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.

The Russian Challenge

Chris Miller, an assistant professor of international history at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a co-director of the school’s Russia and Eurasia program writing in The New York Times:

Today the threat to Europe’s security is not hybrid warfare but hard power, visible in the cruise missiles that have struck across Ukraine.

Creator of ‘The Americans’ On Russia

Joseph Weisberg, a former CIA officer and the creator of the terrific TV series The Americans has written a new book entitled Russia Upside Down An Exit Strategy for the Second Cold War. Weisberg challenges commonly held American assumptions about Russia. Weisberg was interviewed about his book on an episode of SpyCast, which is produced by the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.

In October of 2021, Weisberg was interviewed on the excellent SRB Podcast, produced by my alma matter, the University of Pittsburgh.

Nuremberg War Crimes Trial Recordings Now Online

The complete recordings of the Nuremberg War Crimes trials are now online for the first time. The International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, the custodian of the original materials, arranged the digitization of its archive, collaborating with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris. There are 775 hours of recordings so this is not for the casual listener.

Edward Rothstein writing in The Wall Street Journal explains that the recordings aren’t easy to listen to in part because the recordings do not translate the German, English, French and Russian spoken at the trial. Even so, Rothstein concludes that:

what is heard, even now, seems remarkable: a rough first draft of judgment, beginning just five months after the war with Germany ended and unfolding over nearly a year as its arbiters strained to fit minimal forms of existing law to maximal forms of moral degradation.