The continued aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine
Firefighters work at the site of the fire after a Russian bombardment in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. (AP Photo/George Ivanchenko)
Speech by Ambassador Michael Carpenter
at the Permanent Council, Vienna
June 23, 2022
For four months we have tried in this Council to catalog the litany of atrocities committed by Russia in Ukraine, knowing full well that the information available to the public today is, unfortunately, only a fraction of the full extent of gruesome horrors that will likely be uncovered later. The atrocities that we have discussed in this Council and that have been documented by the Moscow Mechanism Fact-Finding Mission are simply disgusting. We all instinctively recoil at the mere mention of them. They were condemned in this Council. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s words ring true again today, when he said, “We have joined like-minded people to defend ourselves in a world that has been gravely threatened by gangster rule.” .
Mr. President, we have also exposed the obvious and absurd lie that the Jewish and Russian-speaking President of Ukraine is a Nazi. We have made it very clear that the term “Nazi”, when used by Russian officials, is simply a catchword for anyone who opposes Russia’s barbaric war against Ukraine. Many in this Council have spoken of Z symbols, torture chambers, filter camps, sexual violence, re-education and the forced displacement of civilians. But we have yet to fully discuss the prevalence of far-right extremism and ultranationalism, or even neo-Nazism, among Russia’s forces and proxies.
Atrocities do not occur naturally or spontaneously. The utter disregard shown by so many Russian soldiers for the humanity of Ukrainian elderly, women and children is a direct result of feeding his forces with a pack of lies about Ukraine and its people and of the inculcation of ultra-nationalist and dehumanizing ideas among his troops. Such an ideology has long been propagated inside Russia and embodied by local far-right groups.
Mr. President, this far-right ultranationalism is actually cultivated as a tool of war. The Kremlin’s long-standing support for far-right violent extremist groups and its aim to destroy and subjugate Ukraine are two sides of the same coin. We need look no further than the rampant hate speech denying Ukraine’s existence as an independent nation – rhetoric tinged with harsh Russian nationalist undertones fueling a national narrative that emphasizes a vision of the collectivist and tribal world. The Kremlin’s ultranationalist agenda has also sometimes translated into support for neo-Nazi groups aimed at destabilizing democratic countries.
Ties between the Russian state and neo-Nazi movements across Europe are extensive and well-documented, and many of these relationships illustrate an explicit connection to Russia’s war on Ukraine. Just last week, on June 15, the US Treasury Department designated one of these neo-Nazis – Anton Thulin – as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Thulin, a Swedish citizen, was one of three men with a background in the neo-Nazi Nordic resistance movement who were convicted in 2017 of participating in a bombing of a refugee center in Gothenburg, Sweden . Swedish investigators found that Thulin and another accomplice received weapons training in St. Petersburg from the Russian paramilitary group partisan. partisan conducts weapons training courses on behalf of an ultra-nationalist organization called the Imperial Russian Movement, which avidly supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Russian Imperial Movement was previously designated by the US State Department as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Organization in April 2020 for providing training in acts of terrorism. Despite the overall crackdown on national civil society groups across Russia, curiously, the Imperial Russian Movement continues to function.
According to German media, several members of German neo-Nazi groups Third way and Young nationalists also received training in partisan‘s camp near St. Petersburg. Media reports indicate that members of neo-Nazi movements in other European countries, including Denmark and Slovakia, also received paramilitary training in Russia.
The Kremlin further fosters a far-right news ecosystem comprised of Russian ultranationalists and media platforms whose propaganda directly feeds into the Kremlin’s neo-imperial narrative aimed at the subjugation and Russification of Ukraine. Geopolitica.ru is one such platform for Russian ultranationalists to spread disinformation and propaganda targeting European and other audiences. Geopolitica.ru was inspired by Russian fascist Alexander Dugin. In 2015, the United States sanctioned Dugin for “actively” recruiting “people with military and combat experience to fight on behalf of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.” Another Russian proliferator of virulent far-right and anti-Western propaganda is katehon, a so-called Moscow-based “think tank” with clear ties to the Russian state and Russian intelligence. Additionally, the Strategic Culture Foundation is an online journal run by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service and closely affiliated with the Russian Foreign Ministry. One of its main tactics is to publish fringe thinkers and conspiracy theorists in Western countries, giving them a wider platform.
These hateful far-right platforms are closely linked to each other, as well as to the Russian government. Leonid Savin, editor of Geopolitica.ruis formerly katehon‘s editor and is said to be a member of the Military-Scientific Society of the Russian Defense Ministry. Dugin is an associate of katehongodfather of Konstantin Malofeyev, who also founded Tsargrad Television, which spews far-right disinformation. According to media reports, Malofeyev served as a proxy for the Kremlin’s far-right influence operations in Europe, sponsoring meetings and conferences of ultra-conservative parties, as well as directly funding politicians and makers. opinion that criticize liberal values and support Kremlin policies. The United States sanctioned Malofeyev in 2014 as “one of the main sources of funding for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea” and for funding “separatist activities in eastern Ukraine”. Since February 2017, katehon was led by Mikhail Yakushev, whose career included stints at a foundation headed by Vladimir Yakunin, a former KGB officer and former director of Russian Railways with close ties to the Kremlin. Yakunin, who is also sanctioned by the US for his involvement in Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine, helped establish the Dialogue of Civilizations ‘think tank’ in Berlin known for spreading far-right propaganda of the Kremlin.
Mr. President, ultranationalist ideologies caused the death of tens of millions of human beings in the 20th century. They brought about genocide and vast destruction on the European continent. Despite this, Russia continues to deploy far-right ultranationalism in the service of subjugating Ukraine and in the service of supporting neo-Nazi and far-right nationalist movements across Europe aimed at destabilizing and overthrowing democracy. Russia has long wanted to discuss neo-Nazism in this Council, brandishing this subject as a threat. Far-right ultranationalism is indeed present in the OSCE region, and we need to be clear about who supports it and to what end.