Timothy Snyder, a professor at Yale University and a world-renowned genocide researcher, provided in one of his lectures seven signs of a future genocide that he identified during his research on colonial history.
Russia’s actions and statements regarding Ukraine since at least 2011 contain all of these seven signs. In brief, Russia had planned a genocidal policy against Ukraine many years ago.
Take, for example, the first of these signs: blaming a country for not being an established state, from the colonial power’s point of view it means that the empire aims at taking it over again. This has been one of the most persistent narratives of Russian propaganda for many years, which pretended that Ukraine was a fictional, non-existent, failed state.
Although the other six signs are also present in Russian propaganda narratives, let’s focus on the fourth one. This is how Snyder defines it: when people (Russians in this case) deny the previous genocide, it means they want to do it again. Here we come to another key topic of Russian propaganda: all the time, since 1991, Russia denied the Holodomor as a genocide of Ukrainians.
The Holodomor was an artificial famine inflicted by the leadership of the USSR (the name of the Moscow Empire from 1922-1991). Grain confiscations and the blockade of food supplies to the population, especially in rural Ukraine, were carried out by the Soviet army and the police. Thus, millions of Ukrainians died of hunger in Ukraine in the period 1932-1933. The Holodomor was created with the political goal of destroying the Ukrainian peasantry, which resisted Stalin’s policy of collectivization.
The memorial for victims of the Holodomor in Mariupol has been destroyed by Russian invaders.
Now, we’ve heard dozens of public appeals from Russian deputies, officials, and propagandists to carry out a genocide of the civilian population of Ukraine. “The Russian army must do everything to freeze and starve the civilian population, cause epidemics, force people to flee the country”, the Russian State Duma deputy Andrey Gurulyov said.
These statements confirm what Snyder has insisted: denying the genocide in the past means a plan to commit genocide now. Key Russian propagandists always denied the Holodomor. Russian state TV propaganda anchor Vladimir Solovyov once stated that, firstly, there was no Holodomor, and secondly, Russia is not to blame.
At first, the organizers of the genocide and their heirs denied the very fact of the great famine. Only after undeniable evidence of the deaths of millions of people in Ukraine due to starvation appeared, Moscow started advancing the argument that no political motive ever existed, it was just an unfortunate coincidence, a low harvest, etc.
At the same time, nowadays, this argument is repeated by Moscow leadership which is openly bombarding and destroying energy systems, heating, electricity, and water supply for millions of Ukrainians. They openly call to do it most painfully so that as many people as possible suffer and die. In these massive missile attacks targeting civilians, everything becomes crystal clear – the previous genocide is denied to commit a new one.
It is no coincidence that one of the first monuments that the Russian administration destroyed in the occupied Mariupol was a monument dedicated to the memory of the Holodomor victims. On the black slab of the monument were three ears of wheat that could save lives, on the red one there was barbed wire, a symbol of repression.
There was also an inscription on the plate: “Let’s not forget the tragedy of the past to not live a new one”. That’s why the cargo crane tore the plate and took it in an unknown direction. Russia wants to tear out the memory that the current attempt of genocide against the Ukrainian people, as it has pursued the desire of wiping out the Ukrainian nation, and the Ukrainian state from the map for many many years. These attempts must be stopped once and forever now.