Mikhail Myagkov: "There's a strange situation when it comes to attempts to glorify Nazis ipost-Soviet space"
Yesterday's CIS summit in Ashgabat saw signing of an appeal to the peoples of the Commonwealth and the world community regarding inadmissibility of attempts to revise history and heroization of Nazism. Vestnik Kavkaza spoke with scientific director of the Russian military-historical society, Mikhail Myagkov, about the current situation with glorification of Nazism in the post-Soviet space and in the countries that brought the Great Victory during Soviet times.
- What is the current situation in states of the post-Soviet space that pursue the policy of glorification of Nazism, especially considering the fact that 75th anniversary of the Great Victory is approaching?
- There's a strange situation when it comes to attempts to glorify Nazism and counter them in the post-Soviet. There are countries that sacredly honor their ancestors, the true history of World War II and the Great Patriotic War is being taught in schools, and there are no to glorify Nazism. But there are countries in which attempts to glorify Nazism, glorify henchmen of the Nazis and collaborationist units, Waffen-SS divisions, security battalions, police battalions, have become a part of state policy. In the Baltic states, in Ukraine, there are entire programs for educating young people in the spirit of reverence for Nazi accomplices who have soiled their hands in blood, killed thousands of civilians, children, women.
In Ukraine, as well as in the Baltic states, there are entire institutions of national memory, which have prosecutorial functions. They can condemn a person who advocates historical truth. School books that say that Bandera followers were heroes and liberated Ukraine are being created. Such books no longer use the term World War II, while the term Soviet-Nazi war is being used widely. Bandera followers are becoming heroes despite being outright Nazis and criminals who killed civilians, Jews, Soviet prisoners of war and committed other atrocities. They are being heroized.
Baltic states host Nazi and neo-Nazi marches, exploits of the SS army are being glorified. In Riga, in the building of the former Museum of Latvian Riflemen, the Museum of Occupation is currently operating, where more than 90% of exposition is dedicated to the "Soviet occupation", and very little is said about the German occupation. Those facts that demonstrate atrocities of Nazis and Latvian collaborators during the war are being forgotten. But let's not forget that the Republic of Latvia lost 400 thousand of its citizens at the end of World War II - more than 20% of their population at that time. In Latvia, more than 330 thousand Soviet prisoners of war were killed. Over 300 thousand civilians, 40 thousand of which were children, have been killed at the hands of Nazis and collaborators.
The same applies to both Lithuania and Estonia, where the "Forest Brothers", who killed civilians, are being heroized. In Lithuania, for example, 25 thousand people were killed by the Forest Brothers during the war and post-war years. The vast majority of them were Lithuanians. Unfortunately, these facts are being forgotten today. Today we see targeted propaganda aimed at rewriting the history and lessons of World War II. Baltic states and Ukraine create an atmosphere of contempt for liberation of territories of the Soviet republics by the Red Army, for the liberation of Europe. So these states disregard and forget their own history, their own patriots, heroes of the USSR.
They drive their countries into a hopeless situation, since they will lose their roots, their own history. Puppeteers who don't care look about these neo-Nazi sentiments have easy time working with such countries.
It's great that there are organizations such as the Russian Military Historical Society, which are doing a lot of work so that our historical memory remains intact, so that we know about liberation of the countries of Eastern Europe and lessons of World War II both in our country and abroad. We erect monuments to soldiers and commanders of the Red Army not only in Russia, but also in Slovenia, in Serbia. Exhibitions dedicated to the Soviet soldier-liberator were shown in Poland, in Hungary, in Austria, and in other countries of Europe. This is important because the truth about the Great Patriotic War should be available to as many Europeans and residents of the countries of the former Soviet Union as possible.
- Has Ukrainian policy in this area changed when Vladimir Zelensky came to power?
- Nothing changed. Authorities continue to indulge the Nazis. Only their rhetoric has changed, but general spirit of this policy is aimed at creating mankurts from their people. Chingiz Aitmatov wrote about such people in “The Burannaya Semi Station”, they don’t remember their roots, they are ready to cleanse territory of their own country from all unwanted people and raise the banner of only one nation.
Today we can see the same desire to suppress any resistance to nationalist policy in every possible way in Ukraine. The front line is blatant Nazis from the Aidar battalion, from the Azov battalion. Authorities pursue the same policy. Nothing new can be expected from them today. Today, Ukraine is under external control of Western forces, primarily the United States. Only national movement - interested in peace and fraternal friendship with Russian nation - can change this policy.
- Are there any positive changes in the Baltic states?
- No. Reading modern textbooks, we see that every year they become more and more aggressive when it comes to Russia. If in the 1990s there was still information about Soviet partisan movement, today we see that they only aim at rewriting history. For them, the Red Army is the occupier, Russia is the enemy, Hitler is not an absolute enemy, but the force which could help them to restore their independence.
Baltic states only say that "the Red Army was an occupier." But if it weren't for the Red Army, neither Latvian, nor Estonian or Lithuanian nations would exist today.