I do swear this is my last post on Auschwitz this year. But the followup to Putin’s disinvitation is too juicy to resist writing about.
Following in the Polish footsteps, Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatsenyuk has literally claimed that it was the Ukrainians, in particular soldiers from Zhytomyr and Lvov, who liberated Auschwitz. Here is a translation, with my own highlights:
“Today is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 70 years ago, fighters from Zhytomyr and Lvov, as part of the First Ukrainian Front, liberated from the Nazis one of the most horrific camps, Auschwitz, where millions of our brothers-Jews were tortured,” Yatsenyuk said, emphasizing that it was an important history lesson.
He also expressed his sorrow for victims of the Holocaust – millions of Jews and Ukrainians, who “became victims of Nazism and Stalinism.”
“Once again, we note the valor of the Ukrainian soldiers who freed Auschwitz and fought against Nazism,” Yatsenyuk added.
Note that this comes only a few weeks after Yatsenyuk claimed that he “would not allow the Russians to go through Ukraine and Germany, as they did in World War II,” a historical perversion that is insulting not only towards Russians and the vast majority of Ukrainians outside the most nationalist/historically collaborationist far western provinces, but also to the German audience to whom he was so evidently (and unsuccessfully) trying to suck up to.
Truly cringeworthy stuff.
In response to these repeated Polish and Kiev regime antics, the Russian Defense Ministry unearthed archives with the precise ethnic composition of the 60th Army soldiers who liberated Auschwitz. Of its nearly 90,000 soldiers, there were 42,000 Russians, 38,000 Ukrainians, and numerous other nationalities. Overrepresented as they were on the Ukrainian Front, it must in these circumstances be emphasized that Ukrainians constituted neither a majority nor even a plurality amongst the liberators of Auschwitz.
|Ethnic composition of the 60th Army, liberators of Auschwitz|
|Kabardins and Balkars||31|
|Czechs and Slovaks||29|
|Chechens and Ingush||5|
Why does Yatsenyuk insist on pulling stunt after rhetorical stunt like this? Okay, sure, for a Ukrainian of the Maidanist persuasion, sticking it to Russia and Russians is explainable in today’s circumstances. But insodoing, he not only insults largely Russia-friendly third parties (e.g. Belorussians, Kazakhs, Jews outside the Beltway) but also millions of his citizens, not only in Crimea and the Donbass, but in Odessa, Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, and even Kiev. In a 2010 poll, the percentage of Ukrainians (87%) who consider Victory Day on May 9th as a celebration that belongs to everyone was only marginally lower than amongst Russians (91%). At a time when the Donbass is in open revolt, and widespread dissatisfaction wracks the big south-eastern industrial cities of putative Novorossiya – regions where the memory of the Great Patriotic War is hallowed – this cannot be considered in the least wise.
For a long time I have thought of Yatsenyuk as probably the most nationalistic and ideological of the big Maidan players. (Poroshenko is an oligarch and cofounder of the Party of Regions, and Tymoshenko’s primary concern has always been with her wallet; she became a billionaire as a Ukrainian bureaucrat). His mansion is very modest by high-ranking ex-Soviet politician standards. Then I stumbled across this treasure trove of his speeches from just two years ago, whose titles speak for themselves: “You can’t criticize Putin”; “The US dollar is just paper and a financial pyramid”; “Ukrainization was coercive”; “I have no ideology”; “I allow [the idea of] a confederation with Russia”; “Why isn’t NATO buying our airplanes?” So it’s evidently not “svidomy” ideological zealotry at play here either…
So I really don’t know. What do you think?
Putin visited a Jewish museum [AK: A museum that Putin had personally contributed to building] on the anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation and said: “Of course, the main burden was borne in the fight against fascism by the Russian people, 70% of the Red Army’s soldiers and officers – were Russians. And Russians constituted most of the victims on the altar of Victory.”
And they say that Putin isn’t an anti-Semite.
In his actual address, as opposed to Ioffe’s cherrypickings, Putin followed this up with an ode to the role of the Jewish people in World War II, noting that more than 500,000 of them fought in the Red Army and more than 40,000 as part of partisan units, that nearly every third of them went to the front as a volunteer, and that 200,000 died in battle.
However, so far as Julia Ioffe is concerned, talking about non-Jewish, and in particular Russian, contributions to the Allied victory is anti-Semitic.
Why should you pay attention to the deranged ramblings of this Sovok Jew, you might ask? Why, because soon, you’ll be seeing a lot more of her. Come this February, she is happy to announce that she will be joining the New York Times as a contributing writer.
A most formidable addition to its talent pool – feel free to send her your felicitations!