How is Putin’s “denazification” of Ukraine working out? On Tuesday, the Russian despot carried on the work of Hitler by bombing the memorial site of Babi Yar, where 80 years ago, Nazis massacred 33,000 Ukrainian Jews. On September 29-30, 1941, Nazis carried out the massive slaughter of this same land. Now it’s the Russian invaders, under the laughable guise of ridding the country of latter-day fascists that even they cannot possibly believe, who are murdering innocents.
Russian dictionaries need to reword their definition of “denazification.” Perhaps a new one does not mean replacing/killing democratic and Western-style leaders with Kremlin puppets. That would be an excellent start.
Just for clarity, the TV tower at the site was built under Soviet rule before the Holocaust memorial, the first memorial erected in Ukraine after Freedom lovers booted out Putin’s ideological ancestors. And now they are back, under a new heading but employing some of the same atrocities as previous occupiers.
No, Putin’s forces have not carried out the systematic massacre of a particular ethnic group as the Nazis did. But like the Soviets, these invaders are there to occupy, either in person or by proxy and they show scant concern over the loss of innocent lives.
Ukraine is a country that cherishes its history and has a sizable Jewish population and a Jewish president. The Babi Yar site is at a large ravine on the northern edge of the capital city of Kyiv, where a mass grave was filled with primarily Jewish victims starting in 1941. Soviet prisoners of war and Roma were also executed there and the Soviets’ accounts say as many as 100,000 perished at the site.
“This is beyond humanity,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said after the airstrike damaged the memorial. “They know nothing about our capital, about our history,” before adding, “Damn them.”
And again, someone should inform the Great Denazifier, Vladimir Putin, that Zelenskyy is not only Jewish but lost family members in the Holocaust.
Putin should know very well the dust he kicked up by launching strikes that hit Babi Yar. After all, Putin sees himself as an esteemed historian and in his imaginary world, Ukrainians and Russians are artificially separated by outsiders. In 2004, Putin engineered an ill-fated attempt to intervene politically in Ukraine and bringing the country back into the Russian (Soviet) sphere has been a lingering obsession ever since.
For Putin, the fall of the Iron Curtain is an event to regret. For Ukraine, it’s a curtain that needs to stay fallen.