Between the lines

Russian state media reveals plan for occupied Ukraine

Moscow would reportedly stage own ‘Nuremberg Trials’ following war victory

A victorious Russia would rename Ukraine and execute people who resist occupation after taking full control of the neighbouring nation, according to Moscow-controlled media.

In an article published yesterday by state news agency Ria Novosti, columnist Timofei Sergeitsev repeated Vladimir Putin’s claim that the majority of Ukrainians are Nazis, and warned that the population would be made to “suffer the inevitable hardships of a just war”.

Moscow would oversee its own “Nuremberg Trials” at which those who collaborated with the “Nazi regime” would be sentenced to death, imprisonment or forced labour to restore “destroyed infrastructure”, wrote Sergeitsev, an ex-political advisor to former pro-Kremlin Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in 2014.

‘Little Russia’

The article, entitled “What should Russia do with Ukraine?”, said that the conflict with Ukraine marked a decisive break between Moscow and the West. 

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“In order to put the plan of de-Nazification of Ukraine into practice, Russia itself will have to finally part with pro-European and pro-Western illusions,” said Sergeitsev.

Our nation must “realise itself as the last instance of protecting and preserving those values of historical Europe that deserve it and which the West ultimately abandoned”, he continued.

“De-Nazification” – a key justification for Putin’s unprovoked invasion – represents “a set of measures aimed at the Nazified mass of the population, which technically cannot be subjected to direct punishment as war criminals”.

These measures only be carried out by the “winner”, Sergeitsev stressed, so "a de-Nazified country cannot be sovereign".

The former adviser argued that “unlike Georgia or the Baltics, Ukraine, as history has shown, is unviable as a national state, and attempts to ‘build’ one logically lead to Nazism”.

Following a Russian victory, even the name “Ukraine” could not be “retained as the title of any fully de-Nazified state entity in a territory liberated from the Nazi regime”, he added. The neighbouring eastern European country would be renamed “Little Russia”, a title that as The Times explained, “historically applied to Ukrainian territories under Russian imperial rule”.

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Sergeitsev’s rhetoric was “truly horrific”, tweeted Francis Scarr, a Moscow-based journalist with BBC Monitoring, “even by the standards of what I’m used to seeing from pro-Kremlin media”. 

Disinformation overdrive

Sergeitsev’s article was part of a massive push by Russian state media to “spin the alleged atrocities in the Ukrainian town of Bucha”, reported Newsweek. State-run outlets claimed, without offering evidence, that the “slain civilians” were “shot by Nazis”. 

An editorial in Komsomolskaya Pravda by the tabloid’s military correspondent Alexander Kots said that “terrible footage was published by the Ukrainian side” and that “the Russian military was indiscriminately accused of torture and extrajudicial executions”.

There was “no doubt” that the images and videos showed dead bodies, he wrote but “I was in the suburbs of Kyiv. The withdrawal of our units began even earlier. It’s just that by the 30, there was not a single soldier from Russia left in Bucha.”

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted that “during the time Bucha had been under the control of the Russian Armed forces, NOT A SINGLE local resident has suffered from any violent action”.

But testimony from a range of international media outlets, as well as Human Rights Watch, contradicts the claim that Russian troops did not engage in widespread torture and murder as they withdrew from positions around the Ukrainian capital. 

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