth. Not sure this matters, but feels significant.
The entire handbook is an obscene perversion of language (I read the English translation Snyder links to), but one passage stands out for me in particular: Sergeytsev declares that "War criminals and active Nazis must be punished in such a way as to provide an example and a demonstration. A total lustration must be conducted."
The word "lustration" is what demands my attention.
I assume it's the translation of "lustratsiya", which I was introduced to by Masha Gessen in her book The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. As Gessen explains, the term arose in the ealry-90s "in former Eastern Bloc countries to denote the process of banning former Party and secret police operatives from holding public office" (3).
Here Sergeytsev inverts the meaning of the word. Instead of a process of inoculating a political system from the return to power of thugs and murderers, in this latest form of NovyySpeak "lustration" now is held to mean the elimination of those who oppose a genocidal assault. Moreover, he extends the application of this now-tortured-beyond-recognition meaning:
"However, besides the highest ranks, a significant number of common people are also guilty of being passive Nazis and Nazi accomplices. They supported the Nazi authorities and pandered to them. A just punishment for this part of the population can only be possible through bearing the inevitable hardships of a just war against the Nazi system, waged as carefully and sparingly as possible relates civilians [sic, indicated both for grammatical error and for the notion that Russia's not deliberately intending to inflict maximal pain and suffering on civilians]. The further denazification of this bulk of the population will take the form of re-education through ideological repressions (suppression) of Nazi paradigms and a harsh censorship not only in the political sphere but also in the spheres of culture and education."
For Sergeytsev, "lustration" now mandates the decapitation of Ukraine's ruling sectors, the "just punishment" of huge sectors of the civilian population, and the obliteration of any cultural or educational elements inconsistent with the fascist Russification of Ukrainian life. In sum, the grotesque application of this word demonstrates how thoroughly public Russian is driven by anti-democratic, anti-pluralistic concepts and priorities.
Whatever we meant by "Never Again" - now would be a great time to start acting on those intentions.
Prof. Snyder, have you translated this valuable post itself into Russian?
Ty Prof Snyder for posting this document...having read every word, my fear is this is the roadmap for putin, et al. to destroy, obliterate decimate and nullify any and all things Ukrainian.....what can be the response of the west?
That is why I find it so shameful that Germany refuses to supply heavy weapons. Germany has come to terms with its own nazi-crimes but unfortunately has not understood the international policies that made them possible in the first place. At the latest after this text, they should provide Ukraine with everything it can defend itself with against genocide.
Prof. Snyder, what is you take on appropriation of the idea of decolonisation in this text? The text argues Ukraine is a colony of the West and is decolonised now by Russia. I heard a similar trope from a Chinese historian arguing that China is decolonising the countries it draws into the Belt and Road pact. It is remarkable, I think, that Russia and China not only see us as power bloc abusing its power but see themselves as liberators. Given the many laws that limit speech and rights of minorities in both countries, the dissonance is starking. I think the appropriation of the avant-garde concept decolonisation in the text tries to wrestle the application of a moral category from the hands of historians.
Thank you for writing about this -- I can't understand why it hasn't been getting broader media coverage. My colleague at the City University of New York, Susan Smith-Peter, has also been working on drawing more attention to it: https://twitter.com/SSmithPeter1/status/1511398561572966400?cxt=HHwWgMC-if2-yPkpAAAA
This move by Russia moves the final resolution of the tragedy of Bloodlands another generation into the future.