Yesterday, Russian political scientist and member of the Russian legislative body Vyacheslav Nikonov said, “in reality, we embody the forces of good in the modern world because this clash is metaphysical…. We are on the side of good against the forces of absolute evil…. This is truly a holy war that we’re waging, and we have to win it and of course we will because our cause is just. We have no other choice. Our cause is not only just, our cause is righteous and victory will certainly be ours.”
The irony of this statement, coming as it does from the grandson of Vyacheslav Molotov, who was then second in command to Stalin, is profound. This is even more ironic considering Putin’s statements that the invasion of Ukraine was to “rid it of Nazis.”
One of the sayings used to justify the German wars of conquest and extermination going back prior to World War I was, “Gott mit uns.” This translates to, “God is with us.” And of course this was echoed and used by Hitler and his people in their destruction of Europe and the outright murder of millions. But the use of religious references for partisan politics and for war and conquest goes back even further in history.
Evidence continues to roll out of Ukraine pointing to war crimes and acts of genocide by Putin’s forces. Cities are being flattened. Citizens are being killed and left in the streets. Any brief contact with media reports paints this grim picture.
For Russia to portray itself on the side of “good” in this action is to position the people of Ukraine as the embodiment of evil. The viciousness of this lie cannot be minimized.
The scarier part of this, if there can be something scarier, is that there are leaders in other countries and even politicians in the U.S. who are demonstrably in agreement with Putin.
The fundamental facts of Putin’s invasion is that Ukraine has a democratic government. Russia, despite the trappings of things like a legislature and court system, is a dictatorship, an authoritarian government by any measure.
The use of “moral” justifications by this type of government has become traditional, it is part of their propaganda-dependent structure. And the use of “religion” in governmental justifications is part of that. And so it is in the U.S. at this moment. The very structure of our government and whether it will continue as a democracy is under attack by right wing religious extremists.
As Heather Cox Richardson wrote yesterday,
Putin cemented his rise to power in 2013 with antigay laws that supporters claimed defended conservative values against an assault of “genderless and fruitless so-called tolerance,” which “equals good and evil.” Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, an ally of Putin’s, has been open about his determination to replace the multiculturalism at the heart of democracy with Christian culture, stop the immigration that he believes undermines Hungarian culture, and reject “adaptable family models” for “the Christian family model.”
The American right has embraced this attack on our system. In October 2021, former vice president Mike Pence spoke in Budapest at a forum denouncing immigration and urging traditional social values, where he told the audience he hoped that the U.S. Supreme Court would soon outlaw abortion thanks to the three justices Trump put on the court. Next month, the American Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will be held in Budapest, Hungary; Orbán will be the keynote speaker.
As has been written many times on this site, white supremacy is just a longer spelling of Nazi. Even FOX News has reported that the Republican Party is the party of white supremacy.
One phrase from Nikonov’s speech is a grain of truth in it—the clash between the forces of good and absolute evil. The evils of Nazi history are well documented. As are the extermination of 30 million Russians under Stalin.
Now we see the invasion of a democratic state by forces brainwashed by the same rhetoric that devastated a continent. Yet as Americans we whistle past the graveyard with the idea that this “can’t happen here.”
That belief will be our undoing if we allow the now degenerate Republican Party to forward its plans. Already 19 Republican-led states have restricted voting. These same states are trying to wipe out history lessons of white supremacy and education of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the 14th Amendment.
Republicans are going all out to turn this country into a one-party government and that is the final stepping stone to dictatorship.
If this sounds like a call to arms for every voter to oppose this trend on November 8th, step to the head of the class.