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Putin’s Perverted Genocidal “Logic”

The international community should pay much closer attention to the completely perverted reasoning behind Putin calling for a “de-Nazification” of Ukraine.

Takeaways


  • Putin had asked his lawyers whether there is a legal justification for a war of aggression in Ukraine. They did not know any. Only the UN Genocide Convention of 1948 could be interpreted as an exception.
  • Putin's absurd claim to accuse Ukraine of genocide and his strict avoidance of the terms “war” or “invasion” can be explained by his desperate search for an acceptable pseudo-legal pretext for his murderous endeavor.
  • Germany shares a terrible history with Russia in committing genocidal slaughter in Poland in the early part of WWII. Given that, how on earth could today’s SPD-led German government still protect Putin’s Russia?
  • Putin has his own reasons for engaging in mass murder. He wants to spare the Russian Empire the fate of the Western empires – Spaniards, Dutch, Belgians, Portuguese, French and British.
  • In 1998, Putin – then director of the FSB – set up a special department for the preservation of the empire. The goal is was create conditions to keep the former Soviet republics under Moscow's thumb.
  • Because Russians do not understand the demographic dynamism of imperial expansion and decline, they are repeating the mistakes of the post-1945 West.

[Note to journalists: You may quote from this text, provided you mention the name of the author and reference it as a new Strategic Assessment Memo (SAM) published by the Global Ideas Center in Berlin on The Globalist.]

As his war-making in Ukraine amply demonstrates, Vladimir Putin is the first genocidal murderer in history to embark on a second genocide – witness his previous actions in Chechnya from 1999 to 2009.

Putin is committing genocide against Ukrainians under the pretext of stopping an alleged genocide against Russians in eastern Ukraine.

While that fact has received considerable international attention, what has been widely overlooked is Putin’s reasoning behind calling the Ukrainians “Nazis” and emphasizing the need for a “de-Nazification” of Ukraine.

As it turns out, the reasoning behind that is not so much delusional notions about Ukrainians, but legal considerations.

Why Putin doesn’t refer to “war”

Putin, himself a lawyer by training, had asked his Kremlin lawyers whether there is a legal justification for a war of aggression in Ukraine. They did not know any.

Only the UN Genocide Convention of 1948 could possibly be interpreted as an exception. In its Article 1, it obliges the signatory states – including Russia, there are 147 – to “prevent” genocide, not just punish it.

Hence the bizarre seeming claim of Putin that a genocide is perpetrated on ethnic Russians in Ukraine.

In contrast, even for the prevention of, say, a conventional civil war, there is no right of invasion.

Putin’s claim that Ukraine is perpetrating genocide is what requires him to strictly avoid the terms “war” or “invasion.”

It is a maneuver that is less designed to dupe domestic audiences than that it is a desperate search for an acceptable pseudo-legal pretext for his murderous endeavor.

Genocide: The legal close-up

Genocide, like any murder, requires intent and planning. An unplanned massacre can kill 1,000 people, but legally it is mass manslaughter.

By comparison, a planned genocide can be stopped after “only” 100 dead – and yet these 100 are genocide victims.

Victims of an ordinary massacre find no comfort in the fact that at least they are not killed in a genocide, but legally the difference is important.

Genocide exists even if only a part of the target group is marked for murder. Rafael Lemkin, a Pole of Jewish origin and author of the Genocide Convention, deliberately put the word “part” into the international law because he is the witness of two examples of genocidal slaughter.

Germany’s and Russia’s joint genocidal slaughter

The first example is the murder by Germans of Poland’s educated class through the so-called “Intelligenzaktion,” starting in September 1939.

The second example is the mass murder of Polish officers and officials by Soviet Russians in 1940 in Katyn and other places.

Both massacres are intended to destroy Polish culture so the remaining population could be more easily enslaved or Germanized (or Russified). As a result, Polishness would have disappeared.

Shame on the SPD

Given that Germany shares this terrible history with Russia in committing genocidal slaughter in Poland in the early part of WWII, it is truly unfathomable how on earth today’s SPD-led German government could still protect Putin’s Russia.

All the more so as one of the signatories of the Katyn murder order, Mikhail Kalinin, is honored by Russia to this very day in a very special manner. He is the namesake of the once German town of Königsberg, now Kaliningrad.

For all their reflexive love of Russia, the SPD must have no historians around to remind the party’s leadership today of that dark history.

Why Putin relishes being a mass murderer

Putin has his own reasons for engaging in mass murder. In his mind, he wants to spare the Russian Empire the fate of the Western empires – Spanish, Dutch, Belgian, Portuguese, French and British.

These former grand powers had tried to preserve their spheres of power by force but lost all their colonial wars after 1945.

A man with a deadly vision

It should not be overlooked in this context that in 1998, a year before he became Russian prime minister, Putin – in his capacity as director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) – set up a special department for the preservation of the empire.

According to the order, the agents of this Fifth Service are to create conditions in the former Soviet republics for their retention under Moscow’s power.

Overcoming dark history…

No question, to defend their colonial “possessions,” Western Europe’s empires, too, committed massacres and destroyed cultural assets of native populations. But it was to no avail.

In 1974, with the fall of the Portuguese Empire, the last outpost of western territorial ambition collapsed.

As part of that process of decolonization, it is worth remembering that even France came close to civil war in 1961/62. President de Gaulle survived two assassination attempts by rebellious generals who hoped to save the remnants of imperial France.

Algeria and Ukraine: The parallels

After years of bloodshed, de Gaulle ultimately released Algeria into independence. Indeed, the North African territory could then be seen as a “Gallic Ukraine,” given that every sixth citizen was French and its language dominated the huge province of 920,000 square miles.

In the end, the expelled French responded to the loss of their homeland by burning down schools and theaters. Even the largest library – it belonged to the University of Algiers – went up in flames.

What motivated these failed attempts to preserve failing empires? Today, few people understand why European nations were able to subjugate 90% of the earth – and why those nations lost.

Message to Putin: Imperialism needs population surpluses

It all began when, over a period of 450 years, the clergy and nobility of Europe persecuted the practice of birth control. As a result, European countries began having six to eight children per a woman’s lifetime.

This massive population boom provided a huge number of explorers, soldiers and settlers. Thanks to this demographic explosion, the empires of Europe could easily replace any losses they suffered during the conquest and colonization of other continents.

However, with the return of birth control to Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, birth rates there fell dramatically. From the 1960s on, women in Europe have only two children on average, while women in the (still) subjugated colonies have six to eight children.

After 1970 – with Germany leading the decline – Europe fell below two children per woman. In other words, below what is called the replacement level.

The futile idea of a Russian Empire

The message behind those numbers is still entirely lost on Putin. He does not comprehend the – quite literally – umbilical connection between birth rates and empires.

Quite stunningly, Putin in 2022 is mimicking the emotional path of France six decades ago in desperately clinging to empire.

After the dissolution of their empire in December 1991, many Russians were feeling the way French people felt in 1962. The French simply did not want to accept the path of history. Neither does Putin.

Russia and the inescapable law of the numbers

It would help Putin and the many Russians who support him if they knew a few key numbers. For example, this one: Until 1914, the tsars commanded more than 100 of every 1,000 men of military age worldwide.

Therefore, despite all their losses through the wars they launched and the exodus of settlers, Russians were becoming more numerous.

Because Russians do not understand the demographic dynamism of imperial expansion up to the 19th century and the decline due to falling birth rates in the 20th century, they are repeating the mistakes of the post-1945 West.

Chechnya and imperial decline

In 1994, Boris Yeltsin, then the President of Russia, commanded only 15 out of 1,000 able-bodied men globally. To his surprise, in 1996 he very quickly lost about 6,000 soldiers – and also the war in Chechnya.

The law of the birth rate clearly advantaged Chechnya. Chechen women, with 3 to 4 sons each, could lose at least two in battle without endangering the continuity of their Muslim families.

Chechnya and the rise of Putin

The significance of Yeltsin’s loss in Chechnya cannot be overstated. To the Russian security establishment, it became the prime cause to replace him.

When Putin – whom the Yeltsin people had deluded themselves to be able to steer and control – ultimately took over the reins, the current path of events in Ukraine was set in motion.

Putin had no qualms about launching a genocide in Chechnya. Along with state-led acts of false flag domestic terrorism (presumably committed by Chechen terrorists), Putin won in Chechnya and firmly established his rule.

In a way, that one victory made him feel like Superman. And he was hell-bent to execute his own FSB decree for the preservation of empire.

Even so, Putin must realize that he finds himself in an even worse situation than Yeltsin at the time. His reservoir of fighting men in 2020 is down to only 10 of 1,000 potential fighters globally (Yeltsin still had 15 per 1,000 a quarter of a century earlier).

Putin’s two genocidal methods in Chechnya

In order not to repeat Yeltsin’s failure, Putin thus combined two genocidal methods. He focused on killing Chechnya’s educated class, thus following the Soviet Russian and Hitlerian model for exterminating the cultural and military elites of Poland.

At the same time, he borrowed tactics from Operation Condor of the Argentine junta from 1976 to 1983. Condor abducted at least 9,000 activists of the left-wing revolt and killed them. This murder campaign ended the militant student movement.

In Chechnya, which had a total population of around one million, Putin kidnapped up to 5,000 Chechen youths that were still civilians but who might have soon joined their elder brothers in the fighting units. He had them murdered and buried untraceably.

Converted to the demographics of the United States, for example, that death toll would be the equivalent of murdering 1.5 million Americans.

Putin understands that Western Europe was defeated by soaring birthrates in the colonies, as was Yeltsin in Chechnya. With his extermination of the Chechens’ offspring, Putin hopes to eliminate Chechnya’s demographic advantage.

Chechnya and the West

Such a clearly thought-out and executed genocide as he executed in Chechnya is unique in the annals of modern genocide infamy. It makes Putin the first European victor in the wars of decolonization after 1945.

To Putin’s advantage, the narrative prevailing about Chechnya in the West essentially follows the Russian narrative. Chechnya is seen as a region torn apart by Muslim terrorists.

It is hence regarded as a Russian domestic affair. That there is a long and brutal history of imperial oppression of the legitimate rights of the Chechen people is widely unknown.

The country was absorbed into the Russian empire in 1859. To break their fierce resistance, Tsar Alexander II immediately started the deportation of at least 100,000 Chechens to Siberia. Of around 1.5 million Chechens in the North Caucasus in 1847, only 140,000 remained in 1861.

Putin, the disinformation agent

It is remarkable to see just how much Putin still utilizes his craft as a spy and deliberate disinformation agent.

Consider, as the most pertinent current example, Putin’s claims of alleged “NATO threats” or “Slavic brothers to be saved.” While so many in the West fall for them, inside Russia they are all understood as mere pretexts.

There, it is all about the violent retention of tsarist conquests. And that, in turn, explains why the level of public support for Putin remains so high.

The utter naivete of the West

After Putin successfully executed the genocidal double strike in the Caucasus in the 1999 to 2009 period, virtually all Western politicians of rank – ignoramuses of Russian history all – competed for the favor of the dictator in the Kremlin.

Warnings from Baltic or Polish long-suffering victims and experts of Moscow’s methods were — and, more shamefully, even today — are condemned as evidence of a reactionary or revanchist mentality.

From their point of view, the Russians are pursuing only legitimate national aspirations. That this Western naivete – and whitewashing of Putin – has vitally contributed to a national feeling in Russia not only of invincibility, but also of being unpunishable, is self-evident.

Ukraine and Russia

As to the law of the birth rate numbers, there is no question about it: Ukraine, like Russia, is a fading nation. It has a median age way above 40.

From Putin’s end, his genocidal plan in this case gives priority not to massacres or rapes by his soldateska – even though they are perpetrated as a matter of intimidation.

Putin’s main targets in Ukraine are the educated classes. That is why Ukrainian mayors and their families are being abducted and killed.

Now, there will be those in the west who, even under current circumstances, want to belittle the number of the murdered as not so significant. As if that would make Putin less of a genocidal murderer.

Apart from the fact that, under the Genocide Convention, this still establishes the criterion for genocide, Putin’s declared intention remains the elimination of Ukrainian culture in order to subject the rest of the people to Russification and control.

No time for any illusions

Let us also be clear about this: Even if, as Moscow had counted on and as Washington was prepared for, Kiev had capitulated after two days and the war had ceased, Putin’s genocidal operation against Ukraine’s elite would have gone ahead.

Let us also realize, because Putin’s genocidal murder program was known in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State.

Tony Blinken offered President Zelensky and other elected representatives of the Ukrainian nation help to save their lives.

Conclusion: Germany’s utter irresponsibility

Given that Vladimir Putin, as outlined above, is repeating the Hitler-Stalin genocide variants of 1939 and 1940, it is utterly incomprehensible why German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his SPD party have their collective head so much in the sand that they don’t act with great determination.

By ignoring the facts and historical contexts about Mr. Putin’s devious genocidal schemes, they are indeed creating a new episode of German war guilt. They can’t claim they haven’t been told.

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About Gunnar Heinsohn

Gunnar Heinsohn is a German sociologist and economist.

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