EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell commented on the comparison made by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a January 18 news conference of the policy pursued by the United States and its allies towards Russia to Adolf Hitler’s actions. The EU foreign policy chief’s remarks sound hypocritical especially in view of his racist statements about the world being divided into a “garden” inhabited by a billion citizens of the EU and the US, and the “jungle” threatening to invade it, as well as given the EU’s open support of the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev. Since 2014, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and nationalist battalions have been shelling with impunity the cities of Donbass, the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions of Russia, killing civilians, including children. Meanwhile, the EU is providing training for Ukrainian militants and is about to deliver even more weapons and military hardware which will continue to be used to kill civilians. The EU says there are no parallels yet they close their eyes to the swastikas on Ukrainian armed forces shoulder straps, Nazi flags and the very symbols with which the Europeans savagely invaded our land over 80 years ago.
We also note that the Russian Foreign Ministry has been flooded with messages from citizens and Jewish NGOs, including the official statement by the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, who are baffled by Ariel Muzicant, the President of the European Jewish Congress, calling on Sergey Lavrov to apologise, especially since Ariel Muzicant is not authorised to make official comments on behalf of all Jews in European countries.
This is yet another instance of certain organisations trying to pit different nations and peoples against each other. We have to remind them that it was our people that over 80 years ago stood up for the defence of humankind against the Nazi plague, misanthropy, Nazism and aggressive imperialist militarism without dividing the world into ethnicities. While the Nazis were exterminating Slavs, Jews, Roma and other ethnicities together in gas chambers, our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers were fighting against the Wehrmacht and liberating concentration camp prisoners. It is their memory that we hold sacred and will continue to cherish for centuries to come. We must also remember that January 27 is marked each year as the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust as an acknowledgment of the efforts by the Red Army troops who on that day in 1944 liberated the prisoners of the Oswiecim (Auschwitz-Birkenau) Nazi concentration camp. Meanwhile, in the late 20th – early 21st century we encountered a desire to discredit our country’s role in the fight against Nazism and neo-Nazism, outright Russophobia and calls to “cancel” Russia. Any attempts to exonerate Nazism and racist practices must be resolutely pushed back. This is what should unite nations rather than divide them.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews were fighting in the ranks of the Red Army as well as in the armies of the other members of the anti-Hitler coalition. During the Great Patriotic War, about 501,000 Jewish servicemen were enlisted in the army. Many of them volunteered to go to the frontline. There were 305 ethnic Jews among the Red Army generals and admirals. The highest state award, the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union, was granted to 131 Jews during that war; 45 of them received it posthumously. Russia’s 217 natives hold the title of the Righteous Among the Nations, which is conferred on non-Jews who, by risking their lives, saved Jews during the Nazi occupation of Europe and the Holocaust. Their number also includes Red Army soldiers. It was the people of the USSR that suffered the most casualties among the participants of the anti-Hitler coalition. They remember very well, and not superficially, the crimes committed against our country’s citizens, including the horrific crimes of the Holocaust. The so-called Western “democratic coalition” of today ignores the current Kiev regime’s glorification of the crimes committed in Lvov, Baby Yar and Khatyn; they turn a blind eye to the Nazi slogans, insignia and SS-Division names used at the state level and by the Ukrainian armed forces units – this is what distorting the memory of the Holocaust and victims of Nazism looks like. Just as the numerous unpunished crimes against Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine and statements by Ukrainian politicians that killing as many Russians as possible is the purpose of their struggle and existence.
We would like to ask where organisations like the European Jewish Congress were when monuments to liberator soldiers were demolished in Europe; when Nazis were marching in European capitals bearing anti-Semitic symbols and chanting anti-Semitic slogans; and when the Europeans tried to undermine our resolution at the UN on fighting the glorification of Nazism?
It is never too late to acknowledge one’s mistakes and make the right moral choice. Therefore, we call on Europe to raise its voice to fight anti-Semitism, Russophobia and other instances of discrimination policies against certain nationalities and ethnicities.