“Reset buttons” mean different things to different world leaders. U.S. President Barack Obama’s reset button was meant to symbolize a return to better relations between the United States and Russia, which had soured after Russia invaded Georgia last August.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reset button, however, seems to mean a return to Russian domination over its neighbors and former republics of the Soviet Union, with the Crimean section of Ukraine being the latest victim.
In 1994, four world leaders — Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, John Major and Leonid Kuchma — signed the Budapest Memorandum, in which Ukraine voluntarily gave up the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal and the United States, Great Britain and Russia guaranteed Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Putin, however, has violated the Budapest Memorandum by annexing Crimea, part of Ukraine, after Ukraine’s population overthrew the pro-Russian government of Victor Yanukovich, former Ukrainian president and Putin puppet.
The Russian Federation inherited the Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal, as well as the Soviet science of agitprop and disinformation. The Soviet security service, KGB, has been reborn as the FSB. Today’s Russians wage the disinformation war as well as their Soviet predecessors.
It’s alarming to read letters to the editor in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel that include such phrases as “the uprising was sponsored by neo-Nazi nationalists” and “demonstrators were actually shot by snipers hired by these nationalists.” These are code words that attempt to delegitimize the ousting of Viktor Yanukovich, the corrupt Ukrainian president, and smear the protesters as anti-Semites. It’s quite obvious that Putin and his FSB are quite effective in playing the dezinformatsiya game.
In general, Germany is considered the cradle of contemporary anti-Semitism, but before we had the word Holocaust, we had the Russian word pogrom.
The anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion were compiled in 1903 by the Okhrana (tsarist political police) and authored by its disinformation expert, Petr Ivanovich Rachovsky, who was inspired by the enormous wave of anti-Semitism aroused by Alfred Dreyfus’ wrongful conviction of treason.
The Dreyfus affair now is considered to be a universal symbol for injustice for reasons of state.
Rachovsky’s Protocols were lifted from an obscure, 1864 French satire called “Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu.”
After the Soviet Union collapsed, the Protocols began infecting Russia itself. The state-controlled Russian Orthodox Church, alleging Jewish plans to overthrow Christianity in Russia, started printing the Protocols and selling them to the population.
Soviet Russia is also the source of the alleged Israeli apartheid against Palestinians, which Putin uses to deflect attention from his own anti-Semitism and homophobia.
The signatories of the “Open Letter of Ukrainian Jews to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin” on March 26 challenge the assertions of anti-Semitism peddled by Putin: “It seems you have confused Ukraine with Russia, where Jewish organizations have noticed growth in anti-Semitic tendencies last year.”
The signatories reject Putin’s use of the pejorative label “nationalists” for Ukraine’s new temporary government. Putin doesn’t want a European-leaning, anti-oligarchical, capitalist Ukraine as a neighbor and role model for his own dissatisfied and oppressed citizens.
“Yes, we are well aware that the political opposition and the forces of social protests who have secured changes for the better are made up of different groups. They include nationalistic groups, but even the most marginal do not show anti-Semitism or other xenophobic behavior. And we certainly know that our very few nationalists are well-controlled by civil society and the new Ukrainian government — which is more than can be said for the Russian neo-Nazis, who are encouraged by your security services [the FSB].”
It is no accident that Crimea has more ethnic Russians than Ukrainians — the native population was eradicated by the Soviets in the 1930s.
Josef Stalin and Lazar Kaganovich, born in 1893 to Jewish parents in the Kiev Governorate in the Russian Empire, were in charge of implementing the Soviet policy of collectivization to the region, and starved millions of innocent Ukrainians to death from 1932-33. They waged class warfare against the kulaks (successful Ukrainian farmers) and Ukrainian Orthodox Christians. Once Crimea, the rich agricultural region in southeastern Ukraine, was ethnically cleansed of farmers and believers, Stalin repopulated it with ethnic Russians.
For centuries, Russian has been the language of the oppressor, the torturer, the murderer and rapist, whether it was imposed by the czarist saber or Bolshevik bayonet.
If the signatures of Bill Clinton and John Major have any meaning, the United States and Great Britain have a legal and moral obligation to ensure Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Putin’s Russia is America’s geopolitical foe. Russia has announced plans to build bases in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Vietnam, the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean and Singapore.
According to Ion Mihai Pacepa, a former Romanian spy chief and the highest-ranking Soviet-bloc official ever to defect to the West, Putin’s ex-KGB officers have been arming Hezbollah with Katyusha rockets. Putin has quietly re-instituted Russian sales of weapons to Iran, assisted in developing ballistic missiles and may be advising about nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Obama scraps Europe’s missile defense and downsizes the U.S. military.
In A.D. 1240, Batu Khan and the Mongolian horde destroyed Kiev and went on to conquer Poland and Hungary. Will Obama, Great Britain’s David Cameron and Germany’s Andrea Merkel watch as Putin’s 21st century Russian horde repeats history?
Volodymyr Kurylo, of Oakland, is the American-born son of Ukrainian parents who escaped their home country during Nazi occupation. He was formerly the president of the United Ukrainian American Organizations of Greater New York.