It is hard for me to see how in times of war, a lot of western leftists do not see obvious things. A lot of western leftists are talking about pacifism, about resisting Russia without weapons, about antimilitarism and other things that have nothing to do with the situation in Ukraine!
When I talk about what I hear in Germany to my russian friends and comrades, they cannot understand what I am talking about. And this is why I have decided to describe some of the things western leftists do not notice. To explain why all leftists in western Europe should support fighting comrades and respect Ukrainians’ and especially Ukrainian leftists’ decision to fight against russian imperialism.
Russia is the biggest country in the world. This is a trivial fact. But why is Russia so big? Was it accidental? In Europe and actually over the world, Russia’s colonial history is rarely discussed. But of course, Russia is so big because of its imperialist and colonial history. There are more than 194 different ethnicities in Russia, most of them Indigenous. Russification started in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. A lot of ethnicities were forcibly russified, including by taking children away from their parents. A lot of people lost their languages and cultures.
During Stalin’s time, whole ethnicities were accused of being traitors and were deported to other parts of the Soviet Union, often to uninhabited areas. There were deportations of Koreans, Ingrian Finns, Karachays, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingushes, Balkars, Crimean Tatars, Meskhetian Turks and many others. A lot of ethnicities also lost their independence.
Russia’s size is not accidental, Russia’s territory is a product of a long history of oppression and colonial violence. And of course, unreflected colonial history is a reason why Russia is a racist state. Racism in Russia is normalized, some examples are racist jokes that are told unchallenged in public or apartment renting ads that use phrases like “will rent only to Slavs”.
According to russian propaganda, Ukraine became fascist in 2014. Sadly, as I learned when I came to Germany in 2018, german leftists are largely influenced by russian propaganda. From 2014 onwards, the main idea of russian propaganda was that Ukrainians are fascists. It is these words that I have been hearing in Germany since 2018 and until today, during this terrible war.
Yet at the presidential elections in 2014, right-wing candidate Dmytro Yarosh only got 0.7 %! Compare this to the AfD’s electoral results in Germany or the popularity Le Pen has in France.
In 2017, the right-wing party Svoboda got a little more than 2 percent at elections. Let us think again of the german AfD that got 12,6 % the very same year and won seats in the german parliament.
The famous Azov Regiment has been receiving exaggerated attention in the german leftist scene, just as in Russia. What has remained unnoticed are the changes the regiment has undergone, the fact that from the beginning, Nazis were but one of the subgroups within its ranks, and the fact that all Nazi leaders had actually left the Azov Regiment by the end of 2014. Western leftists also keep overlooking the fact that on the russian side, most volunteer soldiers in 2014 were members of right-wing groups, including downright neo-Nazis like Rusich or the Imperial Legion. Today they are at the frontlines as well, getting medals for killing Ukrainians.
I call upon all leftists in Germany and over the world to support Ukrainian leftists in their fight against russian imperialism, to educate themselves about what goes on in Ukraine, to recognize russian propaganda and resist its spreading in leftist scenes.