Truly Chilling Holocaust Reminder: Russian Backed Eastern Ukraine Looks to Have Fascist Factions

Truly Chilling Holocaust Reminder: Russian Backed Eastern Ukraine Looks to Have Fascist Factions April 19, 2014

This is truly chilling stuff. The Second World War had some pretty terrible moments (a huge understatement), but the lead up to the Jewish Holocaust and how it was organised and delivered, especially with knowledge of the consequences as we now have, was spectacularly scary to the point where you think something like that would have no chance of ever happening again. Perhaps we too easily forget our history. With some bizarre irony (given the fascist history of the paper), the Daily Mail reports:

Jews have reportedly been told to register with pro-Russian forces in the east Ukrainian city of Donetsk or face deportation.

A pamphlet handed out in Donetsk orders ‘citizens of Jewish nationality’ over the age of 16 to pay $50 to register and be issued special passports ‘marking the confession of faith’.

The leaflets, a chilling echo of Nazi persecution, were handed out to Jews leaving a local synagogue by three men in ski masks holding the flag of the Russian Federation, Israeli media reports.

Jews living in the area of the self-declared ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ were ordered to register at a government building operated by pro-Russian forces or face the threat of deportation.

The letter/pamphlet which is mentioned reads as follows:

Independent Donetsk Republic, General Staff

‘Dear citizens of Jewish nationality:

‘Taking into consideration the fact that the leaders of Jewish community of Ukraine has supported banderovtsy’s Junta in Kiev, and have been hostile to Orthodox Donetsk Republic and its citizens, the General Staff of Donetsk People’s Republic has decreed the following:

‘All citizens of Jewish nationality who are older than 16 years-old that have been living within the territory of Sovereign Donetsk Republic should attend acting Commissioner for nationalities affairs in Donetsk Regional Government Department, office 514 for registration before 03 May 2014. The registration fees are 50 USD.

‘You should bring the amount of 50 USD for registration fees, passports for marking the confession of faith, documents showing family members, entitling documents for title to real property and transport facilities.

‘In case of attempts to avoid the registration, the subject persons’ citizenship will be revoked with their subsequent enforced deportation outside Donetsk Republic including the forfeiture of their property. ‘                

Your People’s Governor – Denis Pushilin

The international community must step in to challenge in as robust a way possible what is going on in Ukraine. There seems to be this bizarre situation whereby Russia is swinging from being an atheistic socialist totalitarian regime to a neo-fascist totalitarian regime in bed with the Russian orthodox church, a marriage of bigotry, anti-semitism and homophobia. From one shitstorm to another.

Sinister: A leaflet distributed in Donetsk, Ukraine calling for all Jews over 16 years old to 'register'. The leaflet also demanded the city's Jews supply a detailed list of all the property they own, or else have their citizenship revoked
The letter informing Jews of the need to register

The Mail continues:

Speaking in Geneva after top diplomats from the U.S., European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement on steps to de-escalate the situation, Secretary of State John Kerry denounced the leaflets.

‘In the year 2014, after all of the miles traveled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable; it’s grotesque,’ Kerry told reporters.

‘It is beyond unacceptable. And any of the people who engage in these kinds of activities, from whatever party or whatever ideology or whatever place they crawl out of, there is no place for that. ‘

And then later, detailing what the Jewish community of Ukraine thinks about Putin’s Russia:

In March, leaders of Ukraine’s Jewish communities published an open letter denouncing Russian anit-semitism and criticising Putin.

The Kiev-based Vaad of Ukraine is an umbrella group that says it supports ‘265 Jewish organizations from 94 cities of Ukraine’.

The letter, written in Russian and co-signed by 21 Jewish leaders — including the Vaad leadership, supports Ukrainian sovereignty ‘in the name of national minorities and Ukraine’s Jewish community.’

Putin has justified his military action by claiming that he is acting to protect Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population and claims that Ukraine’s new government is composed of ‘fascists and neo-Nazis’.

But the letter, claiming to represent Russian-speaking Jews, said: ‘Your certainty about the growth of anti-Semitism in Ukraine, which you expressed at your press conference, also does not correspond to the actual facts,’

‘Perhaps you got Ukraine confused with Russia, where Jewish organizations have noticed growth in anti-Semitic tendencies last year.’

You can’t help but feel that something ugly has brewed, and its potency is only going to get more threatening.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Peter

    I thought this
    report was discredited although there may be some basis in fact, although I do
    question the Daily Mails, credibility. Even so, accurate
    reporting on this situation is dismal. Case in point: the corporate MSM never
    say is that Ukraine’s present un-elected “government” gained power through a coup
    d’état. Also, they never report the
    makeup of this transitional government that includes a number of neo-Nazis, like
    the anti-Semitic Svoboda Party and Right Sektor in Cabinet including the Deputy Prime
    Minister Oleksandr Sych!

    surprising, though, because anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head throughout
    Europe. In fact, the neo-fascist, anti-Semitic parties, like France’s Front
    are poised to make gains in the upcoming EU elections. It’s
    like a flashback to the 20-30’s all that’s missing is a charismatic leader like
    a Hitler who used scapegoats, i.e. the Jews, to rise to power. Today, it’s Jews
    and Muslim immigrants. Unthinkable, but given the high unemployment rates and
    general malaise among the G-7s young that may happen yet. One think is for
    sure, democracy and capitalism, are in the cross-hairs worldwide.

    Perhaps I’m paranoid but I also think it’s possible
    this turmoil in eastern Ukraine, trumpeted by the media, might be a smokescreen
    for Ukraine’s provisional government to declare a state of emergency and
    suspend the scheduled elections next month. That, and inviting NATO to occupy
    the country to thwart Russian aggression thereby making Ukraine a fascist
    police state. I’m not excusing Putin but Russia
    has always feared outsiders trying invading their country. And the way the
    dominos are lining up NATO is systematically surrounding Mother Russia. As that
    Chinese curse says: “May you live in interesting times.” We are.

    • kraut2

      It could well be that some factions of the supporters of the pro Russian east Ukraine protesters are anti semites, but the western media has all the reasons to bring that to the fore to cover up the real fascists in the Ukraine – those who supported Hitler and are responsible for the killing of about 80 000 poles.
      It is also quite politically naive to equate antisemitism wirth fascism. Fascism often needs to work a scapegoat, the Jews in Europe came just handy because their long history of conflict with local populations. The real fascists in the Ukraine are in power in Kiev.

      Ukraine is just a football between the desire of NATO (read the USA) to surround Russia with non friendly Governments to eliminate Russia as an economic and politicalle player, a policy as developed by Zbigniev Brzezinski

      Read for a counter view to what so called journalism perpetrates in the west:

      I am amazed – or not really – how most folks in what is loosely called the skeptical community fall for what I consider US anti Russian propaganda. The US still has one goal in mind, never having abandoned it: The dream of American Empire as laid out in a white paper by the usual suspects:

      • In reality I am agnostic over the whole situation in that I do not know enough, but know enough not to trust the propaganda machines of both sides.

        When the “I am a Ukrainian” viral video ame out, I read and watched this blog/video which I found enlighening:

        • kraut2

          “but know enough not to trust the propaganda machines of both sides.”

          and that is why I linked to ATOL and Pepe Escobar and to M K Bhadrakumar.
          ATOL is a journalist run news outlet with no agenda – see the spread
          from left to right this outlet offers, especially on economical matters.

          Escobars correct analysis of both the lost cause of the Iraq
          war within a few weeks after the invasion and the return of the Taliban
          three years before it happened are among the best imo that journalism
          has to offer. Similar for the writings ex diplomat Bhadrakumar.

          The Saker is another matter, he without reservations stands behind Russia and is a relentless critic of the american empire. I enjoy his writings because they go against the grain of a western journalism that seems to tow the line of its various governments, be it the German Spiegel or anything that the USA or Britain has to offer, all really only up to one thing – bash Russia without any critical analysis of the doings of the Ukrainian people.
          They supported an undemocratic and fascist supported
          coup that brought predictably the situation as it is developing to the
          fore – as soon as Maidan was successful, the first critical voices among the ATOL writers foresaw the strong possibility of Russia protecting its military assets in Crimea and a political struggle between the western and eastern Ukraine to result eventually into civil war.

  • Luke Breuer

    Things like this just make me laugh at stuff like Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature and progress narratives (see Ideas of Progress#Myth of Progress). It’s not ‘progress’ when you get stuff like Rwandan Genocide#United States. I’m starting to understand why some atheists/skeptics so hate suffering: they are unable to learn from it. By “learn from it”, I mean gain the knowledge and will to prevent similar evils from recurring.

    • Andy_Schueler

      I know I promised to never engage you again but well, I´m weak, and this comment is so wicked that it deserves a response.
      1. Don´t pretend that you´ve read The Better Angels of Our Nature, this comment is a dead giveaway that you have not.
      2. It happens quite often that atheists and christian demonize each other in online discussions, but insinuating that one group lacks the will(!) to prevent atrocities like the Rwandan genocide is low, it goes beyond demonizing and straight into dehumanization, and you should be more than a little ashamed that you claimed this.
      3. Instead of the Rwandan genocide, lets take the war in Darfur. I remember that you claimed that you are 29, so you were around 19 years old when this:
      “Estimates of the number of human casualties
      range up to several hundred thousand dead, from either combat or
      starvation and disease. Mass displacements and coercive migrations
      forced millions into refugee camps or across the border, creating a humanitarian crisis. US Secretary of State Colin Powell, described the situation as either a genocide, or acts of genocide.
      Gérard Prunier,
      a scholar specializing in African conflicts, argued that the world’s
      most powerful countries have limited themselves to expressing concern
      and demand for the United Nations to take action. The UN, lacking
      funding and military support of the wealthy countries, initially left
      the African Union to deploy a token force without a mandate to protect

      happened. What did YOU do to prevent it? Given that you are not one of those subhuman atheists that lack your christian compassion for the victims of war crimes, your knowledge and your will to prevent atrocities like this, I´m sure you worked very hard but still ultimately failed to prevent this atrocity – so what did YOU do to prevent it?

      • Luke Breuer

        1. You’re very correct that I haven’t read his book. I have, however, watched a TED talk by Pinker in which he claims that violence has decreased on a fractal scale, over millennia, centuries, and decades. You may replace my reference to his book, to a reference to the TED talk. I assumed that the book was an expounding of the TED talk, but I see that this is incorrect.

        I would be curious to hear your thoughts on whether the world is truly progressing, in a holistic sense. I don’t think iPhones count, and the rise of superbugs threatens the medical achievements we’ve made. Russia appears to be regressing. Consumerism seems like a pretty shitty form of human thriving. Education gaps between rich and poor in the US and UK are increasing. Wealth disparity in the US is increasing. My impression from Stephen Pinker is that he fully buys into the idea that we are progressing, from a holistic perspective. Is this a wrong impression?

        2. You are probably correct; my criticism was really targeted at all of Western civilization. The reason I singled out atheists/skeptics is that quite a few I have come across don’t seem to see a purpose to suffering, while I do. The purpose is, among other things: do the things to make it happen less often. Western civilization isn’t getting the message. I believe that humans are designed such that we can choose to let suffering properly motivate us to reduce it. It’s really not clear to me what atheists and skeptics think in this realm. The many complaints about gratuitous suffering indicate that they cannot learn from those instances of suffering. I believe that as long as they cannot learn from them, those instances will continue if not multiply. The signal will increase until we finally admit that it is there and can be reduced. An example of this is CoSA, which I learned about via Randal Rauser’s Can pedophiles be saved? A conversation with Scott Drennan. CoSA has demonstrated the ability to reduce recidivism of sexual offenders by 70%.

        3. I have, and continue to, attempt to discover what is true. For example, what model of human nature properly predicts the results of experiments like the Milgram experiment, Stanford prison experiment, and The Third Wave? Merely sending foreign aid to countries tends not to work due to incredible amounts of corruption. How do we apply pressures on nations to be less corrupt and extend more justice, creating the kind of environment such that human thriving can actually be promoted for all? Not very many people seem to be answering such questions. A sufficiently accurate model of human nature is absolutely crucial to any such answers.

        One of my lifetime goals is to create something like C.G.P. Grey’s Digital Aristotle, in order to make it much easier for anyone anywhere to learn. This would hopefully empower people everywhere, along the lines of Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. Was I working on this ten years ago? Not so intentionally, although I did start an “Electronics Club” at Caltech, with one of the goals being to create a more theoretically rigorous version of Arduino. I even convinced a professor to raise $25,000 for it, but unfortunately no other students were sufficiently interested in the idea. Anyhow, creating a “Digital Aristotle” turns out to be an extremely taxing task.

        • Andy_Schueler

          1. The subject of the book is indeed the same as the TED talk. And your amusement is based on a failure of logic. Pinker´s book is chock full of empirical evidence that does support his claim and you can name any number of recent atrocities you like, you are completely missing the point unless you can show that either the data he refers to and / or the statistical analyses of the data are so flawed, that the trends and conclusions Pinker presents do not actually follow.
          2. “The many complaints about gratuitous suffering indicate that they cannot learn from those instances of suffering.”
          – Completely false. At least for every single discussion about gratuitous suffering that you were part of and that I participated in or followed. What always happened is that your interlocutors referred to NATURAL evils like plagues, developmental disorders, earthquakes, tsunamis and such, and you tried to avoid dealing with this issue by derailing the discussion and making it all about suffering that humans caused and / or could have prevented. Try to deal with the problems that natural evil poses for theistic worldviews or don´t, your choice – but don´t change the subject, burn down strawmen, and then accuse your interlocutors of being unable to learn.
          3. So you didn´t actually do anything to prevent it or prevent similar events from ever occuring but rather try to understand what could be done. Cool. Good luck with that and welcome to the club.

          • Luke Breuer

            1. It all depends on how you define the most holistic sense of ‘progress’. Statistics are meaningless without interpretation. Some interpretations are shit.

            2. I consider failure to learn from human moral evils (and then behave differently) to cast considerable doubt on the analysis of natural evils. You likely disagree, so this is probably an impasse.

            3. If you want to change the world, you ought to understand it, first. Action without sufficient understanding undermines credibility and threatens to cause more harm than good. If you don’t think that making it easier for anyone to learn things anywhere extremely inexpensively would help prevent atrocities, I don’t know what you think would.

          • Andy_Schueler

            1. In this book, he is not interested in a “holistic sense of progress”, he doesn´t even try to address the question of whether the trend of decreasing violence covaries with an increase of different individual and societal ills. I personally strongly doubt that a holistic sense of progress could even be meaningfully defined – you would need some way of quantitatively comparing different issues related to progress and that makes no sense. We can put numbers on violence and study trends, we can do the same with, say, corruption, we can also study if those things covary, but combining this into one model and asking “holistic” questions like “violence has increased by 31.9% but corruption has decreased by 22.4%, is this a net progress?” is GIGO.
            But this is all completely irrelevant for Pinker´s book. He deals with violence and he did his homework, if you want to criticize his methodology, knock yourself out, but criticizing him for failing to present a “holistic” model of progress, something that he wasn´t even interested in to begin with, is simply ridiculous.
            2. I´ll grant you for the sake of the argument that no one anywhere in the entire history of humankind ever learned anything whatsoever from suffering due to human action. Now, when you claim that this cast doubts on whether, say, anencephaly is a cause of gratuitous suffering, we don´t reach an impasse – you reach a non sequitur.
            3. You didn´t do anything to prevent atrocities like the Rwandan genocide from occuring again and you, so far, also didn´t do anything to help “anyone to learn things anywhere extremely inexpensively” you plan to do that, and don´t get me wrong, that is a noble cause and if that´s what you want to do, I wish you good luck with that.
            And the only reason for why I point this out is that you are quite full of yourself here – when you challenge others for things like failing to prevent the Rwandan genocide, and don´t include yourself in the group of people you criticize, then you insinuate that you actually did something (or would have done something), you tried (but failed) to prevent it, you have the will to actually do something about this. Well, you didn´t and you don´t. You try to figure out what could be done to prevent things like this, which is a noble cause, but don´t fool yourself into believing that this makes you special – we´d like to know what could be done about it as well.

          • Luke Breuer

            1. I stand corrected. I had a conversation with my brother-in-law who used Pinker’s work as a stand-in for holistic progress; perhaps I was drawing that into the conversation.

            2. I believe there is such a thing as “competence to judge morality”, as well as “incompetence to judge morality”. How does one gain competence? By practice and empirical testing.

            3. You are welcome to claim that I insinuated whatever you want to claim I insinuated. You have a horrible track record of such claims, and thus this tangent dies here. You [obviously] may have the last word.

          • Andy_Schueler

            2. So you are claiming that someone who would claim that anencephaly causes gratuitous suffering is incompetent at making moral judgments and would change his mind about this as he becomes more competent at making moral judgments. Since you are talking about moral judgments, you are challenging the “suffering / evil” part and not the “gratuitous” part. So, you are quite literally saying that to call anencephaly an “evil” is essentially a sign of incompetence at making moral judgments. Well, technically that could be true. It is however about as convincing as saying that Hitler was actually the most noble and self-sacrificing man that ever lived and he just doesn´t appear to be that in your view because you are incompetent at making moral judgments.
            3. “I’m starting to understand why some atheists/skeptics so hate suffering: they are unable to learn from it. By “learn from it”, I mean gain the knowledge and will to prevent similar evils from recurring.”
            Words mean things. And “they” is not synonymous to “they and I”. Unless you opt for the Humpty Dumpty approach to language.

      • Void Walker

        “I know I promised to never engage you again but well, I´m weak, and this comment is so wicked that it deserves a response.”

        Dude, I shit you not. When I saw that you had engaged Luke again I sobbed like a child. It’s so damn fun watching the two of you :) (Okay, so I didn’t exactly sob)