If you want to understand politics in Russia and Eastern Europe, you’d better understand the concept of projection. Accusing others of doing exactly what you do is par for the course in these parts. Today I’d like to talk about a disturbing example of this projection, this time coming not from the Russian side but rather from apologists of Evromaidan, which destroyed the city of Kiev and threatens to drown Ukraine in the blood of inter-ethnic violence.
Evromaidan, obviously has its partisans in the West, particularly the European Union. The movement was helped by an obviously well-organized PR campaign, complete with petitions and viral videos so as to “sell” the protests to Western liberals and generally ignorant people who enjoy living vicariously through foreign protest movements rather than working for change in their own countries. The vast majority of people who make up this audience do not speak Russian or Ukrainian, nor have they ever set foot in either country and thus know nothing of the politics or history of the region. They are fish in a barrel for slick propagandists.
Of course Russia’s response to most of this can be summed up below:
In case you didn’t catch the metaphor, Russia’s not too good at propaganda these days. For a nation where so many people are convinced that they are locked in an “information war” with the West, their methods of fighting that war are crude and ineffective. However ridiculous some of the responses from Russia are, it does not excuse the attempts I have seen by some Evromaidan cheerleaders to portray all opposition to Evromaidan as pro-Russian, pro-Putin, or even pro-Yanukovich. Lately it is this kind of propaganda which has seriously pissed me off.
Last week I have seen numerous statements whereby non-Ukrainian Evromaidan apologists have attempted to whitewash the movement and obscure the fascist, neo-Nazi forces which have been so active within it. These writers, well aware of the fact that few if any of their readers can decode the various signs, symbols, and flags which are ubiquitous among the protesters, claim that the movement is actually broad, tolerant, liberal, and what is more, they claim there is a Russian, Kremlin-organized campaign to poison the well by associating all the protesters with Neo-Nazis. In the process, they go on and do the exact same thing, picking out a handful of critical sources which have some ties to the Kremlin-backed “Eurasian Youth Movement.” In other words, they are claiming that it’s fascists calling other people fascists. Apparently it’s unfair to tar the whole Evromaidan movement with one broad stroke despite the fact that in almost every wide shot of the protests we can usually see at least one Svoboda(far-right nationalist party) or OUN(Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) flag, but it’s perfectly acceptable to zero in on the worst examples of Russian nationalism or fascism and paint all critics of Evromaidan as being connected to them. This is par for the course, dear reader.
For the record, I’d like to post a small number of sources here, which are clearly not part of a Kremlin-supported smear campaign. Some of these sources are actually from people on the ground.
http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.575732 (Apparently one of Ukraine’s top rabbis isn’t too convinced that this movement is about tolerance and democracy)
The reader is free to find many other sources from a wide range of political beliefs which highlight the neo-Nazi and fascist character of this putsch.
There is another thing I want to point out about the apologists’ pathetic attempts to whitewash fascism by tying anti-Maidan criticism to the “Eurasian Youth Movement.” Yes, this “movement”, led by Alexander Dugin, can be considered fascists in an ideological sense. However the influence of this movement, even within Russia’s borders, is quite small. Even in the capital most Russians, including young, politically-minded people, don’t recognize the name Dugin and they certainly don’t recognize the Eurasian Youth Movement. I have it on good authority that even in Moscow they have had to resort to paying young people to show up at rallies. Since the movement is obviously pro-government, it draws the ire of many radical nationalists, especially those are racists and want nothing to do with “Eurasia.” More importantly, I have no knowledge of any examples of “Eurasianist” violence, much less anything on par with that of movements like Praviy Sektor or Svoboda in Ukraine. This should come as no surprise, seeing as how the government is clearly connected to the “movement.” All in all, this “Eurasianist” movement projects an impressive online presence, but in the real world it is simply not influential. Therefore using it as a target to distract from the actions of Praviy Sektor, Svoboda, and their associated thugs is simply idiotic.
Lastly I want to say something about people who find a connection to a particular source and then use it as an excuse to dismiss anything that source or the person using it might say. All arguments must stand and fall on their own merit, all claims on the merit of the evidence brought forth to support them. If CNN reports something which can be verified as factual, then it is a fact. If RT does the same, ditto. A major problem with the world these days is that people who get burnt out on the failure of their own mainstream media begin to give all their trust to any source which happens to be saying the opposite. Instead of considering evidence, facts, context, or any of that hard stuff, most people find it far more convenient to simply give unqualified credibility to whatever source happens to be telling them what they want to hear. They don’t trust big corporations, so any GMO scare is credible. They don’t trust “Big Pharma,” so they don’t vaccinate their kids. It’s definitely simpler, but it’s also idiotic and sometimes deadly.
In this case, there is a convergence of evidence from a wide spectrum which shows that Evromaidan is largely motivated by ethnic hatred, with corruption being only a cover. We’d do well to remember that fascists all over Europe and the world once promised that they would save their nations from the ravages of the Great Depression and the corruption which was common in those days. They had their apologists beyond their borders as well. Lastly, in these parts there is a sort of unspoken “rule” in these parts, that says “my fascism is not fascism, you fascist!” That just doesn’t fly for me.