One of the ways the Putin regime has waged a propaganda war over Ukraine is by branding the pro-Western leadership in Ukraine as “fascist,” while deflecting attention away from its own fascist qualities and history. On the Internet, an army of paid, pro-Putin “trolls” (see Putin’s Trolls, 4 Nov. 2014, in the Journal section of this site) seems ever-ready on popular news or opinion websites to attack critics of Russia, charging the West (led by America) with supporting a “fascist” or “neo-Nazi” regime in Ukraine.
In reality, Russia’s unilateral armed annexation and terrorist-separatist war in Ukraine under the banners of ethno-national unity and past imperial glory (see Novorossiya: Phase 2 in the Journal section of this site) are the genuinely fascist policy, not Ukraine’s defensive war. Putin and his allies point to elements among Ukraine’s political elite who identify with anti-Soviet Ukrainian nationalists in history as evidence that the Ukrainian government is somehow “fascist” or “neo-Nazi.”
During World War Two, anti-Soviet Ukrainian nationalists such as Stepan Bandera sided with Nazi Germany against Stalin’s Soviet Union in western Ukraine, mistakenly believing that the Third Reich would secure independent statehood for them. They were not alone in their delusion. Before the Nazi Holocaust was known to the world (almost at the end of the war), the squalor, famine, labor camps and political terror of Stalin’s Soviet Union had been familiar to the inhabitants of Central and Eastern Europe. Death camps such as Auschwitz and Sobibor were barely imagined by most people, and those held captive by Stalin’s prison of nations often saw the German Wehrmacht as a potential means to the goal of national sovereignty and liberation.
But Russians were no exception, and for today’s Russian regime to pretend otherwise is one of the great lies being perpetrated on the world stage today. Less publicized today are intrinsically Russian forces which also sided with Hitler during WWII, and openly fought and operated under the banner of German fascism. These included the 1st and 2nd SS Cossack Calvary Divisions, ultimately united to form the XV SS Cossack Cavalry Corps, which was larger and more numerous than the hapless SS Galicia Division or anything that appeared in western Ukraine. These pro-Nazi Russians, despite having a legacy that includes followers in today’s conflict in southeastern Ukraine, somehow go unnoticed by Putin-admirers worldwide, a motley collection of conspiratorial leftists, bitter Western rightists and anti-Western Slavic chauvinists.
The Russian “Don Cossacks” have repeatedly sided with militant-nationalist, fascist-imperialist and anti-Semitic forces over the last hundred years. They continue to do so today. In fact, “Cossack” Russian units have become a kind of “gendarmerie” in the occupied territories of eastern Ukraine, and Russian fascist political movements in other parts of Russia complement them in increasing and alarming numbers.
Below is a transcript in English of a Russian-language video published in December 2014 about the Russian Don Cossacks from 1919-2014, below which is the video itself. If possible, the video should be viewed in conjunction with reading the English text, for those who do not understand Russian. It should dent the convictions of any Western observer who still maintains the line that the Ukrainian government and its armed forces are in some meaningful sense “fascist” or “nazi” in comparison with the regime in Moscow…
The Don Cossacks have acquired an aura of romanticism, honor and courage. But unfortunately, in reality this magic is confined to the pages of the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” [a serialized novel written from 1928-40 by Mikhail Shokholov, and repeatedly adapted for film and television – Ed.]. In reality, the Don Cossacks represent one of the most shameful pages of Russian history. In light of Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, the last hundred years in the history of mercenary Russian Don Cossack troops are particularly illustrative. Ironically, the history is closely linked to the Ukrainian city of Luhansk, now temporarily occupied by the Russians.
The first military invasion of the Luhansk region by Cossacks occurred in 1919, when the city’s defenses were broken, bringing death and terror at the hands of the Cossack punitive battalions of Denikin’s army. The Don Cossacks at that time strove with tremendous brutality to drown Luhansk in blood. The citizenry fought hard. These events were so tragic that, in their honor, a “Defense Street” appeared in Lugansk, and near it a “Sharp Grave” as a monument to the Luhanskan heroes who fell at the hands of Russian Cossack murderers.
The second invasion of Luhansk by the Don Cossacks was in 1942, when the valiant Russian Cossacks fought in the Waffen SS. Two Cossack squadrons were stationed in Luhansk under a German commandant. Another two hundred Don Cossacks were based in Krasnodon under fascist banners, hunting down members of the “Young Guard.” The Don Cossacks in Luhansk were Nazi policemen, gladly carrying out punitive atrocities, torturing and shooting the native people of Luhansk. In total, tens of thousands of Don Cossacks fought as part of the German fascist military units – entire regiments, divisions, and even corps. As a whole – and this is not advertised – the number of Russians who fought for the glory of the Greater Reich was up to a million people. It was for Faith, Tsar and Fatherland… but with a fascist swastika.
By the way, as to faith, the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate officially blessed the Führer – Adolf Hitler – and called upon Russians to fight on the side of Nazi Germany. It is worth recalling that at this time, the Moscow Patriarchate continues its “benevolent” tradition, and today blesses Führer Putin’s war in Ukraine.
And this is the Don Cossacks’ third invasion of Luhansk: 2014. A horde of infantile men with whips from sex shops – stinking of smoke, garlic and wine – has invaded the southeastern Donbas. It began in February 2014, with these red-faced warriors forming so-called “People’s Teams for the Protection of Order” in the regional center. The pro-Russian Luhansk district leadership initiated the creation of these bands.
That is, just as in 1942, Russian Cossacks have again become policemen in Luhansk. With serious faces and stripes on their clown-like breeches, they have defiled Luhansk. It is unnecessary to remind anyone of what happened next…
But if before – several years ago – the Don Cossacks were just costumed, folklore-ish fools with medals and fantastic titles… [e.g. ‘Marshal of Cossack Troops, Grand Duchess, and Supreme Ataman of the Russian Romanov Orthodox Cossacks’ being all one title – Ed.), today they are full-fledged, stupid fat-asses with machine guns and heavy artillery, controlling several small towns in Luhansk. Some mysterious, perverted force – for the third time in the last 100 years – is forcing the Don Cossacks to do the same thing they have done before: terrorize the Luhansk region and drown it in blood.
And are you itching to do something, dyadyas? [‘dyadya’ is a colloquial term used by Russian-speakers to refer to a stranger, an literally means ‘uncle.’ – Ed.] These infamous Ataman-Gritsian-Tavricheskys [Ataman Gritsian Tavrichesky was a character from a Soviet-era comic opera, ‘Wedding in Malinovka.’ – Ed.], the descendants of Nazi Cossack policemen, are totally drunk on Ukrainian vodka and are renaming villages after themselves.
And in Luhansk, the famous Lyceum of Foreign Languages has suddenly become the Pushkin Cossack Lyceum of Foreign Languages, with an emphasis on Orthodox Christianity. All this seems strange and incomprehensible, but only if one does not take a closer look at Russia itself, the country that gave birth to these inglorious bastards on the Don – the Great Don Army.
In Russia, they have a little prick-führer. No kidding. You do not even have to look for analogies with Hitler. Russia is a fascist country. The symbols of Russia – the tricolor and black-and-orange ribbon – represent the indelible glory of Nazi symbols. The cutting-edge belief system in Russia: Orthodox Christian fascism! It is strange that the Russians themselves don’t see what’s under their very noses, but rather prefer to discuss their neighbors.
Hey, Russian! Look closely into your own mirror! Well, what did you see? Did you see a fascist? If not, then just for you we’ll make a separate video…