The beauty of childhood and the tragedy of war, and admirable resoluteness in the midst of great injustice, all in one photo. — MG,Jr.
Alexander Pademelon Johnson, of Sydney, Australia, made the “swords” graphic and pointed me to the following internet posting by a group of Polish leftists in the UK. (https://www.facebook.com/LewakiUK/)
LewakiUK: Stop talking about the Azov battalion
Just stop it.
Stop posting about it, stop FOCUSING on it.
YEEEEEEEESSSSS! there are neo-nazis in Ukraine. There are nazis across the entire Europe, not just Eastern Europe, including the UK, yet somehow NO ONE organises “sPeCiaL MiLitArY oPeRaTioNs to denazify and demilitarise” sovereign countries.
Were you against military interventions in Iraq? Yes? Afghanistan? Yes? Vietnam? Yeah, so we thought. Were all the people of those countries pure good? No. Were their governments unproblematic? Hell, no. Yet somehow in this case you’re all “omg look at these Azov guys… Hm… looks like these Ukrainians aren’t that innocent after all, huh. I don’t know man, there’s a lot of nazis there, these Russians kinda have a point”.
You are literally repeating Putin’s justification for this war. slow clap
And it comes from the left, of all places on the political spectrum.
It’s Ukraine now, but do you know what Poles and other Eastern Europeans think when we hear or read this from you?
We instantly think: WHAT IF IT WAS US? What if it IS us, next? What would our British FRIENDS do, if it was us.
What if Russia suddenly decided that (and humour us here!), Poland was violating human rights through anti-LGBT policies, anti-abortion bills, and the not letting Afghan refugees through the Polish-Belarusan border due to racism. ALL ARE 100% TRUE. All are wrong, and we know it. We’re literally the left, as in, we were activists against these policies in Poland, before we moved to the UK, or are still involved fighting against them. We know about our countries’ issues, and we know we need to sort ourselves out, but what if SOMEONE decided they’d do it for us, they’d come in with their military and de-…whatever us?
And here you’d be, digging out those articles on the web that happen to be TRUE, but in your hands they would serve nothing more than to further the success of the aggressor’s propaganda, and the implied between the lines argument that “we got what was coming to us”. Some friends, indeed. “Comrades”.
Do you know why it’s not us though? Why it’s not Poland, Latvia, Slovakia?
Because they joined NATO. They joined NATO to have protection from Russia.
Think of countries like Latvia. Less than 2 million people, a tiny military, and a large minority Russian population, some exclusively Russian-speaking, many Putin-supporting.
Latvia has over the years introduced a number of language laws, in retaliation for the Russians dominating public life pre-1989. Would that be a good enough argument for a “military operation”? Of course it would. But it won’t happen, because they’re in fecking NATO. So your “stop NATO expansion” spiels are falling on deaf ears in Eastern Europe, for reasons you need to either accept or not, but just stop talking.
But, back to the main point:
A week or two ago half of you didn’t know about the Azov Battalion, and you didn’t care, because it’s far, somewhere among these savages from the East. Now there’s mentions of some nazis so you “did your research”, and you’re sudeenly experts on Eastern Europe, westsplaining (thank you for that term, Zosia Brom from @Freedom News) our politics and mutual conflicts to us like we’re children.
So let us tell you this – you will never understand us, and how the experiences of multiple occupations shaped our societies, and how that historical experience is present in our everyday conversations, and in our system of values.
In our part of Europe, everyone has had beef with each other, and we are raised with that knowledge about each other. There are CENTURIES of beef between Poland and Ukraine, centuries of bloody and painful history. We put it all aside on day ONE of the Russian invasion.
You can bet your bottom pound that there are leftists, antifascists, completely apolitical people, and, yes – the nazis, fighting side by side in Ukraine right now, because for as long as this war goes on, the enemy is only ONE, and we can go on hating each other later.
Your comments come from one place, and one place only – never having been under Russian/Soviet occupation. Never living in what is essentially the shadow of Mordor.
Western imperialism, NATO imperialism – those are your main enemies, and we get it. We don’t like them either, but for our nations they are the lesser evil.
Our enemy is Russian imperialism, and on this front, Eastern European countries choose to stick with NATO, because what comes with Russian imperialism is more than extraction of natural resources and economy, but something much worse.
What comes is the russification of culture, the rewriting of history, the banning of books and their authors, the banning of Western media, access to information, limiting civil rights, it’s the comeback of the secret police, the massive propaganda machine, the end of independent media, the censorship of arts, the unexplained disappearances of dissenting individuals, the state repressions, politicising curriculum and indoctrinating children from primary school, the surveillance of the population, the infiltration of universities and workplaces.
Romanians get it, Georgians get it, Lithuanians get it, Poles get it because we have all LIVED THROUGH IT, some of us more than once. That’s why Ukrainians are arming themselves with whatever they can, and if they can’t have weapons, they will carry Molotovs, scythes and pickle jars. Because they know what’s at stake.
They didn’t choose this and they don’t want to face the enemy unarmed and helpless. Not everyone wants to fight, but plenty do, regardless of experience.
We feel for the men who wanted to cross the borders with their families, but were stopped from leaving, separated from their families, and given arms. Most of them have had mandatory military training, so during war they are army reserves. This is why you avoid armed conflict at all cost…
And to those of you that think, or sometimes even tell us point-blank that Ukraine should surrender because they can’t win anyway – wow, that wasn’t even as quick as we thought. Gosh darned it, you stuck by us for almost two weeks now until you decided Ukraine was worth sacrificing for the peace of mind of Western Europe.
We’ve even heard that Ukrainians should protest like Gandhi, maybe stand in front of tanks with flowers and shit. You’ve obviously never seen what pacification of peaceful protests by an army looks like. But some of us have.
Should Ukraine surrender? NO. Not ever. Fuck, no. As lefties, we oppose imperialism, and fascism, which is now what the Russian state is serving their citizens with their new propaganda.
Speaking of which, what DO they say about the war in Russia?
So glad you asked. Apart from the decent folks that are getting arrested by their thousands for opposing the war, despite there being a punishment of up to 15 years in prison for using the words “war”, “aggression, “invasion”, etc., you can hear the rest repeating the version of events peddled by the state:
a) „Today Z is a symbol of the liberation operation for Donbass and liberating Ukraine from their nazi regime, it’s a symbol of protecting the fatherland”- Bikers from Ivanovo
b) „We know what we are fighting for. So that there is no fascism, weapons, so that the Ukrainian nation can live in peace. We will help them. The events of the last few days are reminiscent of June 1941. Almost the entire Europe under Hitler’s flag attacked us back then. Now they have gathered under the flag of NATO and pushed Ukrainian nazis on Russia. The president could not wait for missiles and bombs to start falling on us. If diplomacy didn’t help,we had to start a surgical military operation. – Nikolai Kruchkin, director of the Saransk Museum.
c) „As our boys are fulfilling their mission of denazification of Ukraine, residents of Russia, including KuZBass [notice the “Z”], are encountering unprecedented economic and moral pressure from other countries, and a wave of disinformation about our special operation. The Z symbol is an expression of support for our troops and the unity of our society. – Sergei Civiliev, governor of Kemerovo
Quotes translated from a post on Tomasz Piechal – Szkice Wschodnie (https://www.facebook.com/Tomasz-Piechal-Szkice-Wschodnie-101241165856934/) Thank you for that btw
Wonderful, innit? But you see, we’re familiar with that, too. Because that’s all we had on TV when we were parts of the Soviet Union. There was no ”independent media”. There was no media at all, apart from state media. Right now, Russia is organising “humanitarian convoys” with food to the bombed Ukrainian cities. AND they are bringing film crews. But Ukrainians don’t take the food from them, so they bring actors who pose as ‘deeply thankful’ Ukrainians for TV propaganda.
Alright… let’s have some FAQs
Q: “Why did Putin attack Ukraine?”
A: to finish what he started when he took Crimea, and incorporate the “fake nation” of Ukraine into Russia, duh. For centuries, Russia suppressed the Ukrainian language and culture, and it’s what they are planning now. Putin’s talk about Russians and Ukrainians being ”one nation”, or about Ukraine “not being a real country” is just preparing ground for russification of Ukraine. Do you know that Ukraine used to be called Malorossiya? (Little Russia)?
During Putin’s rule, he and his supporters have long peddled the idea of “ruski mir” – “Russian world” – an ideology that says Russian civilisation extends to anywhere Russians live.
Do you see where this is going?
Get it now???
If not, read this article that the Russian “news” outlet RIA Novosti published by mistake, that was supposed to run AFTER Russia’s “obvious” victory over Ukraine. They promptly removed it, but not quickly enough. It had already been screencapped by multiple readers, and translated into English by a Pakistani newspaper (https://thefrontierpost.com/the-new-world-order/)
Q: Is Ukraine a nazi country?
A: If you think a right wing party with 1.5% support makes a country neo-nazi, then boy, do I have news for you about the rest of Europe.
Q: But don’t you care about the Ukrainian nationalists and the history of nazi collaboration???
A: Don’t YOU care about the Russian Wagner Group and the Z campaign?
But yes, we do care about Ukrainian nationalism, and sadly we know it very well.
Like we said, centuries of bloody beef between us. None of it matters now. But Ukrainian nationalists =/= Ukrainians.
And Ukraine has never been a threat to us, nor to the safety and independence of any other Eastern European countries, as opposed to You-Know-Who.
Q: Why are there so many Russians in Donbas?
A: Majority of the Russians in Donetsk and Luhansk were settled there when Ukraine was incorporated into the USSR, after Stalin-orchestrated Holodomor, the Great Famine, wiped out 4 million Ukrainians in the 1930s. Local population of Donbas was also decimated, so Russian settlers moved in. In 1991, in Ukraine’s independence referendum, most ethnic Russians in Donbas said ‘yes’ to living in free Ukraine, and for years, everything was peachy. What changed the moods? Mostly Yanukovych in 2010, but that part you should know from the news coverage.
And mind you, over 2 million ethnic Russians left Donetsk and Luhansk when separatists started taking over. What does that tell you?
Q: What do Ukrainians want?
A: They want to be left the fuck alone by Russia, and make their own choices. Those choices include joining NATO and the EU, as the second largest European country. You might dislike one or both, but it’s not you having to deal with Putin’s moods on a daily.
Q: “Isn’t fighting for the nation against leftist principles?”
A: Oh, that comment is so fucking rich coming from a country that had to fight for its independence exactly 0 times. Not aimed at you Scots, Irish, and Welsh btw. You know what we mean. fist bump
How the left wing in one of the most imperialist countries on this planet has the balls to tell us we shouldn’t resist imperialists by any means necessary is beyond us.
It’s not fighting for the nation, ya pricks. It’s fighting against being basically colonised. One would think that leftists should support it by default, kind of a low hanging fruit really… but what do we know.
Q:“Should leftists fight alongside the state army?”
A: Who the fuck cares NOW? That is such a first world problem question.
Q: “What do you say about the racism on the Polish and Ukrainian border?”
A: It’s HORRIFIC. We’re deeply ashamed, sad and angry about it. We don’t stand for any of this. Safe passage for everyone NOW! If you want to know what’s happening on the Polish-Ukrainian and the Polish-Belarusan border, please follow Grupa Granica on facebook – they are a collective project of 14 groups and orgs working with refugees in Poland, that is responding to the outrageous treatment of Afghan, Syrian and other BIPOC refugees by our government and Border Force.
Q: “Don’t you think there’s a double standard with the way how refugees from Ukraine are being treated compared to Syrians/Afghans?
A: Absolutely. We noticed it from day one, the bitter irony does not escape us. No one is asking why Ukrainians have smartphones, or nice looking clothes. People feel sorry for Ukrainian men who were forbidden from crossing the border, yet when Syrian men appeared they said they should have stayed in their country and fought. Baffling!
Q: “Was Holodomor real? Did Stalin actually starve Ukraine?”
A: Yes. Anyone who says otherwise will be banned from this page. No, it wasn’t “nazi propaganda”. Stalin’s soldiers went door to door and confiscated anything that would be edible enough to allow Ukrainians to survive the famine.
PS We take requests for informative posts. Some of us here are historians.
Q: “Should we arm Ukrainians?”
A: YES. Arm Ukraine. Arm Ukrainians. Arm the civilians who want to fight. Arm the volunteers.
UKRAINE CAN WIN THIS. But it needs support.
Even antifascist brigades are joining the Ukrainian resistance and you can’t see why because there’s some nazis there too.
You’re against volunteer legions, because defence is the job for the state.
Some of you suggested that Ukraine should surrender because they’ve been in the Soviet Union once, can’t be that bad.
And too many of you don’t understand why ordinary people are taking up arms in the first place.
Long story short, Western lefties… We’re kinda sick of you. You really eat up what you read on the Internet like Pelicans instead of talking to Eastern European comrades, of which you have plenty around you. And you don’t support us. You don’t support our unconditional right to freedom, and that is the most disappointing.
Our expectations were low, but holy fuck.
Enjoy that boot.
PS Слава Україні. смерт врогом.