With the current Russian takeover of Crimea and possible incursions into Ukraine, we’re reminded of another time. How did the Russians clean up their image to the point that those who don’t support them are called fascists? I recently had a discussion with companions who dismissed the entire crisis as unimportant because the Ukrainians were fascists. This label has stuck to the point that when you spoke Latvian in Latvia you could be called a fascist. That happened to many Latvians who returned in the 90’s and didn’t know Russian.
The smear campaign of the former satellite countries is almost complete. In the aftermath of the post WWll landscape when the horrors of the Nazi regime were revealed and the USSR was considered an ally, this was the way to categorize these countries and cover up the horrors of the war from the Russian side. Latvians (despite losing 1/3 of the population) were deemed fascists because they were trapped in the untenable situation caught between Russia and Germany. See Bloodlands by Timothy Synder . The much reviled Latvian legion was formed after the Nazi deportations yet the label stands.
There were no innocents in that war but there were certainly victims. Russians were not the heros not even to the Jewish populations it purported to protect. Many Jews were arrested in Siberia. Here is the letter the Jewish community in Ukraine sent to criticize Putin.
Siberia with its 30 million prisoners in 60 years, the mass graves discovered, the decimation of populations of many countries, the closed corrupt society of the USSR that destroyed any idealist dream of a communist society. Yet everyone but the Russians is labeled fascist.
Throughout we can feel sympathy for a country where the life expectancy is lower than most western countries and as we always say in these cases, the people deserve much better than their government.