Disinfo: By defeating Nazism, Stalin atoned for crimes against his own people and saved other nations

Summary

Obviously Stalin committed crimes against his own people. But did he not, at least in part, atone for these crimes by defeating Nazism? It is clear that had Stalin not achieved this result, the Czech nation (and other nations) would not even exist. It would have been partially enslaved, destroyed and Germanised. Therefore the issue of Stalin’s crimes and merits is complex, as are issues related to World War II. As Schiller wrote in his Ode to Joy: supreme justice will judge our judges.

Disproof

This message follows the pro-Kremlin policy of historical revisionism seeking to glorify the Soviet victory in World War II, credit Joseph Stalin for this victory, and downplay and relativise the crimes against humanity perpetrated by Stalin and by Soviet totalitarianism. The claim involves deceptive moral equivocation to suggest that Stalin's "defeat" of Nazism nullifies his other crimes against humanity. Firstly, the revisionist pro-Kremlin claims of Stalin's "defeat" of Nazism and Soviet liberation of eastern Europe don't stand up to scrutiny. Stalin’s alliance with Hitler (1939-1941) created favorable conditions for Nazi Germany’s expansion. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and its secret protocols, dividing Europe and the territories of independent states between the two totalitarian regimes and grouping them into spheres of interest, paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War and resulted in half a century of communism in eastern Europe. Secondly, the cult of the Great Patriotic War, emphasised by Kremlin propaganda, has contributed to a partial rehabilitation of Stalin. The image of Stalin as a strong leader who ensured victory in the Second World War and led a Soviet superpower has re-emerged in Kremlin propaganda; meanwhile, the millions who perished in waves of state-organised terror under Stalin's authority have been pushed to the margins of Russia's collective historical memory. Stalin is widely considered to have been one of the world's most brutal dictators. On his orders, millions of Soviet citizens faced execution, and more perished in the GULAG, the system of prisons and forced labor camps throughout the Soviet Union. Millions more starved to death in the Holodomor, the deadly famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine that was engineered by Stalin to eliminate a perceived threat to central Soviet power. Stalin also led the “Great Terror” - a brutal political campaign to eliminate dissenting members of the Communist Party and others perceived to be a threat to the regime. While estimates vary, most historians believe that at least 750,000 people were executed as part of the Great Purge between 1936 and 1938. It is a stretch of the imagination to suggest that these crimes have been atoned. In its resolution on the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe, the EU Parliament notes: "although the crimes of the Nazi regime were evaluated and punished by means of the Nuremberg trials, there is still an urgent need to raise awareness, carry out moral assessments, and conduct legal inquiries into the crimes of Stalinism and other dictatorships." Read similar examples of pro-Kremlin narratives claiming that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact played a critical role in saving humanity from Nazism and that it was Stalin who stopped Hitler.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 196
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Italian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: USSR, Czech Republic, Germany
  • Keywords: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Historical revisionism, WWII, Joseph Stalin, Nazi/Fascist
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“Devaluation” of Victory Day means “devaluation” of Ukraine

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative distorting the events of the Second World War. Since 2016, in the framework of the law on decommunisation, on 9 May, Ukraine began to celebrate "Victory Day over Nazism in World War II of 1939-1945." The holiday replaced the "Victory Day over fascism in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945." The relevant law No. 2539 “On the Perpetuation of the Victory over Nazism in World War II of 1939 - 1945” was adopted on 9 April 2015, by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The law defines the duty of the state and citizens of Ukraine to respect the memory of the victory over Nazism in WWII; war veterans, members of the Ukrainian liberation movement and the victims of Nazism. At the same time, while respecting the memory of those who fell during WWII, the use of Soviet symbols was cancelled. Instead, now the official symbol of the celebration of the Day of Victory over Nazism in WWII is the red poppy flower - the generally accepted symbol in the world for the celebration of significant days of WWII. Also, together with many EU countries, on 8 May, Ukraine annually celebrates Remembrance and Reconciliation Day. The holiday is celebrated on the day of the surrender of Nazi Germany on 8 May 1945.

The purpose of the US Arctic Doctrine is to destabilise the region

Washington has long been developing plans for the international use of the Arctic seas. Also, criticising Russia for the “militarisation” of the Arctic. In October 2019, the Pentagon unveiled its Arctic Doctrine. The purpose of Doctrine is to block the Russian Northern Sea Route. They likely will deploy the US naval strike groups in the European sector of the Arctic. This will inevitably lead to regional destabilisation. Russia will never give its Arctic to anyone.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US, claiming that American and NATO policies are a threat to world peace and security. US policy towards the Arctic emphasises science and international collaboration, tending to neglect strategic and geopolitical considerations. In June 2019, the US Department of Defense released its updated Arctic Defence Strategy. This document focuses on threats posed by Russia – which is building up and upgrading military infrastructure in its Arctic region – and by China. Previously abandoned Cold War-era military installations have been reopened and incursions by Russian aircraft and submarines into or close to other countries’ Arctic spaces have become more frequent. The US and NATO are reviewing their policies in the Arctic region because of the increasing military activities of Russia and China in the Arctic. Read similar cases claiming that Washington is using NATO for military confrontation in the Arctic, or Finland cooperates with NATO in order to get territory in the Arctic, that the new US policy in the Arctic is belligerent, and that NATO wants to prevent Russia from utilising the Northeast passage.

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Against the backdrop of indifference on the part of the world community, Ukrainian servicemen intentionally fire at children of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Ukraine continues to terrorise the Republic’s population and traditionally increases the number of aggressive acts before holidays, such as Victory Day.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the war in Ukraine. Over the last two weeks, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has recorded just one case of injuries sustained by children. According to the May 5 report, three children were injured due to shelling in Oleksandrivka (non-government-controlled). Medical staff at a Donetsk hospital refused to provide the SMM with further information. Also, according to the OSCE mission's daily reports, the number of ceasefire violations in the previous 30 days as of 7 May was lower than the 2019 daily average. However, the number of daily ceasefire violations on 5 May was higher than average. According to human rights organisations, children's rights are often violated by the occupying administrations in Donbas. For instance, the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" created a militarised "army" for young people which is called "Yunarmia". Since 2014, children have participated in non-government military formations on both sides. See recent disinformation alleging that Kyiv will soon try to take back the Donbas and that Kyiv's Western protectors are inflaming war in the Donbas.