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History

Putting Putin’s Language in Context

Yale historian Timothy Snyder, writing in his newsletter, explains the significance of Vladimir Putin’s accusations that the Ukrainian government committed “genocide”:

It means, most likely, that he plans to arrest the political and civic leaders of Ukraine, carry out show trials, and have innocent people executed. 


It is grotesque . . . for Putin to accuse the Ukrainian government of being Nazis.  The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelens’kyi, is a Jew with moderate political views.  His grandfather fought the Germans in the Red Army; his grandfather’s family was murdered in the Holocaust.  He was elected with more than seventy percent of the vote by members of a multicultural society who generally define their nation in civic terms.  The far right gets imperceptible percentages of the Ukrainian vote and plays no role in government.

Putin also disrespects those who suffered and perished in the Holocaust.

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