Ukraine, Russia, & the Jewish Factor
The following text started as a comment on my article “Kevin Strom on Russia and Ukraine” then morphed into an addition to the essay. But few people will see it that way, so I think it is worthy of standing alone on the front page.
Even as Russia claims to be fighting against anti-Semitism in Ukraine, pro-Russian propagandists seem anxious to sway foreign anti-Semites to their side by making a great deal of the Jews involved in the Ukrainian interim government, the subsequently elected government, and the outside parties that have tried to shape the Ukrainian Revolution.
For instance, Volodymyr Groysman is a deputy prime minister, and Ihor Kolomoisky is governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region. Both of them are Jews. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of casual dishonesty among anti-Semites, which leads to many false accusations. For instance, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, President Petro Poroshenko, and Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko have all been called Jews, but no firm evidence has been offered for these claims. (If Klitschko is a Jew, it is rather odd he named one of his sons after Max Schmeling.) American Jewish neocon Victoria Nuland – whom anti-Semites tiresomely refer to by her family’s original German name Nudelman, as if it were somehow more “Jewish” than Nuland — was on the scene and certainly up to no good during the Maidan protests.
But what does this all mean? The Maidan Revolution was made by a wide coalition of groups, including Ukrainian White Nationalists, and the subsequent governments have reflected the different strands of this coalition. Yet pro-Russian/anti-Ukraine propaganda treats the involvement of Jews as revealing the essence of the Ukrainian regime. They refer to the government as “Jewish,” tout court, and shamelessly slander Ukrainian White Nationalists as Jewish puppets, stooges, and collaborators.
But the involvement of Jews in the Putin regime is treated as accidental and negligible. Kevin Alfted Strom assures us that they are mere “pets” with “no trace of real power.” It is hard to judge such claims, of course, because Strom does not name names. Using English, French, and German sources, it is actually quite difficult to discover the ethnicity of many of Putin’s ministers, which itself is suspicious. But two are explicitly identified as Jews even by Wikipedia: Igor Levitin (Transportation Minister, 2004–2012) and Mikhail Fradkov (Director of Foreign Intelligence from 2007 on). Director of Foreign Intelligence is certainly not a position with “no trace of real power.” You can be assured if Ukraine had a Jewish Director of Foreign Intelligence or Transportation Minister, we would never hear the end of it.
Why the double standard? If there are Jews on both sides of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, why does the presence of Jews in the Ukrainian government prove that is is “Jewish” while the presence of Jews in the Russian government apparently means nothing at all (lest it undermine the false narrative that Russia is “Jew-wise” and working to counter international Jewry)?
The fact-fudging rush to brand the Ukrainian government “Jewish” aims to obscure the true nature of the Ukrainian situation, namely, that Ukraine has a parliamentary system with a number of different parties, in which common aims and enemies can lead to unlikely coalitions. Most importantly, it seeks to obscure the fact that the Ukrainian Revolution is by no means over. The situation in Ukraine is fluid and developing. It is too soon to say that Ukraine will be sucked into NATO and the EU, that it will lose its independence to the West, that it will be flooded with non-white immigrants and asylum seekers, etc. Certainly not if Ukrainian nationalists have anything to say about it.
Unfortunately, ongoing Russian intervention has pushed Ukraine closer to the West, caused the various parties to set aside their differences to pose a united front, and disproportionately absorbed the energies of the nationalists. But when the insurgency in the East is over, then the nationalist struggle for an independent Ukrainian third way will resume. In the meantime, it is simply intellectually dishonest to pretend that one already knows the outcome.
But let’s grant, for the sake of argument, that in the end, the nationalists will lose and Ukraine will become absorbed by the West. Is it really the position of Strom and other Russia apologists that Svoboda and Right Sector should have never even tried? The Putin apologists claim that it is futile for Ukraine to ever seek national self-determination, that Ukraine is doomed either to be a Russian satellite or an American one. My question is: Do they think that nationalism is futile in all cases? Is it futile in France? Is it futile in Germany? In Denmark? In Sweden? Do they think that it is futile for Americans to try to build an alternative to the Democrat vs. Republican hegemony?
What kind of White Nationalists believe that White Nationalism is futile everywhere it is tried? Such people obviously are in no position to lead, so they should step down. Or, since they presumably believe that Russian nationalism, at least, is not futile, perhaps they should simply become full-time apologists for Russia. Unfortunately, some websites are already drifting in that direction.
Or do these White Nationalists believe that our cause is futile only in Ukraine? If so, why? The answer is obvious: because they are engaged in special-pleading for Russia. (Presumably they would say the same thing about Belarus, too, should that nation grow restive in Moscow’s shadow.)
So both options really reduce to the same shameful toadying for Russian petty imperialism under the delusional conviction that it is really a battle for all whites against America and international Jewry.